• Jekaterina Archipova

Casper Stuhr Sobczyk – the tenacious chef

in the panpan bistro in copenhagen, head chef casper stuhr sobczyk prepares gastronomic delights in hounö visual cooking combi ovens while enjoying the view of the panda enclosure.

Intense savor with a feminine touch

He started in the restaurant business as a 13-year-old. Today, he is the Head Chef at the three restaurants at Copenhagen ZOO in addition to their event- and conference center. The passion for food has always been central, however, it was not until recent years that Casper Stuhr Sobczyk unfolded his abilities in the field of fine cooking.

“I've always loved to taste and to dine. So, the passion has always been there. Fine cooking came late for me, as I don’t have a past at star restaurants. Actually, I started as a very ordinary chef from a seasonal restaurant without any hocus-pocus. By chance, I ended up working at a really good restaurant, where the food came to mean something completely different.”

Sobczyk's past includes Fiskebaren (when it was named the 10th best restaurant in Europe) where he learned that food is not just food; Restaurant ET, where he was the first chef employed to assist the Head Chefs which resulted in learning a lot about taste; and "the old" Alchemist, where he worked as Sous Chef and Rasmus Munk’s right-hand man and learned much about storytelling and unconventional methods of food preparation. This - and much more - shaped Sobczyk into the chef he is today. “…Besides the fact that I am a stubborn guy, who will fight to the end. There's a lot of self-learning in many of my dishes.”

In 2019, he left the kitchen at Hotel Marienlyst and started his new adventure as Head Chef at ZOO in Copenhagen. Here he unfolds his gastronomic talents, as the versatile chef he is, in Bistro panpan in the panda enclosure, which has been designed by architect Bjarke Ingels. The restaurant is an Asian-French bistro, which holds 140 seats as well as a large terrace with the unique surroundings of the male panda Xing Er's home.

Sobczyk describes his food style as extremely tasteful and powerful with a feminine touch.

“My food really reflects me. Very feminine - I always use flowers or colors, but when you taste my food, you’ll think ‘wow, that has a kick to it!’”

HOUNÖ ovens in exotic surroundings

In the kitchen of the flagship restaurant panpan you will find two large HOUNÖ Visual Cooking combi ovens, which run in combi mode 24/7. The oven model is 1.20 with roll-in, 1/1 GN, touch screen, 500 programs and an intuitive interface.

“I love the HOUNÖ oven. It is a fantastic oven. The combi is really good and perfect for what we do in panpan, and it ensures that we can keep the food both soft and crispy at the same time.”

During evenings and nights, the ovens are used as heating cabinets, running oven-drying or slow-cooking programs, resulting in both time-optimization and cost-savings with effect on the energy consumption as well as the food consumption.

Sobczyk also uses the ovens to experiment in the innovative phases e.g. in how to achieve just the right consistency and baking crust on bao bread and brioche buns.

World famous for the butter steak

Sobczyk’s cooking went viral when he invented a new meat ageing technique - a unique process in between regular wet and dry ageing, where the meat is coated in a log of butter and aged for 45 days. He uses no less than 5 kg of butter to coat 10 pieces of meat and has previously been quoted as saying: “The butter steak does not think about the environment. Only about happy bellies”.

Of course, the world-famous signature dish is on the menu at Bistro panpan: 200g AAA sashi butter-aged ribeye served with salat, french fries and panpan's béarnaise sauce. Bon appetite!

Photo credit: Søren Gammelmark

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