Hotel Atlantis

Executive Chef Jakub Fusek: From Professional Hockey to Atlantis Kitchen

14. 5. 2024

At the hotel restaurant of Hotel Atlantis, he serves dishes like venison backstrap with chestnut purée or Coq au vin. Yet, Jakub Fusek, the executive chef of Hotel Atlantis Restaurant since 2023, doesn't shy away from occasionally grabbing a hamburger at McDonald’s. How did the journey of this charismatic chef go from professional hockey to reaching the finals of one of the world's most prestigious culinary competitions? What does he love most about his job, and why does he always keep tweezers tucked in the pocket of his chef's jacket? We sat down with Jakub to get answers to these and other questions.


Become a Professional Again

Though Jakub trained as a chef in his youth, he initially steered clear of the kitchen professionally. “I was working in a factory when a friend offered me a job at a hotel in Austria. Before that, I played professional hockey, and I felt the urge to become a professional in something else again. I dusted off my culinary diploma, gave it a try, and got hooked,” recalls Jakub. In Austria, he started as an assistant chef, washing dishes and preparing salads. Over time, he began to learn and experiment with new ingredients and recipes in his spare time. “The pivotal moment for me was when I served my first dish to guests and anxiously watched their reactions. It was a new, special feeling, and to some extent, adrenaline. That's when I decided: yes, this is what I want to do!” Jakub describes his early days in the kitchen.


Ups and Downs

Thus began his long climb up the culinary ladder. “It was constant trial and error. I searched for cooking courses online, watched YouTube, read books, and tried to mimic better chefs,” lists Jakub. His efforts paid off, and he became a professional chef, gaining experience in kitchens in Austria, Switzerland, and Germany, and also at Prague's Café Savoy and the Four Seasons Hotel. In 2023, he was selected for the national round of the prestigious Bocuse d’Or culinary competition. “In the competition, my team and I prepared a dish with smoked eel, rabbit, and other ingredients, but unfortunately, things didn't go as planned, and we didn't finish in time. Sometimes things just don't work out, even when I initially think it'll be great. Cooking for guests is entirely different than competitions,” says Jakub and confirms that we all make mistakes.


From A to Z in the Kitchen

In 2022, while working as a head chef at another hotel, Jakub heard from colleagues that Hotel Atlantis was looking for a kitchen chef. Intrigued, he prepared a tasting menu, and from the competition, we ultimately chose him. What does he love most about cooking at Hotel Atlantis? “I love the creativity and variety. It ranges from classic menus, fine dining, finger foods, and pastry, to cold dishes... To satisfy the needs of a large hotel resort, I have to know everything about cooking. Every guest is unique and wants something different. I especially enjoy large events for up to 250 people, where I can play with the menu," Jakub says enthusiastically. He most enjoys preparing dishes he's created himself. “When creating new flavour combinations, I give free rein to my imagination, avoiding ordinary classics. Like adding cheddar sauce to a minced meat patty,” Jakub says.


Precision at Work, Simplicity at Home

When visiting Jakub in the kitchen, the observant will notice a long tweezer tucked into his chef's sleeve. What's a chef doing with a tool you'd expect at a beauty salon? “Some dishes contain micro greens or tiny chips, and we use tweezers to place them precisely where they belong. We refine dishes down to the last detail, where even a millimetre matters,” explains the chef. And what about cooking at home? “At home, I cook simply. Usually, I prepare dinners since I'm not home earlier. Like cream of wheat, spaghetti Aglio e Olio, sweet curd cheese...,” he shares. His favourite dishes are Czech classics: roast sirloin in sour cream sauce or potato dumplings with bryndza cheese. “These are classics I never refuse. And I'll happily grab a burger at McDonald’s or KFC," Jakub laughs.


A Chef's Dream

Jakub's vision for the future is clear. He wants to elevate the kitchen at Atlantis Hotel even further. “I want us to be the best and be renowned in Brno and the entire region. We're planning a comprehensive renovation of the hotel restaurant and aim to continually elevate the quality of catering. I already send chefs from my team to Michelin-starred restaurants, to gain new experiences and bring back fresh inspiration,” the head chef shares. The pinnacle of his career would be earning a Michelin star. “That's every chef's dream. To be successful, have satisfied employees, a crowded restaurant that's the talk of the town, and happy customers,” Jakub dreams with a smile. And we can't wait to see his plans become reality!


Come and taste our exceptional seasonal menu prepared by chef Jakub Fusek!

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