Appetite for excellence
Hobart-based Kobi Ruzicka has been named one of the nation’s top young chefs
TWO years ago Melbourne chef Kobi Ruzicka and his partner Sarah Fitzsimmons joked about opening a restaurant in Hobart. Now their Collins Street bistro, Dier Makr, is buzzing five nights a week.
Tucked away in the city, down what has been described as ‘the least inviting restaurant entrance in Hobart’ is the brainchild that has allowed Ruzicka to stretch his culinary legs.
The name (pronounced die-er make-er) stands as the best analogy for what the team is doing at the end of the hallway.
Ruzicka says the duo wanted a name that people didn’t already have a link to.
“We wanted something without the cultural kind of reference point so it’s actually based on a Led Zeppelin song that’s a play on a mishearing,” Ruzicka confided.
After a number of years spent in kitchens across Europe, including the Michelinstarred In de Wulf in Belgium and Restaurant Relae in Copenhagen, Ruzicka’s ethos for food and drink has developed to be much the same as the name.
“I’m trying to create dishes that don’t have a familiar reference point. If I’m taking ingredients, whatever they may be, it is often instinctive to put them with other associated ingredients,”
“For example tomatoes have a strong association with Italian cuisine, it’s easy to throw them into something with fresh cheese like a ricotta or mozzarella and fresh basil to create something that you recognise and you already have a reference for,”
“I’m just curious to get people to try things that they
It’s really flattering, there are some amazing chefs in that list so if other people are seeing something in me and my food then it’s pretty humbling
haven’t had before.”
And the Dier Makr menu does just that; set out as over six courses it is presented to diners with single key words so even if you have had it before, you won’t know until it hits the table.
For example, a key dish titled ‘mussels’ features shucked mussels steamed over beer and served with a warm emulsion akin to a Spanish pil pil.
Ruzicka explained that a familiar reference for mussels would be to serve them in their shells, usually in something warming like a chowder.
“Mussels are rarely shucked so textually I think
that makes this different to a normal mussel dish, its not like a mussel dish that people have had before,” he said.
A testament to Ruzicka’s talent and energy is the degustation style menu at Dier Makr that plays with the intricacies of texture and flavour, so is his place in FoodService’s list of 50 Next Generation Top Aussie Chefs.
Compiled by the online industry publication, the list which includes fellow Hobart chef’s Matt Breen (Templo) and David Moyle (Franklin) as well as industry names like Victor Liong (Lee Ho Fook) and Aaron Turner (Igni) is a salute to the next generation of taste makers who are demonstrating serious talent and creativity.
While Ruzicka is flattered to be included, he said getting those kinds of accolades has never been his goal.
“It’s really flattering, there are some amazing chefs in that list so if other people are seeing something in me and my food then it’s pretty humbling,”
“My motivation generally is to have a restaurant that is busy enough for me to be able to put out food that I enjoy and feel satisfied putting out,”
And that is a goal that he seems to have already kicked as they settle into a steady routine of busy nights that Fitzsimmons says has become the new normal.
“If you had of asked us a few months ago how we were going we would have said busy, just busy but now we’re doing the same covers if not more and we seem to be kind hitting our stride.” she said.