Bosnian woman on the MasterChef Slovenia team: Alma Rekić teaches Slovenians how to cook

Alma Rekić

She is not only a chef, an organizer, a gastronomic judge in her life, she enjoys the lead role of wife and mother! Cooking had been a passion for her since she was a kid, and she knew that it would somehow make direction to her life. She is versatile and is involved in humanitarian work, even in politics where she is also successful. Cooking was a passion for her from a young age.

Parents Bajro and Namka Rekić are, of course, Bosnians, Alma too, but she is a Slovenian too. And very much appreciated as well. Her father is from Fajtovac near Sanski Most, and her mother from Krasulj near Ključ.

Numerous recognitions

– The war did its thing, so the father left the house in his home village to his sister. Over the years, the opportunity to buy a second home in Prijedor has emerged, where they stay often since he retired. And I and two sisters were born in Slovenia. Jesenice has many people from all countries of the former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnia. All these people came to work at the Jesenice Ironworks. They settled here, and their descendants, including myself, became Slovenians – at the beginning of our conversation said Alma Rekić, one of the most famous cooks from Slovenia.

As a girl, Alma knew what her profession would be. She enrolled in a secondary school for catering and tourism and later graduated as an organizer of food and drinks.

– Cooking has always been interesting to me and I am one of the few women who can say that cooking is in my blood. From a young age, I experimented in the kitchen while my parents were at work. Although we were little, they had to leave us alone for a while. I used the opportunity as the oldest sister to be in charge, and I cooked. On one occasion I burned oil and the carpet was all stained, and a flat full of smoke. Out of embarrassment and fear what neighbors would say if I opened windows and doors when they saw smoke, I didn’t even open it. My sisters were blue, and the mother arrived at the last moment to save us. These were interesting cooking attempts – says a strict judge at Masterchef Slovenia today.

She is a great organizer and believes in good work organization.

– My job is a pleasure. I gladly accept the challenges and gain new experiences. So I started going to cooking competitions, received numerous awards, and thus joined the national cooking team of Slovenia, with which I have competed in domestic, international, world competitions and at the Culinary Olympics. Each year brought new experiences and friendships, especially since I was a judge, an internationally licensed Wacs judge. I still do that today. I have met many friends with whom I still enjoy working. In addition, I organized a series of trainings, helped anyone who wanted to gain some knowledge in culinary arts – she says.

Recognition and awards brought her to television, and for three years she was chief judge at Masterchef Slovenia.

– I am still being referred to as a dangerous judge of the show, but it’s not quite so. True, one must always say the opinion on the candidate’s food in a fine way, and so I say it. In most cases, chefs do not want to hear an honest opinion about the food they have made. I find it difficult that in most countries of the former Yugoslavia chefs share some kind of ribbons, accolades, titles, although many of them do not know with what kind of work they deserved this. The most important thing to know is that the biggest reward is work and only work, which makes chefs better and make them prosper – she points out.

Famme fatale

How did the media influence her election as Fatal Woman of Slovenia?

– Three years ago I was nominated and took the title Famme fatale of Slovenia 2016. I also work a lot with schools and craft centers in Slovenia. I set the rules for the Euroskills competition – she says.

The versatile Bosnian woman is also very present in the political life of Slovenia.

– Politics entered my life quite unexpectedly. I am in my second term as a municipal councilor. I also ran for Mayor of Jesenice and had a very good result. I was a candidate on the list even for the EU Parliament. I became interested in politics because I wanted to change the situation in Jesenice. I am known in Slovenia as a sharp-tongued woman of firm attitude and stubbornness. Today, as a woman, I have my own coalition, which is getting bigger and bigger and we are achieving good results. I have a feeling that the Mayor doesn’t like me very much, but it doesn’t matter – she says.

She loves Bosnian cuisine, but rarely makes it in restaurants. Mostly it is reserved for family gatherings.

– I cook some of the traditional Bosnian dishes, but I admit it is rare. I’m happy to do this for my family. Sometimes I make a pie, I convince myself that it is good, but the best one is that my mother makes for me. It’s just food for my soul. But that is why we always take the opportunity to treat ourselves when we come to BiH. We eat and enjoy traditional dishes – she points out.

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