Ap­petite for ex­cel­lence

Ho­bart-based Kobi Ruz­icka has been named one of the na­tion’s top young chefs

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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