Ioan Bebeșelea – chef, Syndicat Gourmet Sibiu
Strada Târgului Nr 10, Sibiu 550195, Romania
Ioan Bebeșelea was born in Sibiu. He spent his childhood in the county, in the villages of Roșia on the Hârtibaciu Valley and Jina in Mărginimea Sibiului. Despite his studies in engineering, a few years after he graduated from university, he turned to cooking, influenced by his travels to Bangladesh and India during uni.
Through the years, he dedicated more and more time to his cooking passion and, a couple of years later, together with a friend, he opened the restaurant Syndicat Gourmet, serving dishes inspired from the food of his childhood, old recipes kept by the communities in the area, from local ingredients, which he tries to utilize as much as possible.
He has been making bread for a few years, both at the restaurant he has led since 2014, and at home. He started baking his own bread because he couldn't find any to his taste. At first, he made bread using yeast, but he wasn’t satisfied with the taste or the consistence. This discontent led him to read about bread more and more, to find out how it should be prepared.
For the bread he bakes nowadays, he only uses homemade starter and prefers a mix of flours: half whole-grain and half white flour.
He feeds his starter every day, a process which is basically a refreshing. In fact, the starter is a living organism that evolves day after day; thus, the more it ages, the more it develops a more complex taste
His process of making sourdough bread usually takes for a few hours over the course of two days. When the dough is ready, it is left to rise overnight at a low temperature. The dough’s slow fermentation ‘tames’ gluten, so sourdough bread is easier to digest by those who are gluten intolerant.
He likes to eat his bread with butter and salt, saying this combination is unique to him.