15.10.2018 10:11


The Czech Republic has a problem with racism, says the chef with the blue blood

Autor: Zuzana Šikalová | Kurz: English section | Kategorie: Features and other

Stefan Stefanov III. is a forty-year-old man full of energy. He is from a royal Bulgarian family. From his early childhood, he wanted to be an actor or a cook. Although, his parents wanted him to be a lawyer, he became a chef. Five years ago, he decided to move to the Czech Republic.

We are sitting in a small vegetarian bistro in the center of Prague, where Stefan used to work before. He has number III behind his name, which suggests, that he isn’t from an ordinary family. “My family is royal, so there is the blue blood in my veins. Funny, isn’t it?” the rather dark man with short hair begins to tell his life story. He has always been a rebel. “My parents always wanted to rule my life, so when I was eighteen years old I rented an apartment and I became independent,” he explains.

He was looking for a job and he found one in a restaurant. “It was really hard for a free-spirited person like me because  there are so many rules and things that you must follow in a kitchen,” he recalls and takes a sip from a coffee mug. But he was perseverant and after a few months he was running the whole buffet kitchen and after eight months he became a head chef there. “I was surprised because I was so young and I didn’t have any experience. But I had great ideas and a good team. Having a good team is the most important thing in the kitchen as well as in life,” the man continues.

The life in the kitchen can be very hard sometimes so after some years of being a chef he started pursuing his other childhood dream - becoming an actor. This was his driving force when he left for England and took up acting. „My grandmother loaned me the money for my studies. She was my light,” he says. He was in England all alone, because his wife had stayed in Bulgaria and after two years Stefan went back home. The reasons were multiple. It was loneliness, not being lucky in finding an acting job and he was homesick.

 
He found a job as a Head Chef in one of the best restaurants in Bulgaria and everything was good until he realized, that he wanted to travel around the world and to get to know everything. This has brought him to the Czech Republic, but this time he came with his family. „We were in shock at first. Similar people and nation, yet so different from the Bulgarians. We are more family oriented and warm-hearted,“ Stefan says.

Many people in the Czech Republic have a problem with the colour of his skin. Czech people are often mistaken that I’m a gypsy or an Arab, which makes me sad, but I cannot change it,“ he admits deplorably. But Stefan is an open minded person and he is always trying to stay happy and positive.

Also, he had a hard time learning the Czech language. „I remember, when I needed to order things for cooking by phone. It was such a show. I was walking with a jar of pickles and reading the label to the guy on the other side of the phone,“ he laughs with tears in his eyes. For him, it is very important to be able to express himself, his opinions and ideas and it’s one of the reasons why he has learned to speak Czech. „Speaking many languages is a thing that I have always wanted  because then I am able to express myself well anywhere,“ he says enthusiastically. He speaks Bulgarian, Macedonian, Serbian, Russian, Ukrainian, English, French, German, Czech and little bit of Italian and Japanese.

All his family loves Prague, but the Czech Republic isn’t their final destination. „We had a conversation with my wife about our future and she agreed to stay in Czechia until the kids finish their schools. At this moment, my daughter is in the first grade,“ explains Stefan and shows me a photo of his daughter. He doesn’t know where their path will take them, but as he said at the beginning, he wishes to explore the whole world.

Klíčová slova: chef, profile story, bulgarian

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