Fresh Seasonings from the Forest – a Conversation with Jan Nowicki, Chef at the Restaurant at Apart Hotel Termy Uniejów

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What kind of cuisine does your restaurant serve?

We follow the idea of ‘Inspired by Tradition’, which in our case consists in selecting and exploring ingredients, techniques, suppliers, the direction and recognisability of our dishes as well as our cooking philosophy. Our cuisine is based on regional traditions and carefully selected traditional Polish and local products of top quality.

What inspired your menu?

The idea largely stems from the hotel location. When I visited Uniejów for the first time, I had a chance to taste regional dishes from the locals. I was impressed the most with traditional sour cabbage. ‘Urban’ cabbage can’t hold a candle to its quality. That was when I decided to take that direction. I realised we had plenty of opportunities. We have a modern, well-equipped kitchen surrounded by local farms and the forest. We have local products at our fingertips. This allows us to carefully select our ingredients and get them directly from producers. When I started my culinary career, I would go with my boss to gather seasonings before work. It took us one hour each way. Here, the restaurant is situated several dozen metres from the forest. We can send someone for fresh seasonings even just before serving them.

What are your culinary inspirations?

My inspirations are products and people. I love to work with charismatic people. Technological development opens up endless possibilities. We can select products ourselves, which encourages and stimulates our creativity.

What about the health properties of your dishes?

We pay particular attention to the health properties of our food due to the character and location of the hotel. Bearing that in mind, we replaced butter traditionally served with bread with local cold‑pressed oils. Of course, we serve butter at the request of our guests, but we try to offer some alternative. Our breakfast menu contains a wide selection of fit and diet meals accompanied by detailed information on their calories and ingredients. The menu is dedicated to guests with special nutritional needs, children, and people practising sports and following a restricted diet. We also use low-temperature cooking methods.

What are the advantages of the restaurant location?

For business purposes, it’s the location in Central Poland. From my perspective as the chef, the easy availability of local and ecological products. Every cook should aim at minimising the supply chain. Thanks to our convenient location, I can select ingredients myself, because our suppliers’ farms are located several kilometres from the hotel. Also, we can gather fresh seasonings just before dinner.

What makes your restaurant special?

For certain, it’s our attitude and respect for products. We also try to offer original concepts, which aren’t common on the local market. For example, we offer ‘Chef’s Table’, which is a table in the kitchen which I wait myself, introducing guests into the world of our cooking philosophy. I also decided to introduce dry seasonal meat in our menu. What’s more, we have a real treat for foodies, because we’re currently the third restaurant in Poland serving ripening pork. We also have a Degustation Menu along Menu al’a Carte, which is the showcase of the restaurant.

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