Chef's Profile - Petar Obad
Excellent food, a glass of wine and poetry make a perfect experience – meet Petar Obad, Chef of Hotel Excelsior and a soulful poet.Among the many hidden delights in the kitchen of Hotel Excelsior, is a true poetic pearl. Our Chef, Petar Obad, delights guests every day with his culinary skills while presenting the hotel’s diverse menu through his unique verses and poems.
Born in Konavle, the southernmost region of Croatia, Petar can compose verses in the blink of an eye. Nobody can resist Petar’s poems, not even the famous hotel guru, Anthony Melchiorry, who stayed at the Excelsior and experienced, probably for the first time, exquisite delicacies served with beautiful lyrics. Petar Obad's poems are inspired by his birthplace, Konavle. So far he has published three collections of poems.
Peter has been learning culinary secrets since he was a child, alongside his mother who was a cook in many Dubrovnik hotels. First he learned to make scrambled eggs, but it was only when he turned fourteen, that he made his first cooked lunch – a traditional Croatian meal of tripe. Petar was educated at the Dubrovnik school of tourism and hospitality, as well as at the culinary academies Boscolo Etoile and Lenotre. He has worked in many top hotels, but his crowning achievement has been his position at hotel Excelsior, an icon of Croatian hotels.
˝Coming home from high school, I would pass near the Hotel Excelsior, which was always special to me,” he recalled. “I wondered whether I would ever have a chance to work here as the main Chef. And so it was -- two years ago my dream came true. Being a Chef at the Hotel Excelsior is an exceptional honour and a great responsibility. I lead a team of over 30 chefs – without them I would not be able to achieve such excellent results. As I always say – I am just the conductor of a well coordinated orchestra in which everyone knows exactly who is doing what.˝
Many movie stars, celebrities and statesmen such as Morgan Freeman, Francis Ford Coppola, the royal family of Morocco and Bhutan have tasted Petar's specialties. These discerning guests are most amazed by the homemade specialties from this region. “We serve guests who have tasted and seen it all, and who can easily get anything they want. But again and again, they are most thrilled with our homemade dishes, local ingredients and traditional recipes. They get enthusiastic about a tomato ripened in the sun, picked yesterday in Konavle or the Neretva valley.˝ To bring home-style cooking even closer to his guests, Petar often brings local fruits and vegetables to the kitchen of Hotel Excelsior, along with herbs and spices from his own garden.
˝A Chef who doesn’t like to eat well does not carry in himself a work of art. And if he’s not boyishly playful, he is not likely to be successful in this business. A Chef primarily must be a gourmand, must love to eat and to constantly nibble and think. I live my job 24 hours a day and I'm always thinking about what new dish I could prepare," says Petar.