This week he was named the best chef in the capital. In the final stage of the city competition between chefs “Teachers of Moscow” The 11 most powerful craftsmen came together and the main theme of this year was conscious consumption or, as the experts say, the principle of zero waste. According to the results of the jury vote, consisting of famous Russian culinary experts, Ivan Idemenev, the chef of the restaurant of modern Russian cuisine on the Sadovnicheskaya embankment, became the winner of the competition.
Following the announcement of the results, a mos.ru correspondent spoke with the best chef in the capital. The winner said where he got his first knowledge of cooking, why there is psychology in the kitchen and why he does not want to stay long in a workplace.
Duck breeding and the psychology of a chef
– Tell me, when did you start to be interested in cooking?
– When I was little, my father started raising ducks on the family plot. He was the one who instilled in me an interest in housekeeping. In the 11th grade I had in my hands a magazine dedicated to foreign cooking schools and chefs. That was when I wanted to try my hand at it. In addition, relatives often said that I cook well.
After school, he entered the College of Economics and Technology No. 22, then became a student of the Russian International Academy of Tourism (majoring in “Tourism Administration”). While studying, he got a job as a bartender in a restaurant. The chef, seeing my interest in the kitchen, offered to work there. There I acquired my basic knowledge working with Moroccan cuisine. After graduating from university in 2014-2015, I got a job at my first restaurant and I already fully realized that I just wanted to do just that.
– Who helped you become a professional?
– I was lucky enough to work in many top restaurants in the capital. My mother complained about the fact that I change jobs often, but it was important for me to be constantly evolving. It was possible to do so, among other things, thanks to the new restaurants where I got a job.
There were even thoughts of going abroad and training there. But when foreign chefs started coming to Moscow and promoting their cuisine here, I thought, “Why go somewhere when I can get experience here too?” The restaurant where I work now has two chefs: me and Nikita Kuzmenko, from whom I never stop learning. In his work, he popularizes the work of craftsmen and Russian cuisine and last year he won an award as the best young chef.
What qualifications should a real chef have?
– In my opinion, a chef should be a good psychologist, because he works with people and manages them. You also need basic financial knowledge to track the cost of meals and find relatively inexpensive products that will allow you to prepare dishes for which guests will come.
And the chef must also have iron patience, because the kitchen is a living organism in which something is constantly happening and sometimes gets out of control. It is important to be able to do multiple tasks and make the right decisions.
Recipe for victory
– Ivan, this is your first professional competition. What do you think made you different from 10 opponents and allowed you to win the gastronomic battle?
– I think my imagination helped me, as well as the ability to combine creativity and simplicity. The reading of foreign gastronomic literature also influenced. I can not stop at one thing, it is important for me to constantly evolve. A chef will learn all his life: many countries, kitchens and chefs, and each of them has its own unique approach to work. The knowledge I receive gives me the desire to move forward.
– How was the strongest participant in the final of the competition determined?
– The concept of competition was conscious consumption, or zero waste, in relation to food. This culture comes only to Russia. The finalists had to cook many dishes in the sense of zero waste from any kind of poultry. It was supposed to be a restaurant dish that would surprise the jury. You can add an accompaniment and your own sauce.
In the end, I cooked duck from my site near Suzdal. Everyone knows the dish when a duck is stuffed with apples. I reconsidered this point and decided to do the opposite: I stuffed the apple itself, which I cooked in duck fat, with three different duck textures. The dish turned out to be the opposite.
– In the competition you cooked dishes from domestic products. How do you choose ingredients for your meals?
– We work mainly with Russian products. We only have two or three places for which we buy something foreign. Since we promote Russian cuisine, we use our products: beets, potatoes, onions, mushrooms … My colleague Nikita Kuzmenko told me that she prefers to buy some products from the hands of grandmothers who grow something on their own. From this, the finished dish not only does not lose, but you do not need to make much marking on it.
– Tell us about the dishes that have become your calling card.
– I am still in search of my style, I continue to learn and observe. Sometimes I think I have finally found my way and will work in it, but when I meet a new chef or visit a restaurant with an unusual serving for the first time, I realize that I am interested. But I’m good at soups.
What is your favorite cuisine and why?
– This is not an easy question. I had the opportunity to work with Indians, Koreans, Thais, Germans, Italians … From a young age I liked pasta and when I learned that there is such a dish as pasta, which is completely different from our pasta, of course, I fell in love Italian cuisine. And when I started working on the author’s kitchen, I found myself drawn to it. Let’s say the chef takes and mixes several kitchens. I found this culinary puzzle very interesting. Now the author’s kitchen is a priority for me.
What healthy dishes can you suggest to our readers?
– Vegetable salads, any high-fiber food, boiled vegetables – do not lose their beneficial properties. I also note the kohlrabi soup, it is dietary and suitable for those who care about their weight. Unfortunately, we have few farms that grow this cabbage, but at the same time it is still popular. It is worth paying attention to the pumpkin soup. Pumpkin has a beneficial effect on health: it improves metabolism, removes cholesterol, strengthens the heart muscle and helps digestion.
Were there any unusual cases in your office?
– Many, but I remember the story that happened in one of the institutions where I was educated. Every day for a business meal, we prepared three types of soup, three hot dishes and a side dish to choose from. They were heated in a specific room in which there was a fire extinguisher. One day one of the inexperienced employees accidentally took this fire extinguisher and threw it. And he shot. What we were preparing from eight in the morning was covered with a white veil. It took us an hour and a half (and we usually did it in four) to prepare lunch again. It was a real challenge, but fortunately we did it.
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