Bakery Products – Foundation Of Any Menu

A good bakery product should take you back to your warmest childhood memories.

This time we are talking about a corner of gastronomy that many overlook when speaking about restaurants and menu options - artisan bread and bakery products. What makes them important and why are they a key part of an attractive restaurant offer? Kristijan Kovačević, a chef and pastry chef working at Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, whose passion is bakery products, shared with us the secrets of top bakery products and explained that quality bread is the backbone of the menu at good restaurants, what separates the good from the great. Kristijan candidly explains the meaning of a good bakery product - one that takes us back to childhood and reminds us of beautiful moments, brings the air of playful nostalgia. Check out the article and read what he revealed to us about his job, habits and plans.

Kul IN: Tell us more about your professional journey.

I am a trained chef. Being a chef was my first choice and a dream since childhood. After finishing school, I started working at the Sheraton Hotel in Zagreb and there I gained basic knowledge under the mentorship of Matija Balent. Then followed the Zagreb restaurants Gallo, Dobra vina and Pod zidom where I met Chef Nikola Bilandžija, who became my role model and mentor. He is a person I truly enjoyed working with and learning from. For a while I headed the kitchens of Istrian restaurants, Dvorac Belaj and Barba Danilo and there I realized how serious and difficult this job is for a young person and I wanted to improve in all spheres of gastronomy and, in a way, prepare seriously for future roles in the kitchen. Then happend the introduction of confectionery and bakery skills that led me to the Pastry Department within the Meneghetti Wine Hotel & Winery, where I have been working for the past two years. It is a place where a young person like me has the opportunity to learn a lot. I love working here and because employees are highly valued and constantly given the opportunity to improve and advance. I finished the 1st and 2nd degree for sommelier in Zagreb at WSET, attended masterclasses of the biggest names in the Croatian and Italian gastro scene, did an internship with Janez Bratovž in Ljubljana, and continued my education through a F&B management program. I believe that you have to keep improving, and learn something every day. The more I learn, the more aware I am of how little I actually know.

Kul IN: How do bakery products contribute to a restaurant's offer and menu?

Bread is the first thing a guest gets on the table and it acts as a signpost to where this gourmet journey will take you. Poor quality bread or bread full of additives shouldn't be on a good restaurant's menu. That is why here, we offer our guests only the highest quality products that will follow the story and standard of the entire Meneghetti estate. Therefore, we try to incorporate into our breads foods that we produce ourselves or that are specific to this area.


Kul IN: How would you define a good bakery product?

A good bakery product should take you back to your warmest childhood memories. The smell of freshly baked bread reminds me of the holidays at my grandmother's, and every time I take the baked bread out of the oven while it's still hot and the crust cracks as it cools, every time the kitchen fills that smell of freshly baked bread it brings me back to the moments when grandma baked bread in an old-fashioned oven.

Kul IN: Favorite bakery product in Meneghetti?

I would like to single out two - truffle bread and sourdough bread with flour from the seeds of our grapes.

Kul IN: How important is ingredient quality for a good bakery product?

It is the most important! When you have the privilege of working with your own award-winning olive oil, top quality truffles, olives from your olive grove, rosemary you pick on the farm, acorn flour also from the farm, flour from the seeds of our grapes - not taking advantage of such wealth would be a real shame. We use everything we can from the foods provided by this climate.


Kul IN: What kind of people do you like to work with?

I like working with people who motivate me, who are my role models, who know how to get the most out of me. I love working with people who love what they do.

Kul IN: Given that you worked as a chef and now as a pastry chef and baker, which of these occupations is your favorite?

It is difficult to say. I really like that adrenaline in the kitchen, during the service, I like when I make a new dessert that I haven't done before, I like working with dough. I just love doing what I do!

Kul IN: What did you prepare for Career Day?

On Career Day, I presented one of my favorite breads I make at Meneghetti - a truffle brioche. Inside is black truffle butter and fresh black truffle. The taste of this bread perfectly represents Istria. The olive oil Bjelica, produced from the indigenous Istrian olive variety, goes perfectly with it. This oil is spicy and at the same time provides a fresh scent of cut grass, the taste of almonds and wild asparagus.

Kul IN: What are your plans for the future?

I would like to continue to improve in all spheres of gastronomy. I would like to do an internship in some of my favorite restaurants in the world and meet other gastronomic cultures.


Foto: Meneghetti

IMG_0134.jpg meneghetti5.jpg IMG_0198-2.jpg IMG_0467-2.jpg IMG_0139-2.jpg IMG_0201.jpg meneghetti10.jpg