PHOTO | Interview with Aleksandar Panovski-Pucko: The kitchen at home has been turned into a laboratory!

Aleksandar Panovski / private archive

When cooking is not only a profession but also a great passion, wonderful works in the kitchen are inevitable.

We met Aleksandar working on a project a long time ago, when I was part of the workshops he prepared with his students at the school where he is employed as a teacher. Apart from being an educator, he is friends with students, a fan of cooking and one of the enthusiasts interested in molecular gastronomy. We are talking to Aleksandar Panovski - Pucko, professor at DSU for rehabilitation and education, "St. Naum Ohridski", gourmet and enthusiast for molecular gastronomy.

The combination of education and passion for cooking for Aleksandar Panovski - Pucko is not something unusual - he was born with the desire to be a cook!

You work as a high school teacher, with students with extraordinary challenges and a great desire to learn. How is your work day, and what is most inspiring about working with children when it comes to cooking?

- Children are my energy. When we talk about people with atypical development, we mean the dearest and most innocent human being, with a pure soul and heart, as big as a mountain. These are people who unreservedly want and who express it without any special restrictions. To be there and spend most of the day, working with them for 17 years, I personally consider it my life mission, in which I am really maximally immersed and I enjoy. I am inspired by the fact that regardless of their disability, they always want to hear something new, something that they will follow with special attention, even if it is a not so important novelty. They are curious, with many questions, mostly unrelated to the topic, but always alert and active. It is not only my students who learn from me, but I also learn from them, and that is to love life the way they do, always with a positive spirit and thought. This is how my working day goes…

students from Kliment Ohridski / Facebook
students from Kliment Ohridski / Facebook

You mentioned to me that you are a passionate fan of "playing" and "experimenting" with the molecular way of recreating recipes. How did you discover this method and what is the trend in our country for such food?

- The modern way of cooking or molecular cuisine is my passion. That is what I am aiming for. It is necessary to always have a stable source of information, techniques and skills. Obsessed with modern cuisine, I associate everything I see around me with a unique dish. Sometimes I even go too far in unrealistic directions, but that's me, a man who dreams. In our country, this trend in recent years brings positive vibes, which makes me especially happy, but on the other hand I notice a lot of mixed styles, which do not fit to be in one place. One should know where he aims and what style he wants to cultivate in life. Only then can it be constantly upgraded. I am a person from teaching and I collect all the information regarding cooking selectively from pictures, videos, professional literature, cooperation with colleagues, chefs, but what I really lack here with us is a good guide, collaborator, dreamer. There are, but they are few, not to mention more "stingy" of information. I can freely say that there is no real recipe and that it is just a landmark or direction in which we are moving. I always prefer to learn and share as many techniques at work, because if a person knows the techniques, he will be able to create his own recipes. Everything else is "copy paste".

Aleksandar Panovski / Instagram
Aleksandar Panovski / Instagram
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive

You have posted a miracle photo on Facebook with beautiful delicacies that you are preparing. Apart from the precise architecture of sweets, cookies, salads, food deconstruction… What is most important when investing in this specific type of technique? Tell us more about your experience…

- I do not have any special pictures on social networks that can fully capture my passion. These are mostly pictures from my cell phone, and I'm a terrible photographer, haha. My emotion would be completely captured when someone professionally portrayed it. The cooperation with catering facilities and certain events that I am often engaged in, to show part of what I do best, inspire and motivate me to always look for new, unusual tastes and modern presentations, which would cause admiration among the guests. I often know how to be engaged in giving private lessons after cooking, and the smile of satisfied customers is a motive for me to continue working at the same pace. Gastronomy is quite dynamic and requires us to be constantly up to date with modern trends and techniques of work, which makes us changeable and always adaptable to change.

Aleksandar Panovski / Instagram
Aleksandar Panovski / Instagram
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive

As a joke when we talked about life's passion for food, you said to me, "The kitchen at home has been turned into a laboratory." What does support from home mean for a cook, husband and father? How do your loved ones view this particularly devoted profession?

- The kitchen is my therapy, the only home corner where my "chaos" reigns and if I ever come across a key on the other side of the door, it would mean that I have almost forgotten about "experimenting". I feel most free there and I spend all my free time. The consequences of the whole thing, whether positive or negative, are on the back of my wife, who often puts an artistic note in my final product. Finally, I would add that my five-year-old daughter is increasingly adding to the "chaos" in the kitchen, so I recently started building my own truly isolated "lab", which I hope to finish by spring.

Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
Aleksandar Panovski / private archive
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