Magda Grzebyk, for that is the name of the author of the most popular food&travel blog in Poland. She has written several books on food. She has visited the farthest corners of the world in search of new flavors. And what does Culinary Criticism taste like? She tells us about whether she is a GentleWoman…. and does she have time to cook at home herself?


You travel a lot. Do you believe that flavors from the kitchen at the other end of the of the world can be replicated in one’s own home? Do you have your own way to do it?I think it’s possible to come very close, but recreating the flavors of the trip perfectly is difficult, if not impossible. First of all, it is a matter of availability and quality of products. It will be rather difficult to get mangoes or pineapples that have ripened in the sun in Poland, and the same is true of other products. In addition, how we perceive a dish is also influenced by the atmosphere of the place, the environment, many different stimuli. But it’s worth trying, because there’s no better travel memory than the one you can eat. Preferably in good company.

What is your recipe for being a gentlewoman in a restaurant guest issue?
Personal culture first and foremost. Even in contentious situations, when you return a dish to the kitchen, you can behave in such a way as not to offend anyone. In general, personal culture and politeness, is something that costs nothing, and sometimes opens many doors and facilitates a lot in life. Well, and a smile.
What does Culinary Criticism taste like?
Source: courtesy of Magda Grzebyk.

You often expose the vices, flaws and stereotypical behavior of the Polish restaurant scene and beyond in a humorous way. Why do you have so much distance from the world and yourself?

I just like to laugh. We are not in the world for punishment, so let’s make this adventure as enjoyable as possible. Such is my nature that I can turn most situations, including difficult ones, into a joke. Fortunately, the majority of my readers understand my – no question about it – specific sense of humor. Distance, on the other hand, is something I’m still learning. I may be learning it all my life.
Eating is a celebration, a feast and a ritual all in one. With whom do you most like to sit at the table?
I really like to sit down at the table with people who share my love of good food, with people for whom it is not only a way to fill the stomach, but also a pleasure, a cool way to spend time, a hobby. You can talk about food while eating for hours and have a great time doing it. It is also a kind of hedonism, and as I said – we are not in the world for punishment, so seeking pleasure in every aspect of it is my favorite sport.
Does a person who writes about restaurants have time to cook for himself?
Of course! In general, I think that people who write about restaurants should cook at least decently. After all, this is where we get our knowledge, not only about techniques, but also learn from our mistakes. This makes it easier to share feedback with the chef, which will be useful to him and go beyond tasted/disliked.
What does Culinary Criticism taste like?
Source: courtesy of Magda Grzebyk.

How is the parity between men and women among chefs shaping up in the Polish gastronomic world? There are more and more women in gastronomy, and I’m very happy about that, because they are great, strong grandmothers who cook phenomenally. Catering is a thankless and tough industry, so I admire them all the more. On the other hand, it is still strangely emphasized that we are dealing with a “female boss.” As if that changes anything.

Which piece of the world stimulates your taste buds the most?
It may be trivial, but I love Italy. I’ve been going back there several times a year for more than a decade and haven’t gotten bored yet. I like their love of simplicity and good product, but also their great diversity – each region is different and each worth trying. I recently discovered Mauritian Creole cuisine and was captured by the fever of flavors. In fact, I bring back interesting, tasty memories from every trip, whether it’s Asia, Africa or America.
What else do you plan to put out in the restaurant world? What are your plans for the future?
I have two interesting projects in various stages of development at the moment, on the one hand rubbing against gastronomy, and on the other not directly related to the blog. I don’t want to talk about details for now, but I certainly haven’t settled on anything. The blog is still a passion, and it is also my business card, but I am also very tempted by other developments, and it is these that I am focusing on now. In my plot, I have achieved everything there was to achieve at this point – Krytyka Kulinarna is the most popular food&travel blog in Poland, and this makes me really happy. But I like challenges, so I set new goals for myself.
What does Culinary Criticism taste like?
Source: courtesy of Magda Grzebyk.
What dish would you describe yourself with?
Difficult! I’m certainly not the pizza everyone likes, because I have a character and I know it. And on the other hand, underneath the hard shell is a soft center. Chocolate fondant doesn’t fit, because I’m not sweet, and besides, it’s a cliché. Dear Gentle Woman – I don’t know how to answer this question, but I do know one thing – I am a woman, full of a palette of tastes. In food, their combination gives the fifth taste, the best one – umami.
How do you think spring tastes? What recipe do you recommend for this time of year?
Spring is a dream of summer – we already really want to eat all those sun-scented fruits and vegetables, and on the other hand, it’s still a little while until the new year, so we have to be patient. Let’s not be fooled by strawberries in April, but remember that this is a good time to slim down our daily menu. In the spring I increasingly give up meat and switch to fish, it comes naturally. In the summer, I hardly eat meat at all. It’s still in season for radicchio, which I usually bake under a béchamel, but the worst time, pre-breakfast, is when I save myself with preserves and frozen foods. Every summer we secure our rear ends for the winter. During peak season for strawberries, we buy a larger quantity and freeze them, process tomatoes into puree, etc. There’s nothing better than a plate of summer-smelling tomato soup when it’s still not very green outside the window and the nearest good tomatoes are a three-month prospect.



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