Ask a Local: Matija Bizjak

more than a year ago
Matija Bizjak has been a chef for 15 years and following stints at top restaurants around Slovenia, in Ireland and Switzerland he is now in charge of the restaurant at the boutique designer Hotel Cubo.

Tell us how you become a chef...did you have any mentors along the way?
Professionally, I am a chef 15 years now, but I fell in love with this profession in the 6th grade of primary school.
My grandmother gave me the best start/intro to cooking, when I was 12 she managed to get me interested in her daily task in the home kitchen. Even nowadays I still call her if anything is not totally clear when it comes to “grandmas” cooking.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
Being a head chef, the most enjoyable thing of course is the creativity, where I and my team are working hard to implement all the ideas and goals that we set together. The other enjoyable thing is definitely leading the kitchen team which is of course very challenging.

What is the strangest thing you’ve seen in a restaurant?
What happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen ☺

You are now in charge at Cubo, what’s new? What are your plans for the restaurant?
We have only just started our culinary journey at Cubo Hotel, though already we have changed the whole philosophy and quality of the food and presentation as well.
The next step for this year is to introduce an all day A’la carte menu that I and another of my team members, who recently joined the team, Dina Avdic Sabic, also a member of the Slovenian national cooking team, are developing. We will be mainly using Slovenian and seasonal produce, but with the influence of the modern international techniques.

Apart from Cubo which are the Slovene restaurants to watch?
Each restaurant has their own story, but in my opinion, I really think, that each of us are doing our part, so that one day we will be a culinary destination.

Slovene cuisine in five words...
Rustic, full-flavoured, pork, sausage, winter food

Three dishes every visitor to Slovenia should try...
Carniola sausage (Kranjska klobasa), Cheese dumplings (sirovi štruklji), Idrijski Žlikrofi (a type of stuffed pasta)

Where do you head for lunch out of town?
I love to visit very ordinary family ran restaurants, such as Fritolin in Portorož.

Where do you grab a drink after work?
The local bar in my hometown [Vrhnika], where I love to enjoy craft beer, so when I am not working I hang out in the local brewery, the Human Fish tap room.


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