Feature Friday: Małgorzata and Piotr from Kraków

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Małgorzata and Piotr live in Kraków and both are architects. Piotr worked in this profession for 40 years. Małgorzata’s career focused on… fashion design, and she still designs clothes for her friends and family. Piotr and Małgorzata both love to cook but their cooking styles are completely different. Małgorzata loves the ‘five elements’ theory, gluten-free and vegetarian dishes, whilst Piotr cooks according to his intuition which is spot on as he improvises often and can surprise even the most sophisticated foodies. They live in a charming old flat in central Krakow together with their cat and a large number of plants that are scattered along every window to get as much light as possible. When you visit Kraków, do not miss their Polish dinners at Zamenhoffa.

How did you learn to cook?

Piotr: At home, by experimenting a lot.

Małgorzata: Out of curiosity, the desire to be self reliant and to cook differently than my mother.

Was cooking always an important part of your life?

Piotr and Małgorzata: Yes! We always avoided buying processed foodstuffs. We have always been cooking at home.

What does food mean to you?

Piotr: To me, food means to discover new flavours.

Małgorzata: I get great pleasure when I eat something delicious... plus the satisfaction, when my new dish or cake turns out to be delicious!

What’s so special about Polish cooking?

Piotr: I think it has to do with diversity, especially pickling and fermenting.

Małgorzata: When one reads old Polish cookbooks, for example the well-known “Universal Cookbook" by the celebrated Maria Ochorowicz-Monatowa, one is surprised by so many dishes from different regions of the Old Poland… there is so much diversity!

What is one ingredient you always have in your house?

Piotr: Onions.

Małgorzata: Thyme!

What is your family's favourite thing you cook for them?

Piotr and Małgorzata: Tomato soup!

OK, you cook tomato soup for your family, but don’t tell me that you don’t have your favourite dishes....

Piotr: I love tripe soup!

Małgorzata: My favourite dish is endive soup!

What is the most unforgettable meal you have ever had?

Piotr:  I remember very well an outstanding fish soup which I ate some time ago in Hungary.

Małgorzata: I would say, an omelette called “grzybek” (a mushroom cap style traditional Polish omelette) made of beaten eggs and sugar. My mother used to fry it often for me, and I have no idea how to make it…..

Funniest cooking story or failure?

Małgorzata and Piotr: We used to work with Gosia in our design office. It was the middle of the summer, she was hungry and down, and wanted to eat something unusual. And she was so bored that I decided to check what’s in the fridge. From what was there, I created something wonderful: a fruit salad with a variety of unusual toppings. It was delicious! If you could see her joy!  We wrote down this first original recipe and we called the dish “28th July salad”.

What is your cooking style like? Do you listen to music, plan ahead, make a mess, etc…

Małgorzata and Piotr: We are spontaneous in cooking. We always listen to music, we try not to make a mess, because we always clean the whole apartment before the guests come… And then, of course, we can not find anything!

Your table is full of travellers. What 3 things do you suggest they do in  Kraków?

Małgorzata and Piotr: To visit the Post-Industrial quarter called Zabłocie and the  MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków, Schindler's factory, Skałki Twardowskiego, Bielany and Tyniec.

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time (except cooking for Eataway?)

Piotr: I am a great fan of literature, music, painting and history.

Małgorzata: Teaching organic architecture, garden design, drying plants and floral arrangements, clothes designing and sewing ...

How did you learn about Eataway?

Małgorzata and Piotr: We found out about Eataway from the internet and my very good friend, Marta Bradshaw. Eataway is a challenge for us - the joy, the pleasure of meeting our guests. There’s a huge satisfaction that comes with sharing food and conversation.

What do you like the most about hosting?

Małgorzata and Piotr: It’s a thrill!

A favourite memory from hosting an Eataway meal?

Małgorzata and Piotr: There was such a nice dinner on Saturday, we were supposed to have 2 guests. Well, while we were cooking, 3 hours before the dinner I checked my e-mails, and I noticed that someone asked if could host 6 more guests! Fortunately, on that Saturday we cooked a lot in advance - we were supposed to have some guests on Sunday. So, that Saturday, we finally hosted young Dutchmen, who were on their car trip around Europe - the post-communist part of Europe. And they ate everything!

What would you tell a potential cook that is nervous about hosting a meal?

Małgorzata and Piotr: Have more self confidence, smile and cook!