Chef Vladimir Mukhin, the leading creator of contemporary Russian cuisine
MOSCOW – In a heavy moment of transition, Chef Vladimir Mukhin assumed that he must be the one to help Russia find its way back to the international gastronomic scene. Therefore, he spent most of his time researching and experimenting with long forgotten ingredients, browsing through old cookbooks and learning from the oldsters. His restaurant, The White Rabbit, is now the 23rd on the world’s 50 best list and the only Russian restaurant to come that far.
“I really hate that period (i.e. the Soviet time) because it destroyed Russian cuisine, and I will do whatever it takes to bring the genuine Russian taste back to the people.”
In the last season of the Netflix series “Chef’s table”, Vladimir Mukhin is a staggering presence. His episode points blank the quintessential Russian spirit – he appears to hunt and catch his own food, in the magical surroundings of Siberia and he feeds the mooses – future ingredients in one of his standout dishes – Moose Lip Dumplings. However, his life story is less about hacking and haggling, but reveals a profound and unexpected inner sensitivity. Chef Mukhin loves his country well enought to sense that it deserves more in matters of cultural representation.
“We cooks should help our national culture to stay unique, pass our traditional cuisine to future generations, and, yes, sometimes surprise our foreign colleagues and tourists. Otherwise we have nothing to say to each other when we meet.”
Hidden Orthodox monasteries and childhood memories, his father’s cookbook and his grandmother’s honey cake are just the right ingredients Chef Vladimir Mukhin has used to create the avant-garde Russian cuisine. His obsession with reinventing old recipices while searching regularly for new interpretations has already won him an international recognition. Even so, he shall not stop untill he brings Russia’s glorious past back to surface, on a Tchaikovsky note.
“I believe Russian cuisine has everything it takes to become the next world trend: unique ingredients, our own techniques of cooking (salting, soaking and baking in the Russian oven) and original dishes that are practically unknown outside Russia.”