MEET OUR TEAM - Eliška Klanicová

Eliška Klanicová proves that it is never too late to follow your dreams. She was born in the Moravian city of Břeclav, and after high school, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in business economics and management, and a Master‘s Degree in English. But gastronomy has always been her hobby, ever since she was a young girl, and that passion eventually overwhelmed all else.

We asked Eliška a few tricky questions so you can get to know our new pastry chef a little better.

After your impressive studies at University, what motivated you to abandon that direction and pursue gastronomy, moreover in a foreign country?

I have been interested in food for a long time, and have attended many courses at Laboratorio. Then suddenly, I finished school and my roommate moved out because she was expecting a baby. I talked to a friend and decided it was finally time to do something big.
At the time, Mummy had read about Le Cordon Bleu somewhere, and asked me if I’d enjoy that too. I thought about it for a while, and three quarters in London at a school for cooking sounded like exactly what I needed.

What was it like to study at this unique school?

At first I only planned to study confectionary, but for the first 3 months, I was also curious about classic cuisine. And I have really enjoyed graduating from both courses over those 9 months, earning the highly regarded Grand Diplôme. That time at school was all hard work and drills. The chefs do not give you anything for free, and if something isn’t perfect, you will definitely know about it. But mostly it’s a really constructive critique that can help you improve and learn from your mistakes. For the first 6 months, we were blindly following what we were shown in the kitchen. But for the last term we were given the chance to show a bit of creativity. This was a new challenge, and while the last 3 months were, perhaps, the most entertaining, they were also the most demanding, both in time and requirements. But even though it was difficult, I always made time for my blog Elikatesy, which I created for writing about my studio.

Were you the only Czech person in the class?

Yes, I was the only Czech person in a large group, about 80-100 people with whom we had joint demonstrations of cooking techniques. I had heard from many chefs that the Czechs aren’t generally represented at this school. We also had a smaller group that cooked together. There were 16 of us from all over the world. We had one Englishman, one Pole, one Serb, a few people from the Arab countries, India and Indonesia, a few Chinese people… It was great to have their influences, and I’m still in touch with several of my classmates today.

Do you have any favorite technique or type of dessert that you like to prepare?

I love making doughs, and the simpler, basic desserts. I also enjoy a variety of decorating techniques, and high quality candies like blown sugar or chocolate sculptures. But for me, appearance isn’t the most important thing, but rather good raw materials and the combination of flavors and textures. That’s what I think about most when baking. I do not have anything like a signature dish. Usually when I bake something for someone, I hear they would like it again, but I want to try new recipes. But it is true that for many years, I have been famous with my friends and family for my Christmas candy.

What about some trend or direction that is not so much your cup of tea…?

There is nothing that I reject. While I’m not against the taste, I personally am not too close to raw food. Even though there is inspiration there, some combinations do not excite me, like desserts with raw cheeses.

Finally, what is something interesting about you that most people don’t know?

I have one passion, and that is cook books. I collect them and I have more than 550 on the shelves. But a lot of people actually know that. :)