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Discover all our Chefs
Relais & Châteaux Chef

Veselin Kalev

Chef - Relais & Châteaux

Veselin Kalev

Zornitza Family Estate

Zornitza Village - Bulgaria

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Chef Relais & Châteaux

How did you become a Chef?

My career started when I was 19 as a washer at the Hilton hotel in Sofia, where I was noticed and trained by Chef Andre Tokev. Later on, I joined Talisman restaurant, which was ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2006. My next stop was Germany, where I worked with Chef Thomas Kellermann for three years at Burg Wernberg estate. It took me two and a half years to move from commis de cuisine to junior sous chef.

Then I went to work for Oliver Röder in Bonn, who was a winner of the German Gastronomic Contest Bocuse d’Or. A couple of years later I came back to Bulgaria.

How would you define your cuisine?

I was influenced by several great chefs: Andre Tokev, Emil Minev, Thomas Kellerman and Oliver Roeder and of course, also many others. But I have worked with these for the longest time. I love to travel and I always find inspiration, new ideas and products when I'm on the road.

What are your favorites products and criteria for choosing?

We are focused on terroir, or regional products. There is nothing better than working with fresh products from the garden. Having an eco and animal farm and two lakes full of fish at the estate we produce a lot – vegetables, wine, cheese, etc... Also the manufacturers we work with are selected very carefully to meet our requirements.

What is your signature?

My philosophy is to return to the roots. The search for a quality product and emphasizing its perfect taste. Of course with a few modern techniques, but without overdoing it.

What professions surround you and what would you like to pass on to them?

A good Chef must be a leader in order to attract the people he works with. To develop them and pass on the experience gained over the years. And to be good you have to be consistent in the things you do, disciplined and not to compromise on food.

Do you have a Chef’s tip for Sunday cooking?

Sunday is a day for harmony in the family. So, cook with love. No matter what you prepare. The important thing is to do it with a desire.

Les restaurants Relais & Châteaux de Veselin Kalev


  • Expression of the terroir