Cuisine, creativity and meeting rocker legends like Iggy Pop is all part of Restaurateur Klime Kovaceski's life menu. Kovaceski started out as an Executive European Chef in Macedonia and has since been a restaurant consultant for a variety of ethic and upscale dining establishments. Despite his many titles, Kovaceski defines himself as a restaurateur. "The most important thing for me is for the customer to have a complete dining experience, and to me that is more than just the food — it is the ambiance, the interaction with those who are serving you, the way you feel at the end of the meal," he says. To experience a taste of what Klime Kovaceski has to offer, visit Mez in the EpiCentre.
Creative Loafing: What brought you to North Carolina?
Klime Kovaceski: When they were searching for a chef for Mez, Afshin Ghazi saw that I had graduated in Croatia, and that is one of his favorite vacation destinations. He flew me here to cook for him and his friends, and I was very excited to work for him because he is not your typical restaurateur. Additionally, operating partner Nasser Razmyar brings a wealth of experience and is a driving force that makes the restaurant a dynamic place. Mez at the EpiCentre is a unique and visionary establishment, and the opportunity to be here has exceeded all my expectations.
You keep a "little black book" filled with the names of famous patrons whom you have served. Who, out of all of those people, made you feel the most "star struck"?
I would have to say that would be Iggy Pop. It would be a surreal experience whenever he came into my restaurant [Crystal Café in Miami], as he has been an influence on me as well as my friends back home; as musicians we all love the Stooges. He was one of the most polite, soft-spoken and ego-free people I have ever met. The complete opposite of his reputation or what you see on stage.
What inspires you as you create your signature recipes?
Sometimes, it is as simple as a fresh seasonal ingredient, a comment from a customer or a conversation with a colleague. Sometimes, in the process of an event or a challenge, dishes are born. Inspiration is everywhere when you least expect it.