Jenő Rácz played a lot of sports during his childhood. At one competition he ended up finishing in third place, and he can remember that the frustration of not reaching first or even second ended up bringing him to tears. This determination to never settle for anything but the top would motivate him and lead him to achieve things he never would have imagined at that age. In a short film presented by the Friends of Hungary Foundation, he says that while he originally did not know where this ambition would lead, it always kept him wanting success more than his competitors did.
Rácz has travelled to many places around the world. He has tasted and prepared many different types of food. This is why, during the preparations of the menu for his restaurant, the chef emphasized that those who enter and take part in the eleven-course menu are practically travelling with him.
Essentially, the Chef’s Table can provide an experience to guests which extends a direct connection between them and the chefs. We are talking about a very intimate thing, where there is essentially nothing to hide.”
Rácz considers his style to be avant-garde; there are no rules, and he likes to cook without anything binding him. Inspiration comes from many facets in his life.
When I walk past a vegetable, when I smell certain vegetables, when something catches my eye, when I see differently formed shapes. Then the feeling of what I could prepare with that raw material immediately hits me.”
The most important aspect, Rácz says, is that one should operate with a strong understanding of the foundations. “Just like a painter,” he explains, “if they know which color to mix with which and how they can bring that onto the canvass, then from there on out everything comes from the imagination.”
While there have already been Michelin star restaurants in Budapest, Jenő Rácz alone is the first Hungarian to have been awarded a Michelin star abroad. Rácz became the chef of the Taian Table in Shanghai in 2016, which was awarded a Michelin star three months after its opening. Thanks to his leadership, it was able to maintain that title for the next two years.
Things have changed in the modern world, Rácz says, referring the changing atmosphere around the culture of cooking. Nowadays he is meeting young people, five, ten, fifteen years old, who want to become chefs someday. This is excellent in his opinion, since it means an entirely different generation is growing up “which looks at gastronomy as an artform.”
Rácz had won some exceptional experiences during the time he spent abroad. He had left Hungary at the age of 18 and travelled the world for roughly ten years. One of the main things which drew him back home was his dream of starting his own restaurant, as well as the want to start a family.
It is a very said feeling when I cannot spend Christmas with my loved ones, when I cannot celebrate a birthday. This is why I felt that what I can achieve and do abroad I can achieve and do here at home too.”
The Hungarian chef feels that his way of thinking is best explained as bringing the maximum out of the maximum, giving it his all.
I believe a person can do anything, but then they should give it their heart and soul. They can be a photographer, they can build cars, but then they should build the best cars, this is how I think.”
Rumour by Rácz Jenő opened successfully on May 8, it can be found on Petőfi Square 3-5. As promised, it delivers on the chef’s table experience, with space for 21 guests to interact with Rácz and his chefs, and to be present in every step of the gastronomic experience.
“They wanted to send me home from my first training as I was even smaller than the net,” Hungary’s No. 1 tennis player tells the Friends of Hungary Foundation in a short film. Márton Fucsovics quickly adds: “But then the trainer saw that I hit the balls quite well.” That is how the now 29-year-old […]Continue reading