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interview • November 3rd, 2021

Interview with Rudolf Štefan

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Michelin-starred chef Rudolf Štefan is the owner of restaurant Pelegrini in Croatia. This lovely fine-dining spot is located in the heart of Šibenik, on one of the oldest streets of the city and right next to St. James Cathedral. Rudolf is considered to be one of Croatia's most skilled cooks. And with his extraordinary artistic vision, the chef has earned himself an array of awards and prizes. To get to know him better, we asked Rudolf about his favourite ingredient to work with, his biggest career struggles and his love for risotto.

Rudolf, how would you describe your cooking style?

The kitchen of tavern Pelegrini is based on old Dalmatian recipes that are prepared in a newer and more modern way. For my recipes and new dishes, I draw ideas from the century-old influences of the great gastronomic forces that have transferred their traces, recipes and customs to our everyday kitchen. At Pelegrini, we truly serve modern Dalmatian cuisine.

What's your favourite dish to make?

My favourite dish is risotto, prepared in a hundred different ways! I always make it for friends and family because everybody enjoys it. When you serve it in the large pot in which it’s cooked, it can really make your dinner guests connect with each other.

If I had to eat the same dish for the rest of my life, I wouldn't feel like a chef anymore: I wouldn't cook, I wouldn’t be able to make other people happy with what I do. And in the end, I would lose all of my creativity and love for inventing and preparing new dishes.

Rudolf Štefan

restaurant Pelegrini

What is your favourite ingredient to work with?

Mussels! I come from Šibenik, which is famous for this special delicacy. The river Krka, which flows into the bay of Šibenik, has enriched the water with mussels. They’re a simple ingredient yet so full of flavour. And they can be prepared in so many ways.

Who is one of your top suppliers or producers?

Our shell suppliers. They supply me with fresh oysters and mussels every day, which I serve to our guests just a few hours after they’ve been caught.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your culinary career?

If I had to single out one of my biggest challenges in the kitchen, then that would definitely be my first internship. But great challenges never end! Every day comes with a new one: it teaches you how to become a better chef than you were yesterday. I deeply believe that continuously learning and putting in the effort always pays off in the end.

Which gastronomic trend are you excited about the most?

Lately I've been trying to find the perfect balance between my job and my family. Working in a restaurant takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of effort to achieve all of your goals. Still, you should not neglect your family who is always supporting you. So, in my opinion, balancing work with family is currently one of the most important gastronomic trends.

If you could only eat one dish for the rest of your life, what would that be?

If I had to eat the same dish for the rest of my life, I wouldn't feel like a chef anymore: I wouldn't cook, I wouldn’t be able to make other people happy with what I do. And in the end, I would lose all of my creativity and love for inventing and preparing new dishes.

Thank you, Rudolf.

Book your table at restaurant Pelegrini

Try master chef Rudolf Štefan’s unparalleled cuisine for yourself at restaurant Pelegrini in Šibenik, Croatia. You can make your lunch or dinner reservation with us.

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