Cooking is communication

Studying for Professional Cook was not Tetiana's first choice. Tetiana Ostrogliad and Andrii Plotnikov are Kul IN's students from Ukraine. As husband and wife they came to Kul IN to study for Professional Cooks of Italian Cuisine. She graduated journalism and afterword she had her own marketing agency. Working in media and public relations encouraged her to think where she would like to specialize her knowledge. After some time of thinking she realized gastronomy and cooking was her passion. She was lucky enough to have husband who was sharing her love for food. 

After finishing the program in Kul IN and ALMA, students continue studying on internships where they have a chance to feel professional kitchen and work with best chefs of Italy. As true enthusiasts and adventurers always eager for new experiences and knowledge, Tetiana and Andrii choose for place of their internship region of Puglia. On the top of the heel of Italy lies region of Puglia, known for its wine, olives and extraordinary fish markets. Undiscovered beauties of Puglia and rich gastronomical heritage was till recently kept only for most curious gourmands, but vivid restaurant scene has managed to draw attention to this shiny pearl of Italy. In restaurant Umami where they had opportunity to work and learn from one of the youngest Italian Chefs rewarded with Michelin Star, Felice Sgarra they had a chance to discover traditional products and dishes of south Italy. Tetiana and Andrii finished their internship full of impressions. 

-  Since we decided to change our life we have been really lucky. First we were lucky with Kul IN, then with ALMA, and finally we have been lucky in finding the restaurant for traineeship. We were taken to UMAMI restaurant, headed by chef Felice Sgarra. The place is located in the town of Andria in Apulia region. This region was recommended to us by chef Marko Hernaut from Kul IN who advised us to learn and work with the Adriatic Sea food because after the school we will back to Croatia. We are studying restaurant operations on the whole. We can see well that the choice we made was right, because we do like this business and we will be able to succeed in it.

The restaurant is named Umami toward Japanese word. Umai is deliciouse and mi is taste. Umami is fifth sensation or taste we feel in food. It was discovered by Japanese professor Kikunae Ikeda in 1908. while he was doing research on sea food. We feel umami because of presence of glutamate in the products, especially in tomato, soya, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, fermented and smoked fish etc.


-  This restaurant is not like the others. Apart from the fact that there are incredible tasty, they pay great attention to aesthetics. Very nice dishes, very beautiful serving. Very nice interior and music. In just two years of operation they received the first Michelin star. And we are confident that soon the restaurant will get a second star. The restaurant has its own fruit and vegetable garden with aromatic herbs: marjoram, oregano, rosemary, mint, sage, thyme, mint thyme, lime, lemongrass, wild strawberries, chives. Team of the restaurant Umami is very friendly, we feel comfortable from the first day.


-  We have been taught by the talented chef. Chef Felice Sgarra is great. He explains us everything, teach us how to do all the procedures. He trusts us. Chef let us prepare meals – after two weeks of the stage we already serving aperitivo, salads and entree for guests. 


- The modern interpretation of the classic flavors of southern Italy. They use many local products. And emphasizes the taste of modern cooking techniques and products from other regions.


- Looking to chef Sgarra we are studying how to be a leader for the kitchen stuff. He never screams, always talking calmly and gives clear commands for every person. Chef is all the time in the kitchen or with guests. Every day he is improvising, conducting experiments with new dishes and flavors. He is constantly learning, goes to workshops. And his vacation he spends like a student on training in a restaurant with 3 Michelin stars. He has a sense of beauty – he feels beauty in plates. And the most important thing - we can see that he loves his job, he loves to communicate with guests and he is happy when creates something new.


-  All types of seafood: sea urchins, oysters, red local oysters, hairy mussels (cozze pelose), red shrimp, octopus, catfish, dentex, Adriatic tuna, anchovies. Among the vegetables: chicory, blitva, broccoli rabe (cime di rapa), artichokes, mushrooms, aubergines, sun-dried tomatoes. Necessarily local olives (two varieties: the circella and the pizzutella) and a wonderful local extra virgin olive oil.

A lot of legumes: срickpeas, сhicklings, lentil.

Meat of the local cows Podolika.

Lots of delicious local cheeses: first of all, fresh cheese burrata, which was invented in the city of Andria. Other fresh cheeses: strachatella, caciocavallo, scamorza, buffalo mozzarella.

Seasoned chesses: cacioricotta, pecorino, vacchino stagionato.

The famous orecchiette pasta.

In many desserts we are using soft cheese ricotta. Special pride of the restaurant – is vinkotto sauce and marmalade of quince, which makes the chief's mother.


-  The most beautiful region of Italy. Very open-heart and friendly people, like in Croatia. Very strong espresso. We are now clearly in front of the island of Mljet – island of our dreams (island in south of Croatia; it is National Park) So the nature and the climate here is exactly the same as on Mljet. There is no fall - around red flowers, green palm trees, cacti and needles. Azure Adriatic Sea. Plus 20 Celsius in November. Always sunny.

From the beginnings of their studying, Tetiana and her husband Andrii, have been so enthusiastic and passionate that they have proved it is never too late to start your career and to achieve great results with just hard work and persistence.

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