A hot and steamy Hungarian dish at the cold and frosty peak of the world
Now not too many people who make it to the North Pole expect to be served hot chicken paprika. But that's what happened last month when Hungarian Gabor Turoczi cooked for his expedition. In fact, it was his great ambition to cook a Hungarian national dish at the North Pole. His club, the Lucullus Fraternity, aims to promote Hungarian gastronomy and culture around the world. Sandor Laczko of Radio Budapest asked Gabor Turoczi about his 'chicken lickin' trip to the North Pole:
"Well, we had several goals during this nine day trip on the ice towards the North Pole. The main point was that we wanted to demonstrate that Hungarians can take their cultural identity with them and demonstrate that a Hungarian meal can be cooked on the top of the world. We wanted to demonstrate that Hungarian culture should be situated very high in the world. As far as I know, no one has ever cooked like this in the North Pole.
"Our next goal was to promote our culture around the whole country. We wanted to tell all Hungarians that they should be proud of their cultural heritage and their gastronomy. While I was walking to the North Pole, there were about three or four interviews per day that I recorded with commercial TV channels, the radio, and internet servers. This was the second goal. And, of course, it has been an old dream of mine to get to the peak of the world."
Who did you go on this trip with?
"It was a twelve-person expedition. I was the only Hungarian. There were a number of Russians, a German man, an Irish man, an Englishman, a Swiss lady, and a Dutch millionaire. So, it was a very international team."
The Russians you mentioned were professional explorers...
"Yes, we had two professional guides and this was the fortieth time that they had reached the North Pole. They are one of the most famous guides for the Arctic."
On the North Pole, you had the Hungarian flag and cooked paprika chicken. Why paprika chicken, is it the symbol of Hungarian cuisine?
"Yes. It's very interesting because before the trip, I asked about 20 foreign chefs who work in Hungary, what is the meal that represents Hungary the most and about 18 of them said that paprika chicken is the most authentic Hungarian dish. It was also not so difficult to prepare on the North Pole. The other options like stuffed cabbage, for example, would have been much more difficult to make."
Gabor Turoczi's next culinary quest is to cook chicken paprika in the middle of the Sahara Desert and, in case that's not hot enough - in the thermal water of a "live" volcano in the far east of Russia.