“ Most of all, I wish that tourists and Czechs can taste genuine Georgian cuisine,
which was passed on to me through the blood of my father.”
„If you want to know a man, sit down with him at the table!“-Georgian proverb
It is clear, that if you want to taste great Georgian cuisine, the best will be to visit the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi. But, if you’re not planning a trip there, don’t worry. Within a short walk from Old Town Square, there is a Georgian Restaurant, where a Tbilisi-born chef will prepare incredible food for you right from his heart.
Our chef, Lasha Gabeskeliani, has true Georgian blood. He was born in Tbilisi 29 years ago. As a child, he often wandered into the kitchen where his father, a well-known chef, was cooking. "I've been watching my dad since I was a kid. I was fascinated by how he cooked and I liked it," Lasha reveals when he first fell in love with cooking. As time went by, the kitchen and the preparation of food attracted him more and more. One day, he couldn’t help it, and he had to give space to his ideas, which started to materialize in the kitchen. Lasha recalls his first culinary experience: "I went to the seventh grade, when I first cooked Lobio and homemade bread. No one helped me."
He invited his friends over to taste his dish. "They told me that I made it so tasty that even their mum didn’t cook it that well," he adds with a smile. It was then that the idea to become a chef arose.”
His carefree childhood soon ended.
At 15, his father died. It was a huge shock for Lasha. He left his studies and stopped doing sport. To help his mum and sister, he had nothing else left to do, but start working. He got a job at one restaurant where he did the auxiliary work.
Despite that, he never let his dreams die. He still held on to his hopes of becoming a chef in his mind. He didn’t leave it for a chance. In every free moment, he watched the chef over his shoulder, as he prepared the individual dishes. The first meal he learned to cook from him was khinkali.
Lasha didn’t wait for anybody to notice him. He decided to prepare this dish entirely alone. "I wanted to prepare the hinkali without any help. One day, I decided to cook this dish. I invited the supervisor, manager and chef of the restaurant to taste it. I didn’t know what was going to happen," says Lasha.
Everyone agreed that the food was very tasty. "They immediately offered me work in the kitchen," he adds. It began with khinkali and continued with all the dishes of the Georgian cuisine. It did not take long and the word spread out that this restaurant offers excellent dishes.
Offers started to come one after the other.
Soon, the owner of Starý Dukan restaurant appeared at the door. He never came around just like that, and this visit was an unexpected surprise for Lasha. "He offered me a job at his restaurant, which I was happy to accept," Lasha recalls. At this time, he was just 22 years old. Nevertheless, he didn’t take this for granted. His dream of being the best chef never disappeared. He continued to develop and educate himself to become the best he could be.
Time flew by, and he spent four years in Estonia at the Pirosmani Restaurant as a chef. After those four years, life brought him back home, to Georgia, where he opened his restaurant. Then, Estonia pulled him back again and he had to close his restaurant. Eventually, his heart and love for the family lured him to Georgia, where he began to work as a chef at the Qiziyi Restaurant. However, he was still getting offers from different restaurants. "I was tired of this eternal journey, so I decided to stay in Georgia, "says Lasha.
The way to Prague
"One year had passed and I was invited to Prague," explains how he came to the Czech Republic. The beauty of the capital had enchanted him many years ago. In addition, respectable and nice people invited him over. It did not take long before Lasha settled into Prague.
The city of a thousand spires, where tourists gather from every corner of the world, welcomed him with open arms. What else could you wish for? Lasha has only one wish: "Most of all, I wish that all tourists and Czechs taste the real Georgian cuisine that was passed on to me through my father's blood." Our grandmothers already knew that a meal prepared with love is spiced with love and tastes the best. What to say at the end? Perhaps only: "Enjoy the meal, Genacvale!"