Czech chef continues MIM tradition, brings international expertise to Memphis

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A renowned chef from Czech Republic teamed up with the Peabody Hotel's executive chef to continue a nearly two decades old tradition.

Chef Zdeneck Pohlreich of the Czech Republic felt right at home in the Peabody's kitchen.

"We had a really, really warm welcome here in the kitchen, so it was a really good impression," Pohlreich said.

His team prepared special dinners ahead of the World Championship BBQ Cooking Contest.

"We call it gastro-diplomacy.  It's the chance for Memphians to experience other cultures through their taste buds," Memphis In May Director of Marketing Robert Griffin said.

Each year, Memphis In May teams up with the Peabody Hotel.

"As the South's grand hotel and the official festival of the City of Memphis, this is our opportunity for us to bring an executive chef from one of their best-known chefs in their country to Memphis and pair him with one of the best-known chefs in the south and that's going to be the executive chef of the Peabody," Griffin said.

"Every time we have this Memphis In May, we have a guest chef in our kitchen and we try to accommodate them and help them," Peabody Hotel Executive Chef Andreas Kisler said. "In this case, these guys came in fully prepared so that was a wonderful thing."

Kisler and Pohlreich have eerily similar philosophies on chefdom.

"Chefs should travel, I think, should travel a lot to learn about different approaches, cuisines," Pohlreich said.

"There's no chef in the world that knows everything about cooking, so it's always wonderful to see someone else, see something new, see something that's, you know, different and that's the great part of being a chef," Kisler said.

Pohlreich has his own cooking show and several restaurants in his home country and Europe.

"He's got nine best-selling books, including a book on barbecue," Griffin said.

This year, Pohlreich is even competing in the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest.

"We're going to make ribs, and we're going to make a little burger, which is going to be stuffed with duck meat, and we're going to put some bean ragout next to it, and we hope it works," Pohlreich said.

Pohlreich said it's not about winning the barbecue contest, it's about introducing their view on barbecuing, and to enjoy what the Bluff City has to offer.

"Just thank you for having us.  We're happy to be here," Pohlreich said.

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