12 Mar ART-723 -An interview with the well-known Polish food critic Maciej Blatkiewicz
A few days ago I had the opportunity to interview Maciej Blatkiewicz, a well-known food critic in Poland, the owner of a popular YouTube channel (292,000 subscribers as of March 13, 2023) which has existed since 2016.
The purpose of the conversation was to find the relationship between the habits learned from the family home and pushing one’s own habitual boundaries during several years of professional work directly related to food testing. I also wanted to find out how Maciej opened up to new flavors, and whether his choices and eating habits have changed. What did he pay attention to when buying food and how it looks now. What determined certain choices in the past and now after 7 years of professionally running a travel-culinary-critical program.
7 years ago, Blatkiewicz, while still a student, started his program by testing cheap fast-food bars on a budget of a modest student. The popularity of these films led him to pursue them professionally, combining his program with his love of travel. Over these 7 years, in addition to cheap budget bars, better and better restaurants (including those awarded with Michelin stars) began to appear.
During this conversation, Maciej told me that he learned the flavors, and became more open to new flavors. He also became an inspiration, for example, for his parents and friends. At the very beginning, the main element of the election was the economic factor and the fascination with unhealthy fast food. However, visiting professional places that put the main emphasis on product quality and good taste, he very quickly understood and appreciated the difference between cheap food and a good, valuable product. He also said that good taste must be learned, that it is a process to which one must be open and experienced in order to understand the difference.
Here is the transcript form the interview
@ Subtitles generated with Happy Scribe
Maybe for starters
I would very much appreciate a few words
to introduce what you do for a living.
is. Maciej Blatkiewicz.
I run the YouTub channel Maciej Je.
I also previously blogged first
under this, later under this title, and
before that under another,
and a channel on YouTube.
And this blog focused on
food, primarily eating out.
That’s what I call it and that’s
a very broad term, because they are both
restaurants, cheap restaurants
Restaurants, cheaper bars,
but also some street food.
In general, all that
In the city, not necessarily only in my
city you can eat, because just not only
in my city, as there is also a large
travel thread on the channel on YouTube.
My wife and I drive a lot
Across Poland, across Europe, across
the world, wherever it carries us.
And let’s start at the beginning then.
What kind of eating habits prevailed in
your home when you were a young boy?
What family did you stand
in when it came to food?
As for the food, it was that rather meals.
It was consumed quickly,
it was eaten quickly
prepared, although it was
always eaten at the table.
It was not as it sometimes is in other
areas that one does not do, for example.
In solitude or somewhere
in front of the TV.
Although ok, there was a
table and there was a TV too.
But at the table always
this, I think, is worth emphasizing
that always what happened at the table.
But yes the meals were prepared rather
quickly due to the fact that my
The parents worked a lot and there
just wasn’t that much time for it.
It is known that the
weekend could be that time
sacrifice more, but during the week it
was always something prepared quickly.
They were never some unknown
rarities, rather such simple food,
our cuisine, native, Polish, but also
Something that can be made
quickly, i.e. some pasta such as.
very often also such cuisine, which
resulted a little from the circumstances.
And who were your
grandparents and parents?
By this I mean social and economic status.
For the times, my parents were
in that middle-income group,
albeit it was such an
average earner for the
Polish conditions, that is, as if
we have never starved if about this
walks, but we also never
lived in any luxuries.
For vacations, you had to
specially set aside money, etc.
I treat it as such a status.
Let’s say middle class, but in
this sense of Poland in the 1990s.
Also add very please what your
parents did for a living.
yes yes yes
My mother is a speech therapist,
works in education, psychological
and pedagogical counseling center
and has been working there for as long as
I can remember and I think
almost always after graduation.
My dad, on the other hand, is an IT
specialist, and no in the days of the
I grew up, he worked for such a company,
which was not located in our village.
I am from Gorzow Wielkopolski, had to
commute about a hundred kilometers
and, as an IT specialist, dealt with.
He worked as an IT specialist, but worked
in a feed plant, animal
feed.That is, employees
That’s how white-collar workers and that’s
how my grandparents can also be described.
Everyone did something different, but they
tended to be white-collar, office workers.
The education of the grandparents
differed, as only
grandfather one had higher
education, although all had
white-collar jobs rather .
Now tell me what mainly determined
early in your adult and professional life
about the choices of places you ate at.
Except for the reviews on TripAdvisor,
because that came up later,
But what was it? Was it cash?
Referral of friends perhaps attract
some smell or a nice interior, or perhaps
the cleanliness of some
premises in particular
Did she influence it? Here we
are talking about adult life?
Are you still in your student
days, or already out of college?
The moment you left the house and
You had to take care of
nourishing your body yourself.
That’s if it’s about in the
beginning, in the study it
definitely the cash. Because
this budget was not big and
If I ate something in the city it was
rather something cheap for little money.
Of course, it also had
to be something that
say is close to my culinary
tastes at the time.
That is, it was some such Italian
cuisine, broadly defined or
some such thing, something I knew from
television, American cuisine, that is.
Some burgers, some kind of fast food,
street food, but in such a way quite.
And this and this was at the beginning
itself, when it still did not
I wasn’t making my money while maintenance
was still dangling in front of me.
I no longer lived and lived in my family
home and this budget was smaller.
Later, once I started earning and
also developing my passion for food,
As well as the development of my
professional career, what I decided,
for such places that were, one might
say on the one hand fashionable,
But on the other hand, they were also
modern, because they were
also often new places.
In the beginning, I visited a
lot, mostly new places. Such,
Which (I lived in Poznan at the time) and
such that existed, I do
not know for 10 15 years.
Although there were good reviews
circulating about them that it was
friends recommended them, well
they didn’t exactly attract me.
I have always been attracted to such
A slightly more modern visual
identity for these places.
Also it’s like These places very often
At the time, they communicated
primarily on Facebook.
This was the time when Facebook started
become popular and also
restaurants appeared on Facebook.
And it is precisely such places popular on
Facebook that I remember to begin with.
were very attracted to each other, and
that’s kind of where it all started.
And then it developed in such
a way that I just looked for
good places that are considered
good somewhere. Some friends
There were people there who also
have similar interests to me, ie.
just related to food and a
particular place they recommended.
Well, and that’s what it was all
based on all the time. That’s what it
all the time bases that
I primarily visit these
Places I’ve heard good things
about. On this principle and which
through their promotion just on
social media can interest me.
I’m talking about places, of course, that
I don’t have under my house,
only I would have to make them
somehow specifically look for, But these
are such two factors, namely opinions
People who are less well known and
unknown, but whose opinions I value
and how these sites are able to reach
out to potential visitors in the
And yet, as we are just
at this type of election.
At a time when just
were you starting to manage
your economic budget, or
you were open to new flavors,
without risking, for example.
That: and I will spend money and be
dissatisfied, or you
reached for something new,
Or did you rather try to buy something
to eat that you already know?
I happened to reach for something new,
albeit to a much lesser extent than
now, however, because that
risk was much higher.
Spending an amount of money on food that
may not necessarily taste
good to me because it
will be something, something new,
not necessarily to my taste.
It’s also unclear whether it will turn out
to be so bad that I
won’t be able to eat it.
Well, because it can also happen.
So that I was certainly more careful in
their choices and also for suchAs if
money, for such experiments, was a
a little separate budget
than for such daily food.
That is, it can be said that it was rather
In terms of that money, it
was more like this part
budget for entertainment, for your
passions yes, and not for the
Such everyday, everyday
life and everyday food.
This I also limited a little in my
head so that this budget clips
at the end of the month.
And was there any reluctance to try
food you are not familiar with?
Do you know where your boundary is?
Will you try things that you never in
life you have not eaten before, and are in
some way in some
controversial for example.
Some insects, some grasshoppers
or frog legs, well frog legs.
I know that you acutely tried because I
watched, I know that you tried, but
everyone has some certain limits and knows
Certainly that certain things
he will definitely not try.
Do you have something like this?
Yes, yes, I have such boundaries,
although I think they are much
more far-fetched than in the average
person, because they don’t
have a problem with the
eating just worms or some such dishes, or
Zoonotic products, which in
Poland are not exactly say
They are not yet socially acceptable,
but that they are strange simply.
Because I tend to have resistance to
things that are socially
unacceptable in Poland,
Which somewhere in the world is eaten,
although also increasingly rare
type of I don’t know, meat anymore,
Meat, dog, meat, cat,
well, never in my life.
Such already very extreme, extreme cases.
Or what I witnessed in
Korea, they eat there.
Beef served, or the octopus itself,
which is sometimes still alive,
Or. Or it’s right, right after the kill
and those limbs are still
moving, even though the
as if already the organism
, no longer in operation.
I have resistance to such things when
something is still alive, or is just meat,
meat of animal species that
in our culture are absolutely not
associated with food, and here I
am talking primarily about the
Mhmm I see.
And over the years and those such, and
many visits to various places
when they appeared in the
your life top restaurants with Michelle’s
stars, where these are already
really top-notch stuff, I observed
while watching your programs,
How you learn that taste.
Can you now say what these
visits have taught you?
Are you more picky, or do you
appreciate a good product more?
Have you noticed that this has shifted
in your such perception of food?
Has that changed?
I think it certainly does.
As I compare whether
or the beginning of their studies, that
is, their becoming independent, or even
The beginning of the channel, which was
not that long ago at
all, well it definitely
I began to appreciate a lot, a lot, a
lot of products and also their quality.
And I believe that acutely
many things can be
learn from books or
documentaries about food.
But just recognizing a good product
without being able to
taste it won’t teach.
We will not learn it . Also in this regard
Certainly the opportunity to try these
better products, or dishes in general
made with some totally
new techniques for me
certainly taught me a lot and I certainly
still have a lot to learn on the subject
learn, because, of course, I’ve been to a
few, a dozen of these types
of restaurants, but this
there’s still some sort of a proxy for
what can be known and what can be learned.
And here I will also point
out that it is not only
This, not just a matter of
those restaurants with a star.
I think, because even the beginning of
this path of mine, when
I learned that a good
hamburger, you can eat a good
burger not in a chain restaurant
Like McDonald’s or Burger King, only that
there are establishments
that serve burgers
Of beef, which is much, much better,
has a much higher quality, is
much better prepared
than just in fast food.
And as if also this kind of
simple difference that you can
observe, also taught me
a lot at that point.
And it is not and we are not talking
about it being junk food then.
Exactly further maybe
unhealthy, but not so much.
If it is as you said
Good quality beef, then what could
there be unhealthy in it, right?
If prepared the right way,
with love, with good spices,
well then we are talking about a burger
that is of high quality,
and is healthy rather.
And tell me such a thing, do you cook
the meals yourself in this case,
Or do you use prepared meals
when you are not working?
What happens in your life then?
We generally do little cooking at home.
And I have to admit that
When it comes to such meals for
dinner, it’s really very, very,
We cook very little, but we also have
little time to do so,
as we have a total of
we work a lot, even when
we are not recording, well
We deal with these
That is, we edit films and also then
there is not much time for this cooking,
so we usually
(I say in the context of dinners all
the time) or food we order, very often,
Or sometimes we use some,
say, ready-made dishes.
although this is rare. Rather,
we order and possibly cook,
When there is simply more time for it.
What’s different about breakfasts,
dinners we rather do something fast.
Also the way it came from
home, you could say.
We’re always a bit short on time with this
cooking, because we simply
devote it to other areas.
I understand. OK.
And such I have one more question:
Whether and how Macieja’s eating habits
and choices have changed ( if so )
From 7 years ago, when you
look back on yourself?
What has changed in your
own personal choices?
And later Soni still, when you started
walking through life together?
I think a lot has changed.
In the sense of certainly more,
I pay more attention to
the products themselves.
Both when it comes to going out to a
restaurant, but also when it
comes to shopping in a store
I just look at the composition of
products much, much more often
And how they look.
This is very, very, very important to me.
Also yes tastes have changed a bit for
sure, because I do not hide
those 7 years ago a lot
I was more turned on by things
fast food and I was much more likely to
eat burgers, pizza, some such thing.
Immortality on .:)))
Things less healthy.Well
Over the years, I have certainly come
to appreciate much more, for example.
I know that I will never become
100% vegetarian, but as if that meat too
I significantly reduced, which is not
visible in the videos, because,
however, when traveling and
exploring the flavors of the world,
this meat plays a huge role.
But so every day at home, meat does not
Is that important to me in such a diet.
In such a home diet.
It’s things like this that are probably
the most important, which means
being more aware of what you eat.
And the other is actually a limitation
meat, which you kind of can’t see from
the videos, but which is actually
quite , quite large and if I have to say
something here for Sonia, similarly.
These habits and food
choices have changed for us.
Although Sonia never any admirer
great fast food was not,
but other than that, yes.
And do your mutual friends somehow
at this time ask you what to choose?
Somewhere going where
they know you have been?
Do they suggest your opinions on the
subject and be more adventurous?
Maybe then in trying
something new, or rather not?
Ask yourself –
they ask for sure yes,
it’s definitely that.
Especially when they go somewhere, they
actually ask for such recommendations.
And as for the courage to try. I
think we inspired a couple of people
to try new flavors and
new dishes, new products.
I think, for example.
I inspired my parents to do
so to a considerable extent.
Yet there are some people who
are difficult to encourage,
Because they already have some of their
and know that, for example.
For them only such native Polish cuisine
is fine and they don’t want to here
anymore, they don’t want to
try other things too much.
And here I am talking
to my peers it is not
I’m talking about some elderly people who
have already lived through a lot, a lot.
I’m not talking about my grandmother here,
yes, I’m just talking about
my peers here, who after
They simply have already, they already
have such tastes and the end, and to
try anything new they do not want.
Well, that’s right, and here’s one last
question like this, which is already a bit
I have also asked this before
in the case of your own
elections, or did the economy
somehow influence here?
That’s why I ask a lot of people, friends,
friends, family, which keeps
them from, for example.
risking learning something completely
new when they sit in a restaurant and
it turns out that the biggest
problem for them is spending money
for something they may not like.
That is, this economic factor
here is the most such holdback.
As it is the case now not with yours, but
with your friends,
because you travel often.
I know there is a group of you
out there and how are they?
Exactly the people I’m
thinking of are probably not
is related to economics,
only this is more so.
Something like I see a little bit of that.
it’s also a fear of taking risks,
but it tends to stem from that.
Not that they will lose money, but
they will lose time, order and do not want
to waste this food too,
so they get, for example.
They will force you to eat it
and not order something else.
Akurat is such a case, although what
you say, that is, that this economic
factor seems to me that
in most people such a
is, then I can also talk about the
viewers, the people who comment
on the videos on the channel.
And as if this economic factor is
quite important. Indeed, it appears
quite often in the comments.
If something seems expensive to someone,
he immediately points
it out in the comments.
So, well, unfortunately, this is the kind
of thing that always holds
back these experiments.
Well, thank you very much for
all such comprehensive answers.
I will stop recording now.