The Embassy cook Ivan Corbic tells about his relationship with Finnish food. Corbic prepares food for events, such as working lunches or receptions.
Ivan Corbic has cooked for the Finnish Embassy in Belgrade for five years already. Before working at the Embassy, he did not know much about the Finnish kitchen. Once he got to know it, he was surprised by its simplicity and its deliciousness. Corbic tells that Serbians are sometimes too complicated with the food: kitchens end up looking like surgery rooms with all the appliances. On the other hand, there are many similar dishes in the Finnish and the Serbian kitchen – just each with a local twist. As an example, Corbic mentions meatballs, which are in Serbia served in tomato sauce and in Finland in gravy and possibly accompanied by some lingonberry sauce.
Corbic thinks Nordic food is very popular right now. Last year, he participated to a training organized by the Finnish Foreign Ministry in Helsinki. The course was specially planned for the cooks working at Finnish Embassies all around the world. Training included cooking classes and visits to restaurants in Helsinki. At the course, it was for example taught how to substitute Finnish ingredients with local ones. Corbic says that it was one of the best experiences in his life and that he got many new ideas for his work. The main lesson of the visit was “simple dish is the best dish”.
His favorite dish to prepare is Finnish blinis with gravlax. A Serbian specialty he likes is deer stew with polenta. Corbic has not come across anything in the Finnish kitchen that he finds revolting – he is indeed very open-minded. In Corbic’s opinion, the most interesting ingredient right now is the mushroom ‘horn of plenty’, which is quite common in Finland.