World Chefs: Ex-Nobu chef takes Asian fusion to Prague

Tue May 31, 2011 6:08am EDT
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PRAGUE (Reuters Life!) - Paul Day got his start working as butcher in London's Chinatown before rising to sous chef at the city's Michelin-starred Nobu restaurant.

Now he's taken his Asian-influenced cooking to Prague, where a number of young chefs are remaking the city's culinary landscape which has long been associated with Central European stodgy fare rather than cutting-edge cuisine.

The 42-year-old Day, who worked at two Michelin-starred restaurants in London and does all his own butchering, opened Sansho three months ago and has been cooking for full houses ever since.

Day talked to Reuters about how he got his start, his approach to cooking and Prague's changing restaurant scene.

Q: Why the move from London to Prague?

A: The use and abuse of circumstance has a lot to do with it. I really love Prague. I used to be a butcher and I am interested and hoping to reinstate the lost art of butchering in the Czech Republic, which was completely wiped out during Communism.

The changing food scene here is also extremely exciting. It has had an awful reputation in the past but now I think Czech people are proud of what is going on in Prague. There are lots of really good new restaurants opening.

Q: How difficult is it to find the right ingredients here?

A: I am blessed with a huge Vietnamese population here. There is a plane that comes in straight from Hanoi City twice a week so I get really fresh herbs and spices and all kinds of things. I just sourced a really good fish from Vietnam, which I could never get in London's Chinatown. It makes a big difference in the fresh dressings that we use.   Continued...