After a Foreign Languages and Literatures master’s degree, I found my one true love: the kitchen. Since becoming a Finalist of Master Chef Romania’s 1st Season in 2012, my career had a colourful, spicy path: from working in some of Bucharest’s top restaurants, apprenticeship with Meilleur Ouvrier de France’s and reaching the top of the Parisian culinary scene, to specializing in the art of plating and food styling in Sicily and Belgium. In October 2018, I had the honour to be accepted at the Hautes Études du Goût (Advanced Studies in Gastronomy and Taste) Programme, organized by Reims Champagne-Ardenne University in partnership with Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
At the moment? I would say "neonostalgic". "Neonostalgic" refers to feelings and emotions from the past, evoked and translated into edible creations. It’s like dipping a piece of freshly baked bread into the tomato salad juice: a guilty pleasure that transcends age and social barriers. I find my inspiration in visual arts. Painting is strikingly similar to cooking when it comes to textures, colours, emotions, shapes and the discrete harmony between them. My cuisine is an ode to freshness, to the tastes of my Transylvanian childhood, intertwined with my great respect for French cuisine, Balkans heritage and even Asian influences regarding fermentation and techniques.
I love working and sharing my philosophy with local and regional producers, from small family businesses to eco-aware farms and suppliers, appreciating their contribution to nature and the environment and, ultimately simply enjoying and wondering at these ancient traditions, products and customs, as well as protecting them and further promoting them as precious global and local cultural heritage. Local food and traditional tastes are representations of our ancestral wisdom and they are truly some of the most pleasurable things the world has to oﬀer.
Fermentation is one of the hottest topics of modern gastronomy nowadays and also an important part of my food legacy, that shaped the way I perceive taste and my vision on food and cuisine.
When it comes to food memories, almost all of my earliest recordings about food and table customs are enrooted in the Transylvanian area, also known as Ardeal. During my career, I successfully managed to teach and train different nationality chefs the basic techniques and taste of the Balkans cuisine, also sharing knowledge and techniques from their regional cuisines, as means of promoting intercultural exchange and evolution through common knowledge and sharing. For me, intercultural exchange and opening people’s hearts for collaborations is the most rewarding experience. I have "Joie-de-vivre" tattooed on my right arm, I strongly wish for my chefs to find "joie-de-vivre" in any experience and to appreciate it, admire it and live it at its full potential.
Grilled polenta with cheese spheres - Transylvanian Bulz - served with fresh cream, chopped dill and freshly ground pepper. To be tasted with a dry, fresh, fruit-forward, pale coloured rosé like a "Première", domaine Saint André de Figuière 2018.