Martin Zahumensky, ex Urban Coterie Head Chef

The Staff Canteen

Martin Zahumensky discusses his role as Chef (ex Urban Coterie head) at Currently travelling around Europe doing pop-up dinners and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Martin Zahumensky

Martin Zahumensky

Place of work: Currently travelling around Europe doing pop-up dinners.

Role: Chef (ex Urban Coterie head)

Bio: He moved to the UK from Slovakia with the goal to improve his English and experience a new culture. Over the years he has worked for a number of Michelin-starred chefs. Most recently he was the head chef at Anthony Demetre’s Urban Coterie.

After leaving and being a judge in Masterchef Slovakia, he travelled to Bratislava, Prague and Belgium doing pop-up dinners. In May Martin will be filming a foodie documentary with national Slovakian TV.

Follow Martin Zahumensky on Twitter: @maza_marty

Chef Skills

Martin Zahumensky takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How did you get into cooking?

My mum is a professional cook and still behind the stove so it came naturally to me and since I was a little boy I was always around her in the kitchen.

Do you think there was enough advice available when you were starting out?

That's a tricky question, to be honest. I learned a bit from mum and then I was studying as a chef for three years. Straight afterwards I went to the army to do my national service for a year and then started working in the best hotel in Bratislava.

If I'm looking back, the structure and quality of education weren't that good as these days. Now it's much better quality and the standards, in general, are much higher than it used to be, but that's kind of natural improvement. I have done some education at London as well in West London University course Culinary Arts kitchen and larder level 4-5 which helped me understand very specific subjects like microbiology, for example.

What do you like most about your job?

For me it's not just a job, it's a passion or kind of lifestyle which I'm surrounded with all the time. I have been working in loads of different environments from hotels, members club to Michelin starred restaurants and it's fascinating how you can learn and improve all the time.

What would you advise someone looking to follow in your footsteps?

Definitely, straight after studying find a restaurant or hotel where there are high standards of cooking and organisation of kitchen in general and stick with the chef for first few years. When you are young you need to be mentored by someone who can show you the way to go forward.

Don't waste time with places which can bring you nothing. Always analyse what will be beneficial for you in the long run even at the moment you may think it's hard. Nothing comes easy and we have to learn only one way and that's the one.

If you could go back and do anything differently, would you?

Yes of course. I shouldn't waste my time in restaurants where I couldn't learn anything or the quality of them wasn't so good. Time flies so choose carefully where you want to go before you do so.

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd December 2016

Martin Zahumensky, ex Urban Coterie Head Chef