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Our Team

Carolyn CAROLYN BÁNFALVI is an American writer who has lived in Budapest for many years. She is the author of the acclaimed culinary guidebooks Food Wine Budapest (Little Bookroom) and the Food and Wine Lover’s Guide to Hungary: With Budapest Restaurants and Trips to the Wine Country (Park Kiadó). She has also written for dozens of international magazines and newspapers including Saveur, Afar, CNN.com, Frommer’s, Gourmet.com, Gastronomica, Olive, and The Globe & Mail. She reviews hotels for Jetsetter and Northstar. Carolyn studied journalism at NYU and holds a culinary degree from a US culinary school. She holds a Level 3 WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) certification, and is currently immersed in the WSET Diploma Course. She never tires of exploring Budapest (and the region, in her spare time), and is a #winelover ambassador for BudapestVisit her site to read some of her articles. Email Carolyn
 Gabor GÁBOR BÁNFALVI grew up in a food-obsessed family in a village in northwestern Hungary, learning how to cook at an early age from his mother. But it wasn’t until he spent a few years living outside of Hungary—which included time exploring France, studying in Spain, and working on a ship in the Caribbean—that he realized how spectacular and underrated his native Hungarian cuisine is. Gábor holds a Master’s Degree in Spanish linguistics and literature and has extensive translating and interpreting experience. He holds a Level 3 WSET certification, and will shortly begin the WSET Diploma course. In his spare time he can be found jogging around Margaret Island in preparation for his next marathon. And he is currently at work on a research project involving the Jewish history of Tokaj. Gábor is committed to increasing the profile of wine tourism in Hungary (and the larger region) and has spoken about entrepreneurism, wine tourism, and Hungarian food and wine to audiences including the Digital Wine Communications Conference, the International Wine Tourism Conference, the Rotary Club, the Balassi Institute, the Bor, mámor, Bénye Festival, and the Ecole Supérieure des Sciences Commerciales d’Angers. In addition to running his own company, Gábor also leads wine tours for Arblaster & Clarke to places such as Vienna, Slovenia and Friuli, and, of course, Hungary. Gábor is also a proud member of the Confrérie de Tokaj.Email Gábor
Julia JULIA, our tireless tour manager, was born and raised in Budapest, but since she has relatives in many other Hungarian regions (including Transylvania), she is well-versed in regional Hungarian cuisine. She grew up eating home-cooked Hungarian food, helping her parents make jam (meanwhile having cherry-pit spitting fights with her siblings), and baking pastries with her grandmother (using a pencil as her rolling pin). She has lived in Belgium, Spain, and Scotland, but a healthy lust for a good harcsapaprikás (catfish stew) has always brought her back to her hometown. She enjoys cooking for her family and friends, shopping at the markets, chatting with vendors, participating in traditional pig slaughters, drinking pálinka, and eating her way through whatever country she is visiting.
Tamas TAMÁS studied agricultural mechanical engineering in university, but decided to follow the path of travel and wine instead. His passion of wine led him to winery jobs in California and Australia for several years, and then to jobs at various wineries in Hungary’s Eger region. He entered the world of wine retail when he moved to London and spent six years in management at a leading nationwide wine retailer. Tamás moved back to Hungary in 2012 to re-discover the Hungarian wine scene. He holds a WSET Level 3 certificate. Tamás is a sommelier at our Tasting Table & Shop and he also guides wine tours. When he is not tasting, selling, or serving wine, he can be found cycling along the Danube, hiking in the Pilis hills, or fishing.
Anett ANETT, a sommelier at The Tasting Table & Shop and a wine tour guide, followed her dream of working abroad in a big way: by working as a flight attendant for one of the biggest airlines in the Gulf region. She flew for almost 5 years, working in first class, serving people from around the world, and traveling plenty in between. She comes from a wine-loving family, and grew up learning to love wine. Her interest in wine deepened during her university days, and she has completed a WSET Level 3 certification. She has traveled to many wine regions, including a cava house next to Barcelona, the wine trails in Stellenbosch, South Africa, a historic quinta in the Douro Valley, and to the Yarra Valley in Australia. She returned to Hungary last year, and is now focusing on exploring the exciting world of Hungarian wine!
Dora DÓRA grew up in Budapest and spent many years working as a journalist and a press officer for the city of Budapest. When she switched the focus of her career to follow her interest in food, food writing in Hungary was practically non-existent. Dora always finds new ways to learn about food and cooking, including having spent time working in a gourmet food shop, taking classes, and interviewing chefs for her articles. She currently writes a bi-monthly column for Hungary’s largest-circulation food magazine. Over the past few years she has been learning about winemaking firsthand since her and her husband own a small winery in Tokaj. When she is not writing, interpreting for visiting journalists, or chasing around her twin sons, Dora leads our walking and wine tours.Though Dora usually writes in Hungarian, you can read a few of her English articles on Tablet: In Wine, Truth and How ‘Jewish Eggs’ Regained Their Place in Hungary’s Kitchens.
Zsofia ZSÓFIA is a photographer, food writer, and herbalist. She is the founder of an urban foraging community project, Collective Plant, which she started in 2013 for a photo exhibition. Since then, it has grown into a community organization which organizes workshops and foraging trips with the aim to bring urban people closer to nature and the natural sources of nutrition. She holds her foraging and herbalism workshops not only in Budapest, but also internationally (this year in Istanbul, Lisbon, and the Azores). Zsófi also writes about food, culture, and travel for magazines such as Marie Claire and Dining Guide. She loves to hike, cook, travel, and connect food with the arts and design. She has published a foraged food cookbook and a Turkish-Hungarian cookbook, and is editing the MENÜ community cookbook. Right out of school, Zsófi began to cook when she began to travel, so her kitchen has much inspiration from places where she has lived: South America, India, Turkey, and Portugal. At Taste Hungary, Zsófi leads tours, as well as foraging walks and workshops on herbalism and more.
Zsolt ZSOLT is a winemaker in the village of Erdőbénye in the Tokaj region. Zsolt spent many years working as a journalist in Budapest before becoming fascinated with the idea of making his own wine in Tokaj. In 2005 Zsolt and his wife bought a sprawling (and crumbling) old house in Erdőbénye (which once belonged to an Armenian winemaker) to house their winery. Their winery, the Karadi-Berger Winery, makes small quantities of artisan wine, using minimal unnecessary technology. Zsolt is also the brains behind the popular “Wine, Shine…Bénye” festival, which is held annually in the gardens of Erdőbénye. Zsolt lives in Sárospatak, with his wife and two young sons. He guides our Tokaj Winemaker’s Tour, and his winery is a frequent stop on our private wine tours.
 Barbara BARBARA is a Budapest native whose preferred mode of transportation is her bicycle. Her passion for food led her to the College of Catering and Hotel Management in Budapest. She has spent time living in Italy, and fully immersed herself into the culture by working in restaurants and bars while she was there. She did not at all mind the research that it took to write her thesis on Italian gastronomy! When she is not leading our walking tours, Barbara can also be found guiding tours by bike, or sitting in cafés writing restaurant reviews for a local web site.
Jeff JEFFERY’s passion for wine started while he was touring the USA for his work as a professional actor. After returning to the Washington DC area, where he is from, he took a break from the theater and began his wine studies with the French Wine Society. In 2011 he moved to Canada where he continued his education and received his sommelier certification. In 2014 Jeffery and his husband relocated to Vienna, where he has been busy learning all he can about the wonderful wines of Austria. He is looking forward to continuing his wine studies in Austria.
Anna ANNA was born near Lake Balaton, has studied in Holland, and has spent time working in Spain. But she is passionate about her adopted city, Budapest, and has immersed herself in many different Budapest themes over the past six years since she has been guiding tours here. Anna regularly leads our Jewish Cuisine & Culture Walk, having become interested in Judaism after learning that her grandma was Jewish. Anna is also passionate about 20th century history, and applies her sociology studies, to the tours which she leads on the Buda Castle and Communism. She has roots in the Hungarian paprika regions of Szeged and Baja, and believes that experiencing a country’s cuisine is a great way to get to know its culture.
Gabriella GABRIELLA is a passionate cook, and from her childhood spent eating traditional Hungarian home-cooked specialties, she inherited a love of not only eating, but of talking about food. She has become a serious collector of family recipes, cookbooks, and culinary magazines—not only reading them, but also using them in her own kitchen. Gabriella studied communications and hotel management, has worked in five-star hotels in Budapest, and is interested in Hungarian history and literature. When she is not guiding our culinary tours, she likes to play badminton with her children in the garden, and she loves trying out the many new cafes out in Budapest (especially the ones which serve great coffee). She is a firm believer that discussing Hungarian gastronomy over a delicious meal is the best way to introduce Hungary and its people.
Mark MARK was born in Hungary, but moved to the US when he was 13, giving him an understanding of Hungary from the perspective of an insider and an outsider. His enduring love of everything that has to do with gastronomy began as he was growing up in a restaurant his parents operated by lake Balaton. He is also passionate about wine, and has finished the WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) Diploma course (with just a few exams left before actually getting it). Mark is currently experimenting with small-batch gin distillation, which he does with a partner in Austria. He loves a good adventure, especially when it involves food and wine.
Tamas TAMÁS is a former restaurateur, and an amazing chef. He works as the personal chef at the Portuguese Embassy during the day, and as the Tasting Table’s chef for private events and special dinners. Tamás previously worked as a pastry chef in Paris, as a chef de partie for the Admiral Agency in London, and as the personal chef for the Angolan Embassy in Budapest. In Budapest he has also owned his own restaurant, and has helped build other restaurant projects. He enjoys doing different things to keep his skills fresh, including recently helping build the menu of a Budapest salad and sandwich bar; doing food styling for television shows, photo shoots, and commercials; cooking privately for clients; and cooking at a busy little winery in Mor region. When Tamás designs menus and cooks at the Tasting Table, it turns into his own little restaurant.
Szabi SZABOLCS was born in a Hungarian region of the former Yugoslavia to Hungarian parents. After he finished university in Hungary, he moved to England and lived in London for seven years. Szabi attended the International Butler Academy in The Netherlands, and then spent four years working as a butler for VIP guests at one if the most prestigious hotels in London. He worked at the 2012 London Olympics as a butler and restaurant manager. Szabi returned to Hungary in 2014 and has been working as a local guide since then.
Aniko ANIKÓ grew up in Budapest and spent summer vacations in the Tokaj Region, where her family owned a vineyard. Her passion for food began early in her grandmother’s kitchen, where she spent her childhood feasting on homemade jams and pastries. It continued during her travels throughout the world. And when she lived in France, she realized that experiencing a country’s cuisine is the best way to get to know its culture. Anikó spent many years working as a lawyer, but was always passionate about pursuing her hobbies of history, art, and travelling on the side. Now she is a dedicated tour guide, helping guests discover the secrets of Hungary, France, Italy, and Transylvania. When she is not leading our walking tours, she enjoys cooking, browsing her grandmother’s old recipe collection, hanging out at Lake Balaton, and teaching yoga for children.
Eszter ESZTER was born and raised in Budapest in a reformed Jewish family. She has spent time living abroad, first in Ireland and then later in Wales. But she still thinks it is hard to find better food than fresh Hungarian fruit in the summer, or a plate of Hungarian layered potatoes during the winter. She studied history and archives in university, and she loves putting food in the context of history and culture for her guests. Since Eszter has many foreign relatives, she has long enjoyed showing guests Budapest’s food and its culture … since it is hard to separate the two of them.
Hanna JOHANNA is a PhD student in history and a qualified tour guide. As a scholar, she is interested in cultures, lifestyles, and mentalities, especially in the context of a historical background. As an enthusiastic traveler throughout Europe—and a family cook herself—she knows what it takes to explore a land through its tastes and dishes. Her research focuses on finding the link between sensual everyday facts of life and the deeper resonance of an age and society. She has a sense for how the wider picture enfolds through such a basic experience as food–and as a teacher, she is eager to share this with her audience. When not guiding tours, she is busy participating in conferences and doing volunteer work.
Evi EVI grew up Eger, a town with a deep history, beautiful nature, and a deep wine culture. Though everyone in her hometown thought she would become a musician or a writer, she instead studied catering and tourism. Evi has always had a never-ending curiosity of foreign countries and cultures, and has sometimes ended up living, studying, and working abroad as soon as possibilities presented themselves. However, her heart always pulled her back home. She even pulled her American husband back to Budapest with her, where they have settled to raise their two sons. She is driven to do what she loves, and to love what she does, including her career path. She has worked in fields from hospitality to the spa world, and even in fashion. She’s now an entrepreneur herself, when she is not leading our culinary walks.
Ferenc FERENC moved from the countryside to the Kőbánya district of Budapest when he was young. Although this working class neighborhood—a factory and mining district—was very different from rural eastern Hungary where he came from, he soon got to know (and fell in love with) every inch of suburban and downtown Budapest. His grandparents worked in the Kőbánya beer factory for 25 years, so beer always flowed at family get-togethers. Ferenc also developed the family appreciation for beer as an adult, and guides some of our Craft Beer Walks. Growing up, he learned the secrets of the Hungarian kitchen from his grandmother. And since his father missed the merry village gatherings of his the countryside, he organized proper pig slaughters—with the best blood, liver and paprika sausages—inside their cramped city apartment. Ferenc became interested in tourism through his interest in discovering the local food when he travels.
Balint BÁLINT spent his childhood in a small town in the wine region at the foot of the Mátra hills. When he moved to Budapest many years ago to study sociology, the beautiful city trapped him. He is inspired by discovering unknown places, and is obsessed with walking the streets downtown and cycling in the outskirts of town. He interacts with different continents on a daily basis via their cuisine, and he loves how trying new foods makes his days more colorful and full of surprises. But nothing compares with the excitement of scouring the market for fresh ingredients for Sunday lunch, and coming home with the most precious marrow bones for the húsleves (meat soup).
Tamas F. TAMÁS is a librarian and a tour guide, whose passion is food and wine. He lived in different parts of England (Cornwall, Surrey, and Oxford) for many years before returning to Hungary, and he loves combining food, wine, culture and history. He loves traveling and exploring different wine regions and wineries. His personal favorites are the Tokaj and Somló regions. Tamás holds a WSET Level 2 certificate and is currently working towards Level 3. He is an omnivore, who loves every many different types of food experiences,, from tasty street food to meticulously prepared Michelin-starred meals. He’s also a cook, who specializes in preparing soups and desserts, and is happy to discuss recipes.
Carsten CARSTEN was born and raised in Germany, but has been living in Budapest for about five years. He is our self-taught expert on Hungarian craft beer. While being passionate about beer is something most Germans possess from their infancy, Carsten’s interest intensified during his university days when he learned about technological aspects of beer production, culminating in his first attempts to brew beer on his kitchen stove in 2013. He hasn’t stopped since then, and he constantly finds new inspiration in the emerging Hungarian craft beer scene. By day, Carsten is working on his PhD in Chemistry and does research on, fittingly, alcohols. In his spare time, he likes to travel and cook, and is a passionate photographer. He leads our Craft Beer Walk, and enjoys introducing travelers to beer culture in a country which is increasingly getting bored of the global brands and is beginning to embrace some exciting and diverse local breweries.
Agi ÁGI grew up on the Hungarian Great Plain eating traditional Hungarian cuisine cooked from home-grown ingredients. Her passion for vegetarian dishes started at the age of fourteen, and has been steadily growing ever since. She has been vegan for three years, constantly experimenting with new flavors as well as cherishing the plant-based alternatives to traditional foods. Besides visiting all of the new hot and hip veggie places of Budapest, she teaches English language at one of the local universities and is pursuing her doctorate in 17th-century English literature. She also frequently cooks for her friends, and is a tea-enthusiast. She believes that the rich and lush flavors of traditional Hungarian cuisine can also be experienced when ditching meat products. Ági guides our Hungarian Vegetarian Walk.
Angela ANGELA was born in a small town in Transcarpathia (a region which was part of Hungary until the end of World War Two) to a Hungarian mother and Ukranian father. She always dreamt of living in a big city, and moved to Budapest after completing her university studies. She has been in love with Budapest ever since. Angela has been a keen book-lover all her life, with an insatiable interest in the diverse culture, history, and architecture of the “Paris of the East.” When she strolls along the streets of Budapest, she has her head up admiring the beautiful facades of the buildings. After having spent many years working for international companies, Angela decided to follow her true calling, tour guiding. She is passionate about guiding people around Budapest, and acquainting them with the diverse cuisine and rich selection of Hungarian wines while sharing stories on heritage, history, and the everyday life of Hungarian people. In her spare time Angela likes to bike in City Park and swim in the Széchenyi thermal bath complex.
Gege GERGELY (better known as Gege) has roots in Sátoraljaújhely, a town in the Tokaj region—perhaps contributing to his early (and continuing) interest in wine. In university he studied agricultural engineering in environmental management (with time spent studying abroad in Spain and France), but these days he is doing something very different: helping introduce our guests at The Tasting Table to the world of Hungarian wine. In his spare time Gergely likes to compensate for the wine by trail running or hiking. In addition to aiming to earn the WSET Diploma, Gergely also hopes to someday complete the Ultra Trail Mount Blanc.
Endre ENDRE was born and raised in Budapest, more specifically on the Buda side—which he prefers over faster-paced Pest. He has always known he would be a tour guide, which led him study at the Budapest Business School in the department of Catering and Hotel Management. For the past seven years he has worked as a tour guide in Budapest, learning as much about people from all over the world as they learned from him. Endre also loves to cook, eat, and try new foods and has spent time as an intern and pastry chef at one of Budapest’s most renowned pastry shops. Since these baking days, he has become an automatic critic of cakes whenever he tries them (and naturally, he knows the best places in town to eat sweets). Endre is Jewish on his mother’s side (though they are not religious), and loves the family’s matzo ball soup and sólet. He bakes flódni, but is practically a professional when it comes to baking Christmas beiglis (he prepared 300 and sold them all one year). Endre mainly guides our Jewish Cuisine & Culinary Walk and is currently learning Hebrew in his spare time, and is training to become an official guide at the Great Synagogue.
 György GYÖRGY (or the more pronounceable, George) has been a wine enthusiast from a young age. When he was a teenager he helped out in a small family vineyard, which over the years became a passion leading him to work with wine in international restaurants and hotels. György has the WSET advanced certificate, and is working towards the diploma. His work experience in the wine trade combined with his passion for raising awareness of Hungary’s wine heritage in the UK, led him to start his own business, called Danube Wines, importing and selling Hungarian wine to the UK market. Both through his business and his wine tour guiding for Taste Hungary, György’s goal is to make wine enthusiasts excited about Hungarian and to leave them as passionate about Hungary’s food and wine as he is—if only for a few hours while enjoying a nice glass.
Barbara BARBARA helms our reservations office, and is likely the one who will be on the other end of your phone call or email to Taste Hungary. Barbara grew up in a town near Budapest, and since her grandmother was a cook, culinary traditions have been important to her since early age. One of her clearest childhood memories is the kitchen in her grandmother’s house where she ate potato pasta while the cat purred next to the stove. She spent many summers at Lake Balaton, where her parents had a shop, so the lively high season, with the interesting people visiting from different countries, was also an important part of her childhood. Barbara is also a passionate traveler, and has lived in Paris, where she fell in love with both wine and cheese. She is a graphic designer, who also worked as a stage designer and an illustrator of cookbooks and food blogs.
Gyorgy GYÖRGY has a passion for fine wines, good food and great adventure travel. He is rooted in many (culinary) cultures, as was born in China, and grew up in Japan, Australia, and Hungary. His Chinese mother learned to make perfect Hungarian meals, which are still remembered many decades after enjoying them. For György fusion (but not confusion!) cuisine is not a matter of new wave fashion, but the tradition that he received at home. He is experienced in travel and hospitality, and is also a seasoned storyteller. He has spent several years preparing official state and diplomatic events and functions. When not leading tours, he is researching Jewish traditions and social and family history in Hungary.

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