At the time when the chef of Takenoko Zagreb, Mario Obrovac, began to hone his culinary craft, Takenoko was the only place where cooks had the chance to work with unfamiliar sauces, spices, ingredients, and grade A fish. After completing vocational cooking high school in Zagreb, Mario first worked at the renowned Italian restaurant Boban, where he stayed for almost two years, after which he got a job opportunity in Takenoko, where he has been for eleven years now, and has been the executive chef for the last 3 years.
- Seventy percent of the menu in Takenoko is based on sushi and fresh fish, but we also have steaks of excellent wagyu beef, for which I can say is one of the best pieces of meat I've ever had in my life. We change the menu once a year and we always strive to add something new.
- For sushi we use only fresh fish of the best quality. For good sushi, the rice has to be cooked correctly, and the processing and quality of fish is very important. We work with Norwegian salmon and Adriatic tuna, which is one of the best in the world. Japanese cuisine is not complicated, but it requires commitment and knowledge of basic steps in the preparation process. Our guests from Japan are always impressed with the speed at which we prepare sushi and they always praise us.
- There are a few knives that all of us use. But certain knives, especially those for sushi, are not to be touched. Only the knife’s owner has the right to use the knife, you sharpen them yourself on the stone and there is no lending.
- There are a total of 30 people in the kitchen, counting the support staff. The shifts work in a way that we alternate, four people in the morning shift and five in the afternoon so we are covered in all positions.
MESSAGE TO YOUNG GENERATIONS OF CHEFS
- They should be willing to make sacrifices and learn as much as they can from older colleagues, watching them and following what they do. And be very patient. Cooking is one of the most stressful jobs out there and you need to learn how to cope with the stress.
EXECUTIVE CHEF QUALITIES
- Being an executive chef is not easy. The executive chef must manage the supply chain, check if the goods are delivered fresh and in a timely manner, watch over the storage of goods. He also must know how to communicate with people, and especially with his team in the kitchen. It is particularly important to know how to adapt to everyone in the team as well as help your team when needed.