Dariusz Barański – the head chef at „Warszawska” and „Szóstka” restaurants in Hotel Warszawa Warsaw. He graduated from Le Cordon Bleu – the oldest and most prestigious culinary school in the world. He’s worked in the industry for over 20 years. He has worked in Italy, London and Berlin. He comes from Katowice. He’s a father of two children.
The Best Chef: What made you interested in the culinary world?
Dariusz Barański: My mother worked as an accountant in the miners canteen’s office. I would spend my time there waiting for her to finish her job and that’s how my adventure began. It was there, where I learned how a big, serious canteen is organized. It was a huge lesson for me. The canteen was very well organized. Those were my beginnings. That’s when I realized that cooking and spending time in the kitchen was great.
The Best Chef: How would you describe the restaurants you work in? What makes them unique? What are their most important characteristics?
Dariusz Barański: “Warszawska” is based on ingredients. It is a casual restaurant. It is a concept that reflects who we are. When I was a little boy, whenever we had guests my mother would put on the table the best food that we had at home. That is exactly what we want to show in our restaurant – many of our dishes are meant to be shared, and we also share what we have best with our guests. We want to show that Polish hospitality is something to be proud of. We set the table with the best we have – the best ingredients – and our guests share it. Everyone will find something for themselves. In addition, this, in our opinion, is what characterises our main restaurant, the “Warszawska” restaurant – the hospitality and sharing. A sharing place. As for our second restaurant – “Szóstka” – it is much more focused on vegetables, of course, we have meat and fish there too, but we focus more on vegetables. It is not as casual as “Warszawska”, but still all our guests can feel at ease there.
The Best Chef: What is your biggest source of inspiration in your daily work? Who or what inspires you?
Dariusz Barański: My family is my greatest inspiration. My children. I have two kids who give me a lot of strength every day. My family have always been – and still are – very supportive of my work. My parents, as well as my girlfriend and my children.
As for professional inspirations, there are many inspiring chefs that I follow on Instagram. Each of them is a specialist or a genius in a different area. I try to learn as much as I can from them.
The Best Chef: What is your understanding of Polish cuisine? How do you perceive it?
Dariusz Barański: I think that Polish cuisine has shown its many different faces over the last ten years. Both the modern version and the classic one. I also believe that all of these versions are good. Everyone has to find a place for themselves. I see Polish cuisine as a cuisine based on ingredients, mainly pork. When I was a child, I remember when my uncle had a pig slaughter and so on and so on. These things are not foreign to me and this is how I see Polish cuisine. Of course, Polish cuisine is evolving, over the last ten years we have made a lot of progress when it comes to chefs and their skills, service, and even guests. But as I’ve said in the beginning, for me Polish cuisine is the ingredients – quality meat (pork), vegetables, some fermentation, some classic cakes. That is how I see Polish cuisine.
The Best Chef: In your opinion, why is Poland – despite such rich traditions – still not recognizable on the culinary map of Europe? Why is this country’s culinary tradition still so unknown?
Dariusz Barański: It’s hard to say. I don’t want to get into it to avoid saying too much. This is a very difficult subject. However, I can compare it with Hungary, for example, where I have many friends. There, the culinary tradition is considered part of the cultural heritage, a cultural asset. It is supported financially and substantively, as well as on systemic, ministerial level. It is similar in Germany. We still lack such mechanisms. We are still searching for a national “product” with which we can be identified.
The Best Chef: What are your culinary plans for the nearest future?
Dariusz Barański: Before the pandemic, I went to Casserta to see my friend, who showed me how to make mozzarella, stracciatella, burrata. Because of the current situation, this project has been put aside for a year and a half, but now we would like to revive it.
I expected a lot from 2020, we had a lot of projects, many of them failed. We had very high expectations. Unfortunately, 2020 ended with a pandemic and such a heavy hangover for us. Because of this I have no plans for 2021 and I want to be pleasantly disappointed. Of course, we have some new projects in mind. I would like to publish a book. We already have all the photos. This book will also be based on ingredients. However, if I fail to publish it in 2021 or even in 2022, I will not feel the pressure anymore. I want to be pleasantly surprised when something goes well, I don’t set myself such rigid goals anymore and I enjoy every day.