Slovenia’s first TV star chef honoured with exhibition

Radovljica/Brežice – An exhibition honouring Ivan Ivačič, the first Slovenian TV star chef, to mark 100 years since his birth will open in Radovljica on Thursday, as Slovenia holds the title of the European Region of Gastronomy this year.

The display is a collaboration of Brežice in the Posavje region in the east, where Ivačič was born in 1921, and Radovljivca in the north-west, where he died in 1984.

It gives visitors an insight into Ivačič’s first TV shows from the 1960s, when he used to present delicious dishes with humour.

They will also learn more about the mastery of the chef who prepared food around Slovenia and in some of the best restaurants in Europe.

After WWII, Ivačič gained experience in various towns around Slovenia and often prepared meals for former Yugoslav leader Josip Broz – Tito and his high-profile visits at Brdo pri Kranju, and in Croatia’s Brijuni Islands.

He taught cooking in Ljubljana, took part in development of food production technologies in several food companies, including for popular mayonnaise Thomy.

In 1965 he published his first cook book, which has been reprinted ten times already.

Alenka Černelič Krošelj, the director of the Posavje Museum from Brežice, said his story not only connected Brežice and Radovljica but entire Slovenia.

“Ivačič was an all-Slovenian star. He has been forgotten for too long and it’s right to honour his legacy, even if some of the trends he participated in are no longer in,” she said, referring to his frequent use of cream in various dishes.

While the Posavje Museum moved its exhibition on Ivačič to Radovljica until the end of 2021, Ivačič’s legacy is currently on display there as part of a comprehensive exhibition on food in Posavje. Both exhibitions also feature items Ivačič’s son has donated to the museum.

The Posavje Museum put up its exhibition already in March, with the Radovljica Municipal Museums contributing their share now as they only start properly researching Ivačič’s legacy. Radovljica has also urged locals to contribute their memories of the legendary chef.

The joint exhibition is the first in a series of 20 events the association of Slovenian historical towns has designed to attract culture aficionados and foodies.