In Conversation with Chef Lumir Tousek of Suesey Street

Chef Lumir Touesk

Brasserie Le Pont was a much loved and acclaimed restaurant on the corner of Fitzwilliam Place and Leeson Street. In recent months it has been totally reburbished and reincarnated as Suesey Street, a name taken from the original name for Leeson Street in the 1700s. The transformation from brasserie to a more informal, relaxed eatery has been done without compromising on the standard of food, a transition that was made possible by a shining star in the kitchen, Head chef Lumir Tousek.

Lumir, formerly of l’Ecrivain, has created a menu of  contemporary European cuisine that has already gained fans and favour in the Dublin dining scene. Using imagination, technical skill and complexity Lumir produces dishes that encapsulate the flavours of the season, the very best Irish ingredients and that come close to art on the plate.

We chatted with Lumir about how his father inspires him, the importance his kitchen team and his love of foraging, and the odd kebab …

What inspired you to cook at the beginning of your career?
My father is actually a chef too so cooking was always part of my life. He travelled extensively around the world with his career, across Europe and to the US. Even though he’s retired now we still cook together and I always enjoy it.

Food at Suesey Street is described as modern European cuisine, how would you describe your style of cooking?
We have seven chefs in the Suesey Street kitchen, all from different backgrounds, so it combines everyone’s various influences. It’s original and the dishes are unique. I like to draw on all the talent in the kitchen.

If you had to pick one dish off your current menu which you are most proud of which one is it and why?
Off the current menu it is the venison dish, it’s so in season right now. Generally I don’t have favourites though as the menu changes so often and I’m always thinking ahead.

Do you have a favourite cooking technique?
Not one in particular, in the kitchen we sit down and talk and decide together what to cook and how.

What other chefs and restaurants inspire you?
My dad has always been an inspiration to me and I was very fortunate to have had my first head chef experience at l’Ecrivain. My wife is also a great cook!

How important are awards and accolades to you, having previously worked in Michelin Star restaurants?
Awards are fine, and of course the recognition is appreciated, but my family and a happy life are more important to me.

What keeps you motivated now?
My team keeps me motivated and always trying to improve.

What is your favourite ingredient to use?
Fresh, seasonal ingredients. I love foraging for interesting things and some of my recent hauls have included rosehips, nettles and blackberries. Sea buckthorn is another ingredient I gathered lately, on Bull Island. The challenge is always to use these components in an interesting way, one which brings out the best of them.

Can you describe a particularly memorable dining experience you have had?
The dining experience at Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan was very special. Daniel Humm is the head chef there. It’s often described at the best restaurant in America and serves seasonal ingredients in the most amazing ways.

Who would you most love to cook for?
Happy people who enjoy food.

What is your food guilty pleasure or comfort food?
I like a good kebab and maybe on a rare occasion a KFC.

Is there anything in your fridge that might surprise us?
The above mentioned Sea buckthorn berries!

Do you have any advice for young chefs staring out?
Get a job in a good place, have passion and don’t think about the money (or lack of!) for the first few years. Hard work will pay off.

How about words of wisdom for a keen home cook?
It’s all about passion.

What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
Perhaps an organic farmer.

Are there any food trends you won’t be sorry to say goodbye to?
Food is like fashion, trends come and go, it’s constantly evolving.

How has food in Ireland changed in the last few years?
The standard of food in Ireland has improved massively over the past 10 years. When I arrived here, about that long ago, I was so disappointed at what was on offer.

What has been your proudest moment in your career?
I never think about being proud on a personal level; I’m proud of my team.

What are your hopes for the future?
To continue cooking great food with my team at Suesey Street. It’s a new restaurant so we want to strive for imaginative and creative dishes. I hope that people like what we are doing in the kitchen and keep coming back for more.

For more information on Suesey Street visit www.sueseystreet.ie

ARTICLE BY ERICA BRACKEN

Erica BrackenErica grew up with a baker and confectioner for a father, and a mother with an instinct and love for good food. It is little wonder then that, after a brief dalliance with law, she completed a Masters degree in Food Business at UCC. With a consuming passion for all things food, nutrition and wellness, working with TheTaste is a perfect fit for Erica; allowing her to learn and experience every aspect of the food world meeting its characters and influencers along the way.

Erica Bracken  Erica Bracken

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