It is practically unprecedented today for an artisan to deliver work of such quality and live up to the expectancies of the profession for almost thirty years. What fortified you and provided a powerful motive for your profession?
I could say I was predestined to work in the catering trade. Even my grandmother studied to be a pastry cook, but she only baked at home as a housewife. But my father soon became a name in the confectionary business. The deservedly famous Dobos patisserie was opened in the 60s with my father as one of its founder and his four years spent there served as the basis of the legends about the pastry shop. Later on, he tried his hand at catering, which also had an impact on me. As a child, I absorbed the mystery of catering in the well-known ‘Vadászkürt’ (Hunting-horn) restaurant in downtown Eger.
When did it become obvious that confectionery is your main vocation?
Actually, I became a pastry cook by accident. My father rented the premises of the current pastry shop in 1998, and a decision was made that it would not function as a restaurant but rather as a patisserie and I started working there as well.
What was the main long-term concept?
When we launched, we had to make completely renovate the space and sell everything we had to invest in our dream. We trusted in the values that still determine us and keep us alive: the legacy from our parents and the force that keeps the family together. Meanwhile, confectionary trends changed and the visiting the patisserie was again considered a social event or a business meeting. Our reputation slowly grew. I think, the quality and persistence paid off. It is important to add that my work has been greatly supported by my family, my wife and my ancestors’ legacy was carried on not just by me but my sister, Tünde, who is my partner in the enterprise and we can rely on each other all the time.
Confectionaries and ice-cream bars are popping up everywhere, but they are often just as short-lived. What is the essence that has been sustaining the Marján patisserie for decades?
We do our job consciously and competently with love and persistence. Although the shop was locked down according to regulations during the pandemic, as a captain, I couldn’t leave the ship. I was always busying myself with something, even tidying up when necessary. As soon as it was possible, the locals in Eger called me to order cakes or pastries they needed for a birthday or christening, so we immediately baked them as we couldn’t let them celebrate without pastries. Nowadays, when guests enter, they arrive at a sunny place with great glass surfaces, where our wide selection is extensively showcased. We continuous train ourselves; for example, finishing the course of Carpigiani Gelato University in Italy is important as it is internationally ranked among the illustrious training sites. It is the only ice-cream school in Europe and in the world where I could learn the secret of Italian ice-cream making. I would like to provide my guests with the fruits of this labour and it might be one of our secrets at the Marján patisserie that we provide our guests with highest of quality and kindness.
The fans of sweets are welcomed by a sprawling space, bright colours, lights and a wide range of confectionery creations at the Marjan patisserie that has been operating on the site for three decades. Behind the counter, proactive, smiling waitresses are eager to serve their guests. Sándor Marján Jnr. shows up for interview in his pastry cook uniform, as five minutes ago he was still working next to the oven. It’s rare to see this kind of commitment and love for the profession and guests. The harmonious colours of the interior flow to the porch surrounded by trees, where after a walk in the castle, guests can relax with a delicious cup of coffee and cream cake. We hope that Sándor and Tünde’s children will also fall in love with this sweet profession and carry on their ancestors’ legacy.