Inspired by French traditional cuisine

The Chef

Ivan Manchev opened its first restaurant in 2003 the last year managed to develop it as one of the most famous and popular restaurants in Sofia. This is the restaurant "Cactus". Meanwhile, both Andre Tokev establish NAPG (National Association of Professional Cooks) in Bulgaria. After many tours and international culinary competitions in which the Bulgarian team won valuable awards. Manchev is a frequent guest in the culinary shows on Bulgarian television. He has authored numerous articles on culinary arts and has helped a dozen friends to develop their own institutions. Dedicated to his work, Ivan Manchev enjoys the support of his wife and two children.

All means you succeeded in the profession?
Partly because I know I'm about many things one learns life. Work in "Kempinski - Hotel Zografski" gave me a pretty good base, perhaps the most stable. I am grateful that I voted for such confidence, although I was very young. I learned from the best chefs to me were people with experience, I watched them how they think and what they do. In specializations abroad also I learned many things. Now I have the opportunity to implement all this in the restaurant "Cactus". But I know that there is always more to learn and a place to unwind. Cooking, like all things in life, is constantly evolving.

Accumulated a lot of experience, can you say what is the most important thing for a chef?
Working with the team. I think this is the most essential thing to a successful chef. Economic knowledge are also very important - you must be familiar with the supply, demand and pricing. Furthermore, the chef must be very hardworking, with good knowledge in marketing and trade. He is manager of the kitchen, he went through all the steps from top to bottom. Ie besides excellent cook, he must have many other skills. One must go from the bottom to allow himself to see every detail, which is part of the culinary and service at all.

Why did you choose this profession? I became a chef because of his father. He directed me, really wanted to do with gastronomy and knew he would handle it. I'm grateful that I helped in the selection and gave me the courage to do this hard job. I feel that I have chosen the right direction for myself, and that makes me satisfied man. I do not say "can become an artist or a lawyer," I know I have in place.

What did you learn when studying abroad?
In Switzerland, the chef, with whom I worked, told me that started from snacks, absolutely gone through all the steps to reach that place. In this profession you can survive, if not professional. I am very pleased that I had the opportunity to work abroad. I saw a lot of things and look to somehow apply them here in Bulgaria. In the West, often the owner of the restaurant is the chef there. So when I returned to Bulgaria, I knew that someday I will work in your own restaurant. It was my dream and when I left the hotel, I was able to adapt to the situation and make it happen. Now here I emphasize the international cuisine of things that do not occur every day, and I hope people like them.

Is it easy to accept new things in Bulgaria?
New trends and long-entering the country. Before we could not imagine mixing flavors like sweet and salty. But people already know what it is and seek lamb chops with pineapple, duck with orange, green salad with melon, strawberries or watermelon. Bulgarians perceived taste gradually. First look for a dish, led by curiosity, and then measure it and begins to like him as taste.

What are your culinary preferences?
NATIONALITY like our national cuisine. I grew up with it, my taste is returned to me in childhood. In Lebanon, I imagined Bulgarian cuisine and know what your interest see it foreigners. As a professional, however, continue to admire French cuisine. For me it remains the best and most interesting. I like Italian, Spanish, Chinese, French is but the tip in cooking.

Were you able to combine managerial duties with the work of the chef?
Were you able to combine managerial duties with the work of the chef? Cooking gives me such pleasure that very often, when I have time to get off the kitchen, starting to lack its special atmosphere. But do not let this happen often. I love to cook, serve to coordinate. When there are many orders, a man unleashes his imagination and began to improvise. After one thought - the master is known by the restriction and the sequel, ie be limited in their area and to keep going. You catch one direction, chasing her to the end. If you work less than, less than the other does not.

What are your plans for the future?
Many things lie ahead, I can hardly articulate more. I want people to know what they spend their money. In Bulgaria it is still very poor service. A visitor must be satisfied and come back again. Customers pay staff salaries and for that you need to receive adequate service from him. The more people think so much better.

Can you give any tips for healthy eating
Do not eat greasy, pork, chicken and fish, not to dinner later. It is better to eat more vegetables and fruits. To eat fresh things - this is very important.