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Fast Confession - Marek Raditsch: The Wish of Arnold Schwarzenegger Took my Breath away

Martina Šmalclová
19.Dec 2018
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6 minutes

Marek Raditsch became widely known thanks to the MasterChef reality show where he acted as a very strict judge. In fact this attractive chef usually has a smile on his face. He ranks among leaders in his field, having cooked even for stars as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Prince Albert II of Monaco, the Clinton couple, Mick Jagger, Robbie Williams or Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now he acts as a chef in Kampa Group restaurants in Prague and reaps success not only at work, but in his private life, too. Over the last two years he managed to get engaged, get married and become a father. We had a chat with him not only about passion for food, but also about family and Christmas.

What do you think about when you remember the MasterChef reality show?

Those were beautiful weeks and months. The first year was something completely new and we got to know a lot of people from other professional fields, particularly the film-making one. The second year then was not so surprising any more. I am pleased that I have tried it, but I think that there has been enough of everything.

What was your path like to become a successful and widely-recognised chef?

I have wanted to work in gastronomy ever since I was little, but I did not have any specific ideas. That just crystallised over time. Then I told myself that I would have a break from high school, I would work for a year and then I´ll study chemistry. But I discovered that I was enjoying it and so I cooked, cooked, and cooked and travelled abroad, where I gained a variety of experience. Then I got an offer of cooperating on a cooking programme. I have done some projects before for Czech Television, so I told myself that I would try it. I was single, with no children and I thought about what I shall I do in the summer, those three I will go to shoot this programme!

If the career of a chef didn´t work out, which other profession would you be attracted by?

Perhaps something creative. Perhaps I would be an architect.

Luxusní byt s výhledem na Pražský hrad, Malá
Luxusní byt s výhledem na Pražský hrad, Malá, Praha 1

Can you recall any failures in the kitchen?

Recently at the weekend I was baking a Christmas cake and my daughter "assisted" me and did everything to turn my attention mainly to herself, so I forgot to put egg yolks into the dough, and it had risen already. I told myself: "This is weird, where are the eggs? I see, here." So I had to take the dough, throw it away and do it all over again.

When you´re making the Christmas braided cake, are you baking the Christmas cookies, too? Or is that work of your wife?

We almost don´t eat the cookies, so we have at home only what we get from relatives and friends. And that is more than sufficient.

So we cannot expect the eight different kinds at your house?

No, no. Only that braided bread, I bake that and that´s the family breakfast taken care of.

Do you make Christmas dinner, too? What do you think shouldn´t be missing on Christmas dinner table?

I do prepare the dinner and we observe the tradition that it should be fish. Every year I want to do something a little different. We do not have the habit of eating the classic fare - salad, schnitzel or carp. I completely dislike carp. But there will certainly be some other fish on the table. Last year, I prepared a lobster, this year I am going to make some white fish, perhaps a sole.

There will be no potato salad either?

No, it will be some vegetables, perhaps potatoes. I want us to eat healthily, too, and I think that something fried with a salad may be eaten at any time during the year.

You have cooked for a number of foreign and Hollywood stars. Whom do you like to remember and why?

It´s been about twenty years back, but Arnold Schwarzenegger completely took my breath away. He ordered a roasted sausage. We went to buy it and he got what he ordered. After some years he came back to Bohemia again, he was shooting an advert here, and this time round he wanted a "cross sample" of the menu. So, we told ourselves: “Hey, during the years he was a governor, he no longer wants only sausages, but he is enjoying the shrimp, tuna fish." One could see the progress.

For which star would you still like to cook?

I very much like singer Madonna. I have loved her since I was very young; in addition, she was born on the same day as I was, so that is a kind of connection, too. She has been to Prague a couple of times, but we have always missed her.

Alongside which world-renowned chef would you like to cook at some point?

I am lucky in that I have met a lot of people like that and worked with them. One of them is marvellous French chef, Daniel Boulud, who absolutely reigns New York. Also, Eyvind Hellstrøm, who was the only Scandinavian chef from Norway, who had had two stars at his restaurant for two years. I am sorry that colleague Joël Robuchon has passed away, and also one less known French chef, who had been also my friend, we have known each other for 20 years. I have memories of them and I would like to meet them once again.

Let´s put the work aside for now and move to your private life for a bit. Over the past couple of years you have managed to get engaged, get married and to become a father. Are you planning to take some momentous step in 2019, too?

In life I never plan anything, it always comes spontaneously. I let it run a free course. We are not planning anything and just wait and see what life would bring with it. The main thing is that we are all enjoying good health.

You spent your honeymoon in Australia. Did you also examine the local cuisine?

Certainly. Wherever we go, we think ahead about what we will eat where, and it all revolves around that. In our case, love really passes through the stomach. Australia is wonderful as regards raw materials - meat, vegetables, fruit.

How can we get some inspiration from the Australians?

Due to the fact that there is a lot of sunshine and people live near the ocean, they are kind, positive and are not upset, dour and angry like here in Bohemia. Wherever you go, people smile, greet you and ask how you are, or where do you come from. There you can see that people are interested in what they eat. When you go to a shop or a supermarket, whether in a big city, or in a village, you will find a wide choice. I would like to send the whole of the Czech Republic to Australia, to be there for a month, to see that the people there are really not angry. We should make every day as nice as possible.

Where do you like to go with your family as regards food?

We very much like to go to Vienna. There is on offer a brilliantly diverse choice of restaurants or gastronomic facilities from fine dining to classic Austrian cuisine. And various food festivals are held there as tradition.

Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m
Prodej rodinného domu, Praha 9 - 123m, Praha 9

You said that in your case, love passes through the stomach. Was it food, by which you attracted your wife?

My wife says that what attracted her was that I was unpleasant to her; I immediately began to address her by her Christian name. And it was rather because I did not try to ingratiate myself, I didn´t force my number on her, but I kind of overlooked her a little. Then I of course invited her home for the first date and I thought I would show off a little and I bought a Brittany lobster. She cleared the plate and said: "Even if you cooked spaghetti, I would go out with you anyway." But I think that I scored with the dinner anyway. She really likes to eat.

But one cannot see it...

One cannot. That´s an advert; when you cook well from healthy and fresh ingredients… Of course, one must have a certain disposition. But considering how much she “puts away”, at least as much or perhaps a little more than me, she really is a walking advertisement for good cooking.

How did your life change after the birth of your daughter Vanessa?

What has changed is that I do not want to go voluntarily for a beer or to a bar. Some activities that I used to do in my free time, such as golf, I´ve since restricted a lot. Instead, I started to do tennis, because it will not take up so much of your time. And I look forward to going home, because she really comes up, week after week, with something new, that I stare at her and think 'wow'.

What about Christmas gifts? Have you got them already?

I do. Moreover, my wife has a birthday ten days before Christmas. I started to think about it in September, thinking about what would be suitable, or what would surprise her. So we will see how it goes.

So you don´t get stressed out at Christmas?

No, no. I have ordered everything via the internet and everything came. I think that she will be happy. Even if I gave her anything, I think that she wouldn´t really care and would be just happy that I have remembered and that we are together. She is not the kind to say “I need a watch, a new car..." She is in this respect healthily modest.

Would you share with us your life dream?

My life dream is to be from 60 years of age in the south of Spain, have an apartment there, go to play golf, go to nice restaurants, sit on the terrace, bathe and enjoy the sunshine. That is my dream, where I would like to make a move and really enjoy it then. Because the cooking is quite demanding!

I am keeping my fingers crossed, so that it works for you!



Fast confession:

Name three things that a good chef must not be lacking.

Creativity, creativity and good taste buds.

What would you never eat?

Duck embryo.

Do you interfere with your wife´s cooking?

I don´t, she leaves the cooking to me.

Which star guest for whom you had cooked do you like to remember the most?

The Rolling Stones. Mick Jagger had a birthday celebration in Prague and it was a wonderful celebration, a party.

The best present that you ever got?

Our little daughter.

Which photo would you never post on social network?

Perhaps some morning one when I´m crawling out of bed all creased.

What is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face?

Our little one, she is the best.

How do you cope with criticism?

Not quite well. Who has an ego doesn´t cope well, but then again it pushes you forward.

Without what you cannot imagine your holiday?

I need the warmth, the sound of the sea and palm trees, that´s it.

Your recipe for a happy marriage?

The wife is always right.

What do you see as being romantic?

Romantic... Be with the person closest to you, anywhere in the world and enjoy one another.

Your three most favourite places in Prague?

I like Malá Strana, I like Stromovka and now I am beginning to like Libeň, because we will be moving there.

What would you serve to our President, Miloš Zeman?

Taking into account his health I would serve him some fish regularly in high doses.

Do you agree with the saying that love passes through the stomach?

Interviewee asks the editor:

How did you enjoy chatting with me?

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