THE DISH: PRISKA THURING
TOP CHEFS AND THEIR FAVORITE CREATIONS
"One cold appetizer, the 'Fois gras Magnum', is my interpertation of the yummy Magnum ice cream sticks… Pablo Picasso said it best: 'Bad artists copy. Good artists steal.'"
After years heading up kitchens in some of Europe's finest hotels, Swiss chef Priska Thuring has taken the helm of Restaurant L, the newest eatery at Hotel Lone in the gorgeous Croatian seaside town of Rovinj. Half of a bona fide culinary power couple (her husband Tom Gretić is one of the country's most famous TV chefs), Priska stepped away from the stove to tell us a bit about her newest brainchild, Restaurant L, where she turns cuisine into concept art.
What is the underlying concept behind Restaurant L? It's based on being a part of the whole Design Hotel. Let's call it 'design food'. We're using both local and international products, because we want to give our guests, who are mostly of international origin, a larger variety of dishes to choose from. I respect the restaurants in Istria who have a long tradition of making absolutely perfect local dishes, and I don't want to be their competition.
So what's a typical meal at Restaurant L? Lunch is mainly pastas and salads for the long, hot summer afternoons... just to give our guests a healthy light lunch in the Mediterranean garden. The evening is when the restaurant transforms into a romantic garden where the guest can release all of their creativeness. Some dishes have a small story to tell and some are simply delicious...
Can you describe some of your favorite dishes on the menu? One cold appetizer, the Fois gras Magnum, is my interpertation of the yummy Magnum ice cream sticks… Pablo Picasso said it best: "Bad artists copy. Good artists steal."
One warm soup, a spicy Thai soup, is a dish served like it's tea time. Our guests receive a raw oyster in a plate and soup on the side. Then they add the 'tea' bag filled with spices (ginger, chili, lemon grass, kaffir lime, etc.) and let it infuse as long as they would like. Three traditional condiments are served with tea, lemon, milk and sugar. I serve grilled lime, coconut milk, and ground roasted peanuts. A quote from Roy Lichtenstein sums this one up: "Art doesn't transform. It just plain forms.“
Then there's a main course, Sea bass in paper, which revisits a classical way of serving fish, baking it in baking paper. A quote from Bruce Nauman -- "I'll talk. You listen.“ -- illustrates why something so simple is still being used in many kitchens around the globe. Once you open the paper, the first of your senses hears the noise the paper makes as you open your parcel. Then it hits you: the smell of sea, spices and herbs; then you see what is in the package and finally, you taste. The story is complete.