Emerging Europe

Could you be going out for a Polish soon?

I hear voices and I have to cook: Michelin star chef
I hear voices and I have to cook: Michelin star chef

Two decades ago, the biggest gastronomic event in Poland was the opening of the country's first McDonald's. Now, Michelin-starred dishes like pike with baby duck's blood have arrived, as the country undergoes a culinary renaissance.

Photos from the Golden Arches' arrival in Warsaw in 1992 show Poland's then political and cultural figures queuing for Big Macs with thousands of ordinary Poles. At that time, the arrival of the U.S. fast food giant was a key moment as the country opened up to Western cultural influences.

Now, Polish cuisine is branching out from its traditional sausage, potato and cabbage image as a new generation of chefs embraces and redefines it.

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"It was like Polish cuisine has joined the family of great cuisines around the world," Wojciech Modest Amaro, the chef behind Atelier Amaro, the recipient of Poland's first Michelin star, told CNBC.

Amaro, whose restaurant charges a hefty 320 zloty ($102) per head for an eight-course menu, with another 199 zloty for matching Polish spirits, aims to establish Polish cooking alongside the great cuisines of the world. It is planning to open another restaurant in a more prominent city like New York, London or Berlin in the next three years.

As well as being trained at El Bulli, which was regularly voted the best restaurant in the world before it closed its doors in 2012, Amaro has also worked at another world-beating restaurant, Noma, famous for its use of foraging for ingredients.

Part of the reason for Amaro's success is the quality of produce available. Poland's small farms saw a flood of urban emigres return during the transition from communism to capitalism. While this has created some problems – farmers are notoriously low earners because the average farm size is still very small - one positive aspect is that there are high-quality cheeses, meats and vegetables available.

The farmers markets springing up around the country give these smaller producers the chance to display their wares.

"Poland is a green field," Amaro said. "It's a very natural country… We have all these small producers here and they are trendy around the globe right now."

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With prices at the very top end of the spectrum, Atelier Amaro's clientele is around 60 percent foreign tourists and business travellers, who he hopes will help spread the word about the improvement in Polish food.

The international reputation of Poland's food could also be helped by the publication of From a Polish Country Kitchen, a cookery book by Pulitzer award-winning journalist (and wife of Polish politician Radek Sikorski) Anne Applebaum.

Walking around Warsaw, it is still international cuisines like Italian and American which dominate the landscape.

A number of more affordable Polish restaurants are springing up to cater to the country's growing middle class. And the celebrity chef trend is on the rise, according to Marta Glinka, a Warsaw food blogger.

"There are more and more signature places appearing where the chef is the creator and element attracting guests to restaurants. This is standard abroad, but a very fresh trend in Poland," she said.

"The quality of the food is very good, and ingredients like beef are no longer imported by good restaurants."

- By CNBC's Catherine Boyle. Twitter: @cboylecnbc.