Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Cooking up a storm: Chef puts Polish cuisine on the map

Putting Polish food on the map

    Just Watched

    Putting Polish food on the map

Putting Polish food on the map 03:05

Story highlights

  • Wojciech Amaro is a Polish chef aiming to put his country's culinary craft on the map
  • Amaro is the man behind Poland's first Michelin Star restaurant
  • His scientific approach to food has enabled him to create a distinctive style

Polish cities, attitudes and styles: they've all developed their own distinct identities since the country parted with communism almost 25 years ago -- but can the same now be achieved with Polish cuisine?

That's the aim of Wojciech Amaro, an award-winning Polish chef and the man behind the country's first Michelin Star restaurant, who is intent on changing perceptions of his country's culinary craft.

"We're trying to draw a new line for Polish cuisine," Amaro explained. "(This means) having a new combination (of ingredients) but in the end, people can feel this is Poland on the plate."

Polish chef and restaurateur, Wojciech Amaro.

See also: Poland captured on instagram

In the modest-looking "Atelier Amaro" restaurant in central Warsaw, Amaro serves up his unique brand of gastronomic excellence.

His inventive style saw him awarded with the prestigious Chef de l'Avenir award from the International Academy of Gastronomy in 2008 while Atelier Amaro was given a Michelin Star in April 2013.

Yet despite his passion for all things Polish and contentment with his Warsaw studio, Amaro has spent much of his working life abroad learning from some of Europe's most famous chefs.

The aim was to build up a bank of ideas and tastes before returning home to set up shop in Poland, he said.

His previously nomadic life enabled Amaro to hone his skills in high-pressure kitchens across London. He also spent time in Catalonia, Spain, at the El Bulli restaurant of Ferran Adria, the man often referred to as the world's greatest chef.

See also: Polish street art goes bigger than Banksy

Amaro says his time overseas was professionally formative.

"I took all my ideas and dreams and I brought them back," Amaro says. "This country had no such education system in gastronomy. I wanted to learn from the best and one day come back and do something with Polish cuisine."

As with Britain's Heston Blumenthal or René Redzepi, who heads the Danish restaurant Noma, Amaro is highly regarded for his scientific approach to food. He spends much of his time tinkering with conventional ideas and refining ingredients down to their elemental forms, many of which are sourced from all over Poland.

Prior to opening the restaurant, Amaro spent a year searching his home country to locate the best ingredients and gain inspiration from Poland's forgotten culinary traditions.

He racked up more than 60,000 kilometers (37,000 miles) in the process and now relies on many of the producers he met in his travels as suppliers for his restaurant.

When CNN visited, Amaro was busy in his kitchen compressing pumpkin, beetroot, and sweet potato (all sourced in Poland, of course) into a vacuum machine which he says brings out their hidden flavors.

See also: Poland's medieval majesty

"We actually pay respect to the tradition because we use the ingredients that could be at some point forgotten," Amaro said. "We bring them back to life and we create new dishes out of them."

For the proud Pole, this painstaking process is not just about creating food he finds challenging and rewarding. It's about creating a new Polish identity that everyone can share.

"You can really feel that. You have this sense of, you know, living in this country that (there) is something booming," he enthused.

"We (the restaurant) just want to be part of that and do our job in terms of cuisine and gastronomy, so it's really an amazing time," he added.

      On the Road: Poland

    • The Bledow Desert: Poland's Sahara

      Poland is home to one of only five natural deserts in Europe. CNN's Paula Newton meets those trying to preserve it.
    • John Paul II family house in Wadowice, Poland

      Pope John Paul II called Wadowice, the small Polish town in which he was born, "the place where it all began."
    • CNN's Paula Newton on the "pope effect" and how the country has dealt with huge changes.
    • Polish cities, attitudes and styles: they've all developed their own distinct identities. But can the same now be achieved with Polish cuisine?
    • A series of photos from Wroclaw's Market Square are stitched together to create an alternative perspective of the Polish city.

      In this creative age of camera phones and photo apps, what better way to learn about a city from afar than through the lenses of its eagle-eyed street photographers?
    • spc newton polish national ballet_00015210.jpg

      For Poland's National Ballet, the present no longer means reveling in the fleet-footed legends of past stage glories.
    • Poland has become the land of the giants with a recent spate of colossal street art.
    • Polish authors might be little known outside the country, but there are reasons why you should discover them.
    • From vast salt mines to gothic castles, Poland has some surprising and spectacular heritage.
    • Herds of Europe's largest land mammal are doing well in the country's forests, maybe too well.