Meet Petr Balcarovsky, the Czech-born culinary maestro whose life has always been spiced up with an affection for sharp tools and a passion for food.
Born into a family where butchering a rabbit was just another household chore, and homegrown vegetables were daily bread, Petr embarked on his culinary journey in the beautiful city of Opava, Czech Republic.
Completing a five-year culinary program that served up a full course meal of restaurant management, front-of-house operations, back-of-house essentials, and a generous garnish of marketing management, Petr was destined to make his mark in the food industry. The course not only honed his skills but also allowed him to meld his ability to be both a liquid and a solid chef, understanding the nuances of layered flavor profiles in cocktails, wine, and food pairings.
Petr enjoys taking his patrons on a culinary adventure, serving the unexpected with a playful twist. From surprising patrons with innovative uses of traditional ingredients such as sauerkraut gel or foam, to creating dishes that leave a lasting memory, his creations are as much a fun game as they are an art form.
Love brought Petr to the United States in 1998, where his culinary journey led him to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Starting from the ground up, Petr proved his mettle, juggling roles as a server, bartender, and line cook, before reaching the position of maitre d. But, he never lost sight of his burning passion for cooking.
Petr’s career came full circle when he became the founding chef of the Royal Eagle kitchen on May 8, 2007. Here, his culinary prowess truly flourished, drawing patrons by the droves, eager to partake in his memorable dining experiences.
The Royal Eagle, located inside an unlikely Russian monastery tucked into a residential Harper Woods neighborhood, has allowed Petr to not only showcase his culinary talents but also to educate and inspire.
As a culinary historian, Petr finds beauty in age-old recipes that have stood the test of time. He thrives in connecting the past with the present, whether it’s through an intricate Viking dinner that reveals the sophistication of their culture or a Renaissance-inspired meal that reflects the era’s gentleness and enlightenment.
Today, Petr continues to pour his passion into his work at the Royal Eagle as a volunteer, and as a bartender at Detroit’s Foundation Hotel, mastering both the front and back of the house. His life, like his meals, is a constant adventure, one he approaches with a sharp knife and a keen sense of taste.
Follow Chef Petr Balcarovsky on Instagram: @the_czech_mate_detroit