Up and Coming European Chefs Everyone Should Know – Part 1

Following a recipe is easy but connecting to people through surprising flavors and delightful dishes is an entirely different story. See, there are two sides to cooking. There’s the “I’m boiling this lonesome egg in some salted water because I need to eat something” cooking, and there’s the “I’m preparing a dish with different textures to take your taste buds into a journey” cooking. While most of us are a little more advanced than the former, only a few get to the latter stage.

The life of a professional chef isn’t easy. Working with food on such a delicate level requires a lot of commitment, a tonne of passion, and immeasurable amounts of creativity. And that’s not even accounting for the insanely long hours, and the years of studies to create flavours that immediately dazzle anyone lucky enough to taste their concoctions. In this post we want to take a moment to celebrate the chefs that are starting to generate a lot of buzz for their hard work and undeniable love for what they do:

Olia Hercules

This Ukrainian-born chef has been a bit of a nomad. After the political unrest of 2014 in Ukraine, she moved to Italy and then the UK, where she began to make a living as a journalist. It was in her twenties when she made a radical change in careers and veered towards the culinary industry after a trip to Italy. She was in awe at how exquisite Italian cuisine is and how little it takes to prepare the most amazing dishes.

Inspired by the resourceful of the Italian gastronomy, little by little she started to get back in touch with her Ukrainian culinary heritage. Now that she’s a well-known chef she still advocates for the no-waste-allowed approach commonly used in the Eastern European country. Contrary to a lot of western countries, where it is common to chop the “undesirable” parts of vegetables and fruits, in Ukraine, cooks use everything, roots and all. Their recipes also depend a lot on the season and the availability of the freshest ingredients. Olia has embraced this as well, making a point to propose seasonal recipes using the best ingredients rather than trying to work the same flavors year-round.

Ben Marks

At 26 most people are just settling in their careers, still figuring out what they want to do and building up their resumes. And then, there’s Ben Marks. The 26-year-old already has 10 years of experience under his belt and has been the proud owner of a fantastic restaurant in London for 2 years and counting.

Marks was lucky to discover his passion pretty early on. He started studying in Stockholm at 15 and was even luckier to get a prestigious apprenticeship early in his career. His innate curiosity and amazing talent for food that have opened many doors for him. Now, as a restaurant owner he really focused on making delicious food. In fact, that’s practically the motto of his quirky restaurant, Perrilla. The place looks undeniably trendy, and serves 100% Instagrammable dishes, but it’s way more than that. Dishes are as much a visual experience as a flavorful one, and though they look extravagant, most are made with simple ingredients used expertly. Marks says that before putting out a recipe they always ask, “is it delicious?”. The answer from the public and critics alike, is a resounding yes.