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IWC Schaffhausen

The Journal

Against the Grain

Against the Grain
Read Time: 3 min

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MEET IWC BRAND AMBASSADOR AND ZURICH-NATIVE STAR CHEF NENAD MLINAREVIC. FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HIS LATEST PROJECTS AT ZURICH MAIN STATION AND WHY HE VALUES TEAM SPIRIT ABOVE ALL

Nenad Mlinarevic cooking in his kitchen in Zurich

Nenad Mlinarevic’s charisma could be due to his rock star persona or the passion for culinary innovation he pursues in his latest restaurants “Brasserie Süd” and “The Counter” at Zurich Main Station. And yet it is the genuine modesty with which he approaches you that will win you over. At first glance, this seems in stark contrast to the boundless ambition that has earned this master chef several Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points to date. Born in Zurich, he set up his first own business a few years ago – and has since opened one successful restaurant after another. His guests praise his imaginative cuisine, which is never forced, always light-hearted and relaxed. Following his intuition, Nenad celebrates in his cuisine what characterizes his life: contrasts.

 

The JOURNAL spoke to the IWC Brand Ambassador about his latest projects, team spirit, the pleasure of eating together, and his reputation for going against the grain.  For Nenad, this is a matter of principle

Chef Nenad Mlinarevic wearing the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ref. IW389401
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Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN

IW389401

Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN

€ 9.800

Ceramic case, Automatic winding. Black dial with luminescence, Black rubber strap with EasX-CHANGE system, Strap width 20.0 mm.

Made in Switzerland

— Chef Nenad Mlinarevic wearing the Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ref. IW389401

 

 

EXPLORING THE WORLD WITH OPEN EYES

   

What dish has really knocked you off your feet recently?

   

I was just in New York at my colleague Max Natmessnig’s restaurant, “Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare”, where he recently became head chef. There were a lot of excellent dishes there, but I was really impressed by the combination of tuna, jalapeños, and finger limes.

   

How do you go about creating a new dish?

   

Inspiration is often misunderstood. There is no direct route from A to B in which I see or taste something and then make something out of it. I simply explore the world with open eyes and take in a lot of things, and in most cases, this happens subconsciously. When it comes to creating a new dish, all kinds of ideas can be incorporated: Colors, spices, products, tableware, and even moods. But too much inspiration can also be dangerous, as it can alter your unique style.

   

Going against the grain is something I’ve been doing for a long time, almost out of principle. […] Being true to myself is one of the most important things for me - both personally and professionally

   

 

   

THE PLAYER-MANAGER

   

What qualities do you most look for in your team?

   

The team is the result of its individual parts, and each person brings different unique qualities to the table. We work with a lot of young, talented, committed, and exceptional people in our restaurants. I appreciate the fact that they can contribute their own strengths and, at the same time, don’t lose sight of the overall goals - in other words, the kind of urban, relaxed, and quality-oriented gastronomy that we envision and stand for.

   

What is important to you when managing your team?

   

I see myself as a player-manager and lead by example. There’s no work I’m too good for, and I ensure that we really work as a team. That’s why we also organize team events, internal training sessions, or go cycling together. I’ve seen people working against each other in kitchens, and I can't tolerate that. Anyone who doesn't cooperate with me is in the wrong place, and I’m consistent about that.

   

When did you first and last consciously go against the grain?

   

Going against the grain is something I’ve been doing for a long time, almost out of principle. If I’m not convinced of something, I don't do it, even if I might sometimes offend someone. But being true to myself is one of the most important things for me - both personally and professionally.

   

The star chef cooked a special meal for the IWC Journal in his new home’s kitchen

— The star chef cooked a special meal for the IWC Journal in his new home’s kitchen

 

Nenad Mlinarevic wearing the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 Ref. IW328901
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Ingenieur Automatic 40

IW328901

Ingenieur Automatic 40

€ 13.000

Stainless steel case, Automatic winding. Black dial with luminescence, Stainless steel bracelet, Strap width 14.0 mm.

Made in Switzerland

— Nenad Mlinarevic wearing the IWC Ingenieur Automatic 40 Ref. IW328901 

 

The “Swiss Chef of the Year 2016” has received two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points

— The “Swiss Chef of the Year 2016” has received two Michelin stars and 18 Gault Millau points

 

Nenad’s preferred timepiece while preparing meals: The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ref. IW389401

— Nenad’s preferred timepiece while preparing meals: The Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN Ref. IW389401

 

 

   

INNOVATIVE CULINARY APPROACH

   

Looking back over the last 5-10 years, what are you most grateful for?

I’m proud that my business partner Valentin Diem and I have succeeded in establishing a new type of gastronomy in Zurich through our establishments. In doing so, we certainly went against the grain, and it worked ...

   

The Holiday season is just around the corner. What do family dinners mean to you?

   

Sitting around the table with others – whether with my partner, family, or friends – is something I don’t often have time for. But I’m always delighted when I can. However, I prefer small, intimate gatherings rather than large dinner parties.

   

What’s your favorite recipe?

   

My favorite recipe is always the one I’m actively working on at any given time.

   

   

A BRASSERIE AT ZURICH MAIN STATION

   

What made you decide to open a restaurant in Zurich’s main railway station?

   

The opportunity presented itself when we submitted our project to the Swiss Federal Railways company. We were convinced that we could introduce a new type of cuisine to this historic location with our concept of high-quality artisanal food and drink. And fortunately, we were granted the contract.

   

What's next for you?

   

We are opening our biggest project to date at the beginning of December with “Brasserie Süd” at Zurich main station and the gourmet restaurant “The Counter”. This has taken up a lot of my time over the last few weeks and will continue to keep me busy in the coming months.

   

Nenad Mlinarevic follows the motto “Only dead fish go with the flow”
Close

Pilot’s Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN

IW389401

Pilot's Watch Chronograph 41 TOP GUN

€ 9.800

Ceramic case, Automatic winding. Black dial with luminescence, Black rubber strap with EasX-CHANGE system, Strap width 20.0 mm.

Made in Switzerland

— Nenad Mlinarevic follows the motto “Only dead fish go with the flow”

 

@brasseriesued.zurich opens on December 4, @thecounter.zurich on December 8, 2023.

 

Listen in on Nenad’s favorite playlist on Spotify. 

 

 

 

IWC Schaffhausen