Tatjana, three years ago, when you came to Otočec Castle from Germany, you couldn't have known that your desserts would become so popular.
(Laughs) Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to come and live in Slovenia and work as a pastry chef at Otočec Castle. Three years ago, that dream came true. And more than that – my desserts quickly became well-known, loved and praised by guests. I couldn't be more delighted about that!
When I see guests post pictures of my desserts on Instagram or Facebook, for me it's a recognition and it brings me great joy.
It's a long road to becoming a master, isn't it?
It's true. I finished pastry school in Germany, then worked for a few years as a pastry shop manager, then completed my pastry chef training. I continued my further education and completed 12 more specialisations in specific techniques and ingredients.
Working at Otočec Castle has been my dream since childhood; my parents are from Slovenia, and I wanted to come here to live, work and create.
But my goal is to progress even further professionally; you can never have too much education. The French are at the forefront of confectionaries, and I'm always keeping an eye out for new techniques and new trends.
Where do you find recipes or ideas for desserts?
Our motto in the Otočec Castle kitchen, not only for the pastries but for all dishes, is to use seasonal and local ingredients in an original way. That's the foundation, and from there on I can use my imagination. I'm extremely happy to have the freedom and support of my chef and management, to be able to create according to the inspiration of the moment and with the ingredients that are available. This way I can ensure the best flavours, freshness and also an aesthetic experience.
The recent trend in desserts is to use unusual ingredients, how do you feel about that?
It's a trend I love. I like to use herbs and spices, for example rosemary, thyme, basil, mint, roses, basil. We have a castle garden at Otočec, where all these herbs are grown organically, as well as berries and vegetables. So we always have these fresh healthy delicacies available in season.
I also use tomatoes in my desserts. This specific dessert was really special, with basil, thyme and homemade sour cream. Or a tomato and strawberry mix in panacotta, delicious!