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No Question of Putting Hungarian Oscar Dishes on Budapest Menu, Says Hungarian Chef

Júlia Tar 2022.07.19.

As we reported earlier on Hungary Today, István Szántó, the chef of Spago restaurant in Budapest had the chance to present some iconic Hungarian dishes at the Oscars this year. Now, Szántó was a guest on a podcast by 24.hu in which he talked about the menu of the restaurant, and his relationship with the famous chef Wolfgang Puck, the owner of the famous establishment.

The Hungarian Hunter’s beef (vadas), which was prepared at the display counters in Los Angeles this year, was Samuel L. Jackson’s favorite dish, 24.hu writes. It was available in Budapest as well at the Spago Restaurant by Wolfgang Puck. He is the Austrian-born chef and the owner of the international restaurant chain Spago, who since 1995, has been responsible for creating the menu that is served to celebrities and VIP guests at the post-Oscars party called the Oscars Governors Ball. Every year, he has more than a hundred chefs working under his watchful eye to ensure that everything at the reception is perfect. This year, one of these chefs was István Szántó.

With the Oscar menu we wanted to reach out to the guests who supported us on the trip out, we had a lot of requests asking for a tasting. There was no question of putting it on the menu. It was up for a good month and a half, we took it down recently as the news value of the event had diminished, but we still kept a couple of favourites like the Hunter’s beef and the Hungarian trifle (somlói galuska).”

Hungarian Chef Cooks at Oscars for First Time
Hungarian Chef Cooks at Oscars for First Time

"I thought of dishes that are emblematic of Hungarian cuisine. In the end, chicken paprikash, hunters' stew, Eszterházy torte and Hungarian trifle were the winners," said István Szántó.Continue reading

Szántó also talked about keeping in touch with Puck:

Wolfgang Puck calls me every three to four weeks to check up on us,”

the Hungarian chef said.

“For me, this was also a surprise at the beginning. He works with a lot of people around the world, he has a chef in each of his restaurants that he has direct contact with. After all these years, he still takes it to heart, and not only are we one of many, but he really cares about how we are doing. He can probably tell from my voice and those few sentences that everything is fine, and if we need anything, he responds immediately,” Szántó explained. He added that “even though he is a world star in the US, and there is no one who does not know him, it can be said that in the last year Spago and Wolfgang Puck have gone from nothing to somebody here in Hungary. And that shows the power of the brand he has built: in less than a year he has managed to catch up with his reputation here.”

Hollywood Stars Enjoyed Hungarian Dishes at Oscars Gala
Hollywood Stars Enjoyed Hungarian Dishes at Oscars Gala

Some dishes, including the Hungarian Hunter’s beef (vadas), were prepared at the display counters.Continue reading

The head chef of the Budapest restaurant also talked about his experiences in Parliament, saying:

In the Parliament’s kitchen you could experience all levels of catering. In fact, I learned a lot about Hungarian cuisine during those years. In the meantime, I was also able to use the experience I had gained abroad, even at formal events and banquets.”

How the Hungarian dishes were served and what experiences István Szántó had at the Oscars, you can read here and here.

Featured image via the Facebook page of the Spago by Wolfgang Puck Budapest


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