Flash-grilled: Spasia Dinkovski

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Mystic Burek chef founder Spasia Dinkovski on her career and debut cookbook Doma

Related tags Spasia Dinkovski Chef bakery London Cookbook

The chef behind Balkan bakery Mystic Burek in London's Sydenham, who's publishing her debut cookbook, Doma, this week, reveals her signature dish and chats about her first industry job.

What was your first industry job?
I worked at a Turkish restaurant and kebab shop in my home town of Crawley at 17.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Work outdoors, get some fresh air.

What industry figure do you most admire, and why?
My best pal Caitlin Isola. She’s an incredible food photographer and her creativity knows no bounds - she also shot the images for my upcoming book, Doma​.

What’s your pet hate in the kitchen?
Smoking in aprons.

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
‘’Which one’s YOUR favourite?’’ - funnily enough, all of them.

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…
Second generation Balkan cooking.

What’s the worst review you’ve ever had?
No bad reviews yet!

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Drink less coffee and don’t eat after your evening shift.

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
My nan’s whisk.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
A New York bodega bacon, egg and cheese sandwich and a packet of dill pickle crisps, with a giant cup of tea on the side.

À la carte or tasting menu?
Bring me whatever is good.

What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in a restaurant?
Any time I eat at The Plimsoll in Finsbury Park.

What’s your favourite fast food joint?
Oki - a burek shop in Skopje, North Macedonia.

What’s the dish you wish you’d thought of?
Soft serve ice cream, what an invention.

MasterChef or Great British Menu?
I don’t really watch TV, I’d prefer some original British kitchen nightmares.

What’s the most overrated food?

You’re restaurant dictator for a day – what would you ban?
Over-priced small plates. Over-pricing in general.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
Cher, Missy Elliott, Dawn Fresh, Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Going through a phase of only wanting to eat a giant plate of sliced tomatoes and salt, occasionally a boiled egg on there.

X or Instagram?
I don’t use X. If I didn’t have a business I’d happily also live without Instagram.

What’s the closest you’ve ever come to death?
Choking on a hot dog at an eating competition.

Where do you go when you want to let your hair down?
The pub.

What’s your tipple of choice?

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Red wine with chips and mayonnaise.

What do you consider to be your signature dish?
Burek and my sour cherry baklava sundae.

Spasia Dinkovski's debut cookbook, Doma: Traditional Flavours and Modern Recipes from the Balkan Diaspora, will be published Thursday 4 April by DK. For more information, click here​.

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