I you are hungry and passing through Brčko, make sure to go to ‘Sheher’, a restaurant on the Sava River, well known for top specialties, and this is not surprising at all because well-known lady from Brčko, Ismeta Rejzović, the owner of this unique catering facility on a raft, has a leading role in the kitchen of this Restaurant. She is a true master of her craft, as her colleagues from the Association of Chefs of Bosnia and Herzegovina told us.
The love for cooking she inherited from her mother, who, Ismeta said, was an excellent cook and housewife. Because she was very skillful in the kitchen, Rejzović quickly realized that this would be her profession. Education followed in Belgrade, where she graduated from the culinary school, and then specialized in Rovinj.
Cooking is love
At the age of 24, she returned to her hometown and got her first appointment as a chef in a hotel, and she opened a restaurant on Sava River when she was just 31, a restaurant with a unique ambience, where she prepared and served guests with carefully selected specialties.
-I spent the years of aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina in Germany, and then came back and opened “Sheher”. It is the fulfillment of my dream, to have a restaurant in which I will present to guests what I know best, which is preparation of meals. People quickly recognize skill and quality. My guests recognized this, and they are constantly coming back. Does the cook have bigger and better rewards – Rejzović speaks at the beginning of our conversation.
Before she settled down in her hometown, Ismeta perfected a culinary craft at catering establishments throughout Istria and Dalmatia, followed by Italy, Austria and Germany, working with famous chefs.
During four decades of cooking, she has received numerous awards and honors. Her favorite, as she says, is the second place she got in 1985 as a young chef, competing with her much older colleagues in preparing meals, and the award for the worker of the month and the year. She also mentioned the recognition of the Croatian Inspectorate in Dubrovnik, which she won for the neatest working place.
She reveals that since long time ago she has stopped considering this to be her job.
– Today, after so many years, I’m the happiest when I’m in the kitchen, my little empire in which I discover something new every day, I merge new foods, I make new recipes. For me, cooking is love, art, the world in which I feel best, something without which I cannot imagine life – says Rejzović.
She doesn’t like to separate guests and everyone is equally important. Nevertheless, in many years of work she had the opportunity to prepare meals for numerous celebrities, both from our country and from the world. Among them are the actor Pierce Brosnan, Lepa Brena, Abdulah Sidran …
Although she prefers Mediterranean cuisine, primarily because of its health benefits, Ismeta likes and prepares Bosnian specialties mostly.
-The main characteristic of our traditional cuisine is cooking at lower temperatures and for a long time without a lot of spices and roux. This is, in the end, the recommendation of the nutritionist. We need to be proud of our cuisine, because Bosnian dishes are made of quality food, tasty and prepared with a lot of love. The richness of serving our meals is an enviable cultural heritage that in the future we need to adequately valorize through various presentations to tourists, through gastronomic and thematic events, as well as through a greater offer of our hotels and restaurants. I was at food events where more than 1,000 Bosnian dish were served at one place. It is really a feast for the eyes and palate, when the entire richness of our cuisine is actually best seen – says Rejzović.
Out of the world’s cuisines, she distinguishes French and Chinese. France for sweet delicacies, which, according to Ismeta, is rightfully the first on the international gastronomic scene, and Chinese for the sake of simplicity in creating top-quality flavors with soy sauce.
– Having been involved in this job, I had the opportunity to travel a lot. Most of all, I was fascinated by France and their delicacies, but also Norway, where I tried the Irvas steak, and Kenya, where they served a camel hoof – says Rejzović.