He cooked for Presidents!

He’s cooked for Presidents Clinton and Obama, for singers like Gloria Estefan, for athletes and other celebrities. Now Chef Miroslav Dušek of Nové Hrady, our “Newcastle” in the Czech Republic, has a book to tell his stories.

The book of his recipes and life stories was due to be launched at the Gastro Festival in the South Bohemian capital České Budějovice this Spring, but this was cancelled because of Covid-19. So it was published first electronically as an e-book. For more information contact chefmiroslav@gmail.com, and see his Facebook page @restauraceumiry

Part of the proceeds from the book will go to the Štastná Hvězda (“Happy Star”) Foundation, to support children with cerebral palsy. The Foundation is currently helping families and children with this financial and emotional burden. Miroslav himself overcame polio at the age of three.

Miroslav’s book has been well received in the Czech gastronomic world – Miroslav Kubec, President of the Association of Chefs and Confectioners of the Czech Republic, said: “Chef Miroslav Dušek, who cooked for both ordinary people and mobsters or celebrities, and even two American presidents, describes his more than forty-year stay abroad with humour and foresight. Above all, however, his words and sentences radiate enthusiasm for a beautiful field – gastronomy.”

Chef Miroslav was one of the host team for the Newcastles of the World conference in Nové Hrady in 2014 and formerly had a restaurant inside the conference venue, the 200 year-old Chateau Buquoy – the “new castle” of the town. Now, with his partner Marcela he has the excellent Restaurace U Míry on the town’s main square.

Miroslav left what was then Czechoslovakia at the age of 17, for the first two years in Zurich, Switzerland where he began working as an assistant to a fashion photographer. But he wanted see the world. “When I left for New York, I had an armful of letters of recommendation, but to succeed in New York as a photographer is not easy, so I went back to what I knew best from my father. I had worked with dad in restaurants and cafeterias – he loved cooking and taught me many things. So I started looking for work in kitchens”.

“I later went to Florida – I was a culinary adventurer. For ten years I worked in the best catering company in Miami, which had an excellent reputation. We cooked for US presidents Clinton and Obama, famous basketball players, also for singer Gloria Estefan. I learned to cook dishes from many different countries”

What brought him back to the Czech Republic? “I was in retirement in America. I did not think there would be more work – I was going to pick mushrooms and fish. But now I have a new family and the temptation to have my own restaurant was too strong!”

Make sure you visit beautiful South Bohemia one day, and head for Nové Hrady and Bistro Míry. We’re sure you’ll enjoy the food that Miroslav will prepare for you – and his stories too!

“Taking coals to Newcastle”

Coal mining – past and (still) present for some – is a common heritage of many of our Newcastles  in the English-speaking world.  This short paper covers the story of coal mining in Newcastles in the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, the USA and Canada.

Taking Coals to – and from – Newcastles