We wanted to find out more about our talented Sous Chef, Jeno, and so we thought we would ask him a few questions:
Why did you go into the food industry?
When I was a child in Hungary, my Mum used to wake up around 4/5am and head to the food markets to get the best produce. She would always rope me into helping her but it wasn’t until I was about 7 years old and I asked my Grandmother for her recipe for ‘Madártej’ (traditional Hungarian dessert with custard and meringue, literally translates to ‘Bird’s Milk’), that I realised that I had a strong passion for cooking. From then on I regularly cooked for family and friends!
Why did you move into the events industry?
My background was in fine dining restaurants but the events industry appealed to me because it’s very colourful and challenging, so it motivates you to stay focussed. Every day is different, different dishes, different venues, different numbers etc., but, of course, the highest quality cooking needs to be maintained within these variables.
For me, high level cooking is almost like a sport with the skills required, but on the other hand, working somewhere like Bubble, the chefs are encouraged to be artists too with lots of opportunities to be very creative.
What has influenced your approach to cooking?
My father was a big influence in this area as he is a brilliant cook. He has a very simple approach but only uses great quality ingredients and always includes an element of surprise – even the simplest sandwich will feel like something special and I will enjoy every single bite!
When I’m cooking I always smell every ingredient – even vegetables. As we know, smell is integral to taste, and I think both are very linked to emotion. I think people have strong links with food from their childhood as it can bring back memories and emotions felt at those times.
What’s your most memorable event?
The recent private view after party Bubble did for the Marian Goodman Gallery at Somerset House was amazing for me. We had hundreds of guests but with the menu having a strong Asian influence, each dish was really intricate, with lots of preparatory work. It was the first time I had experienced the successful scaling up (volume-wise) of such fine cooking, and it was a very proud achievement, with the outstanding feedback we received from the client and many guests.
What has been your biggest challenge?
I have travelled around quite a bit in the past, and had decided I wanted to live and work in Asia. I selected L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Singapore as the restaurant I wanted to work at, and within weeks I had been appointed! It was difficult to start with as it was a very ‘old school’ kitchen environment and virtually everything was in French, and so I had to learn the language very quickly – taking home the menus after work and looking up translations to bring myself up to speed!
What are you looking forward to the most working at Bubble?
Bubble’s in a really exciting place now, working with amazing clients in many of London’s most prestigious venues. I’m looking forward to contributing to the continued growth of the company and bringing my own personal touch to the menus. We work on such exciting events, it really is a thrill to come to work each day!
What do you like to cook at home?
Like my parents, I always shop at the markets to get the freshest and best quality produce. I love the bold and clean flavours of Asian cuisine, but mostly I keep it very simple, otherwise – as a bit of a perfectionist, I spend far too long creating the perfect presentation! I like cooking steak as it’s very quick and I love to eat lots of vegetables. Working in a kitchen full-time, I have to taste many different things all the time and so when I’m not at work I try to balance this with a super healthy approach.
Where’s your favourite place to eat?
I don’t like going to big chain restaurants but always try to seek out new local family restaurants. My favourite place at the moment is Mien Tai near Clapham Junction. It has received lots of great write-ups, but it’s not a fancy place. Food isn’t plated in a fussy way, but the flavours are awesome and you can taste the passion the chefs put into it – they really love what they do. If you go there, you must try their signature dish: Goat Galangal.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Hungarian paprika is the best in the world (I’m not at all biased!) and my home country has a long tradition of curing meat. I love nothing more – any time, day or night – than eating Hungarian salami with good quality crusty white bread and proper butter.
As Sous Chef, Jeno supports Bubble’s Executive Head Chef with menu development and regularly leads kitchen teams at events. His impressive restaurant experience includes:
– Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London (Restaurant ranked #5 in Top 50 Restaurant Awards, 2 Michelin Stars, 3 AA Rosettes, within luxury 5***** hotel setting)
– L’atelier de Joël Robuchon, Singapore (Restaurant by Joël Robuchon, who holds 28 Michelin stars worldwide)
– Noma, Copenhagen (Voted Best restaurant in the world consecutively 2011-2014, 2 Michelin Stars)