Culinary Arts Student Marija Nardin Interview

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Here at CTH we would like to start interviewing some of our CTH students around the world. We decided to start with talented Marija Nardin who is currently studying Culinary Arts at Tante Marie Culinary Academy..

Marija Nardin, CTH Culinary Arts student at Tante Marie Culinary Academy

Pumpkin and almond ravioli with seared scallops and parmesan lace with black truffles.

Marija Nardin, after working 16 years as an IT manager, decided in August 2011 to take a year out and take a journey around the world. One of her greatest interests has always been to visit people in the very remote areas.

During her traveling, Marija had many opportunities to communicate with unique people solely through the medium of food; food as welcome, food as a gift, food as currency and food as a way of life and means of survival. “Food connects people” became her motto!

Along with cooking, Marija is working on software development for professional kitchens. Her latest project is called Virtual Chef de Partie, which will be released next month.

The interview:

What inspired you to study culinary arts and become a chef?

Honestly? OK. The answer is: Gordon Ramsay and his Hell’s Kitchen. I had been watching his show and I thought… Oh god, how nice it would be to cook like that…

For as long as I can remember I have liked to cook.

Food for me is an art of flavour, different textures and colours on the plate and at that time I didn’t have enough knowledge about it. So it was really an easy decision: go to school and learn “some more”.

Did you take any culinary training before starting the CTH Level 4 Diploma in Professional Culinary Arts?

Wild salmon in sesame crust with lemon sabayon and black rice.

Before I started studying I had been cooking at home for more than 15 years; I took some three-day courses in Slovenian, Italian cuisine and macrobiotic cuisine. Especially in macrobiotic cuisine I found out, how really important is to eat healthy food, there I also got some knowledge about seaweed and Japanese ingredients.

You are currently enrolled at Tante Marie Culinary Academy. How did you decide this was the right choice for you?

Gordon Ramsay is one of the owners, actually. I just followed my idol. I thought, If I change my career, I will learn from the best. I knew, this is only the first step to my professional culinary world; but very important one.

What have you most enjoyed about the course?

To make desserts and bread, and especially to make sauces. To my opinion the sauce is “the soul” of the final dish. The sauce gives flavour and character to a dish.

What kind of food would you most like to work in the future? (Italian, Spanish, Japanese?… vegetarian, health foods etc.?)

Next week I start working on Japanese culinary technics and some technics from molecular gastronomy.

What are your plans after you finish the CTH level 4 Diploma in Culinary Arts?

Firstly: to improve my knowledge about French cuisine, to finish my software for professional kitchens and find investors.

Secondly: to get more knowledge from the other cuisines.

Finally: to find a job where I could use my knowledge.

What advice would you give to people who want to study Culinary Arts?

Work, explore, work and work again and be 100% dedicated and passionate for food, because perfection and balance in flavour is very difficult to achieve…and don’t give up, of course.

Chocolate African patern is made by hand inside the glass. Dessert is assembled from four different layers: mango puree, caramelized mango and white chocolate mousse, whipped cream with coconut and orange jelly on top, followed by dark chocolate sorbet flavoured with rum. In the middle of mango mousse is hidden light and crunchy merengue.

Dark chocolate filled with white chocolate mousse, walnut sponge and cherries macerated in rum