Star chef Wolfgang Puck was catering the biggest film awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday, and 3 days later he was tasting Zsófi Mautner’s dishes in Budapest
This is not the first time that the star chef, who is one of the 10 richest chefs in the world, has met Hungary’s best-known gastronomic blogger. Wolfgang Puck’s gastronomic collaboration with Matild Palace has led him to visit Hungary from time to time, and on these occasions he always makes sure to learn something new about Hungarian gastronomy. Last summer, Zsófi showed the famous chef around a paprika farm, and the experience led to an interesting discovery: like so many foreigners, Wolfgang Puck doesn’t know what a ’főzelék’ is.
There is no word for ’főzelék’ in other languages
According to Zsófi, főzelék is a real Hungarian speciality, and it is difficult to translate what it is, because there is no English term for it. Somewhere between stew and soup, Zsófi’s gastronomy loving friend, who teaches at UCLA as a professor, coined a new term for it from the words ‘stew’ and ‘soup’, and thus ‘stoup’ was born, which Zsófi now also shared with Wolfgang when presenting her dishes. István Szántó, head chef of Spago Budapest and Tetsu Yahagi, Wolfgang Puck’s right-hand man, also joined the tasting.
“I’m amazed by his vitality, his professionalism, his genuine curiosity, his openness and his cheerfulness”, says Zsófi about the meeting. ” This was the second time I had the opportunity to show him a part of Hungarian cuisine – this time one completely unknown to him. The dishes I presented to him were: green peas with grilled mushrooms and wild garlic, saffron carrots with roasted Brussels sprouts and carrot greens, and potato with fermented cucumber, soft-boiled eggs and dill. It seemed to me that they weren’t just complimenting the dishes out of politeness. I was happy that this meeting took place on the national holiday of 15 March. I could not have been more patriotic on this holiday. I don’t know if it should be my mission to get főzelék served at the Oscars someday. I hope to meet Wolfgang again and pitch him my idea.”