When people think of food in Prague, they most often think of Czech goulash – chunks of beef heavily laden with gravy, served up in a bowl of thick, course bread.
But Sophia Smith has been working hard to change that perception. A British expat who moved to Prague sixteen years ago, Sophia brings a lighter, healthier, eye-appealing Asian spin to the meals she serves.
“It’s a bit easier to be a head chef in Prague now,” Sophia says. “The locals have gotten very sophisticated, now that they travel more.”
That was then….
Freedom to travel and ability to discover and incorporate new cuisines are relatively new to Prague, the capital and largest city in the Czech Republic. Up until 1990, the country was still part of the Soviet bloc. Beginning in 1989, they peacefully deposed the controlling government in what is known as “the Velvet Revolution.” and in 1993 Czechoslovakia dissolved into the two Central European sovereign states of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Sophia describes her early days in Prague as a “gastronomic desert.” She noticed that there were a lot of expats, swarming around with money. There was great excitement when a new eatery opened because it had been so difficult to get a good food.
Not classically trained as a chef, Sophia has a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, but she saw a need and niche opportunity in the city. She began her transition by running a café at the British Council which served homemade meals and baked goods.
“Prague people were very curious about food. I’d offer to make carrot cake, and they would be like ‘What? Cake with carrots?’ and wrinkle their noses,” Sophia said with a wry smile. “Now they’re clamoring for it, and cheesecake and red velvet, so it’s changed a lot.”
Read full article How One Chef is Revolutionizing Prague’s Cuisine in Epicure and Culture.