You can see Pavel Buchwaldek, the young talented executive chef of Impact Hub Praha K10, running the kitchen in our Vinohrady villa every day. What culinary journey had taken him all the way to the villa, what other plans he had and what drew him to wine – we discussed all this and more.
You learned how to cook in London alongside the stars of the culinary world, you succeeded in culinary competitions, you worked as the executive chef in Zlatá Praha at the InterContinental Hotel, those are all huge challenges. What kind of a challenge was it for you to decide to become the executive chef in the Impact Hub Praha K10 villa?
I wanted to take a step back from the busy and emotionally tense culinary environment and try something a bit different. At the same time, I wanted to have enough time for my project called Dekantujeme. I have to openly say that I had no idea at the beginning how big a challenge the K10 would be. It is completely different gastronomy and a different approach but we continue to get the hang of it and we are starting to go on our “culinary Hub journey”.
And how would you describe this “culinary Hub journey”?
We largely focus on what our guests want. And I would love to keep going in this direction in the future. The fact that the environment of the villa is entirely different from the typical restaurant setting is why I think it would be great if the members could regularly contribute to menu planning.
Talking about journeys. What was your journey to the profession of a chef?
Mine was clear from the very beginning, I did not want to do anything else. Over time, after I had passed through some phenomenal restaurants in London and Prague, I started to be more intrigued by the business environment. Chefs often have plenty of opportunity to meet interesting people and acquire good contacts but not everyone knows how to make use of such an opportunity.
How did you do it?
At the age of 23, when I resigned from my first executive chef position at the InterContinental Hotel. The executive chef position was a much desired milestone for me, it gave me so much but over time it was no longer fulfilling and I felt a bit burned out. At the same time, I was considering kicking off my own business. By coincidence, I came across the Knewitz Winery and I decided to leave InterContinental and only work on things that I can influence through everyday decision-making. And that is how the Dekantujeme project came to life.
You definitely had to show some courage to do that but it was clearly the right decision. How is the project doing today?
We represent winemakers from Germany and Austria and focus mainly on wholesale. In the kitchen, I always felt like our food suppliers were failing at providing quick and personal services, and that is why in Dekantujeme we focus not only on the uniqueness and quality of our products but also on the services. Early last year, we became more accessible to private clients. For them, we prepare a special selection of wines every now and then. This year, in late spring, we are opening a pop-up restaurant called Trocken by Dekantujeme and I can reveal that Impact Hub members will soon have an opportunity to taste our concept of local cooking.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
Czech dishes. I love to cook from scratch.
Do you cook at home or is it that “the shoemaker always goes barefoot”?
It depends. Sometimes I cook at home, other times we go visit clients whom we supply with wine. Sometimes I like to go discover new spots. Overall, my life is connected mainly with food and wine.
Would you like to taste the menu prepared by our executive chef Pavel Buchwaldek? He cooks for our members in the Vinohrady villa every day. Get a Day Pass (for free or paid one), join the community and enjoy breakfast, lunch and a snack with us.