Michelin Guide Russia: happiness, surprises, disappointments.
Russia becomes the 33rd country in the world to welcome the Michelin guide. So many revelations, so many surprises and even disappointments. What happened at the awards ceremony and why was it the right time for the guide to finally arrive in Russia.
20 October 2021
Speaking with Vladimir Mukhin after the event, he says: “Michelin said that for them the 5 factors were important for their work - product quality, technique, harmony in the dish, creativity of the chef and stability. I think the guide has come to us now because we are ready and we have something to show the inspectors. "
And he is right.
If the technique and creativity of the chefs were never lacking and harmony in the dish will always remain subjective, after the political and food crisis - embargo, of 2015, the quality and variety of Russian products could finally attract the French. This is also confirmed by Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Red guide, saying that "Moscow was never as gastronomically attractive as it is now".
Yes, Moscow, not the whole of Russia, because this year's edition will only cover the city of Moscow. This was also allowed by the government, the Moscow tourism office and the capital's mayor - Sergey Sobyanin, who in recent years have helped a lot to bring the guide to the city as soon as possible.
"We are really grateful to our politicians, mayor and tourism office for allowing us to have Michelin in Moscow so soon," - confirms Mukhin, not hiding that the arrival of Michelin in the Russian capital marks a new beginning.
Beginning that finally brings attention to gastronomic Russia which has so much to reveal. Which, in part, the Michelin guide tried to showcase and surprised us. The 2022 edition of the Michelin guide for Moscow awarded a total of 69 restaurants in the capital, of which 45 were "selected by Michelin", 15 received the Bib Gourmand award (average bill about 25 euros) and another 9 received stars, one or two.
If the star for Andrei Shmakov's Savva restaurant - a true icon of Russian Fine Dining, was predictable enough, like that of chef Evgeny Vikentiev of Beluga restaurant - a brave young chef who doesn't like the term "combination of incongruous", the surprise reserves us the star of Ekaterina Alekhina and her "Biologie", opened only in the month of March of 2021.
No one expected that this young woman of a thousand talents (restoration of antique objects and furniture, diving, beekeeping, Japanese language) could have the star for her sustainable project already in the first edition, taking into account that she has been cooking professionally only since the month of March of the current year.
“For me, apart from being happy and grateful, this recognition gives great hope that I have taken the right path despite everything,” confesses Ekaterina. The only woman in the guide to receive the star, she is also awarded with the green star (released for ecological and sustainable commitment in the restaurant) together with Twins Garden by brothers Ivan and Sergey Berezutskiy and Best Young Chef of the year also chosen by Michelin in the same evening - Nikita Poderyagin, Bjorn restaurant.
The first star was also received by the French chef David Hemmerle for the Grand Cru restaurant, as well as Alexey Kogay for the Sakhalin restaurant of the White Rabbit group.
Many weren't aiming for the last one, but, instead, the guide shows that the first of the five key factors - product quality, decides a lot, and Sakhalin confirms it with, perhaps, the best proposal for seafood in Russian territory.
The first star was also awarded to the two other chefs of the White Rabbit group - Anatoly Kazakov and… Vladimir Mukhin.
And, if, when they announced the name of Kazakov, the hall applauded without ceasing from happiness and gratitude, as soon as Mukhin's name was announced, many lost their sight: no one was expecting just a star for White Rabbit.
Disappointment? Definitely yes. A chef who brought "the Russian identity and idea" out of his country and made the world discover what they are definitely meant to be, deserved more recognition. But we cannot judge the inspectors.
"Receiving a star means a lot. But from now on we have to work even harder, to confirm the results and guarantee satisfaction to our guests. Once you have taken the star you have to know how to keep it,” says Mukhin, not hiding that the second star would not be a bad idea to him.
But this was not the only sensation of the evening.
The real controversy arose around the two stars awarded to the Artest restaurant by restaurateur Arkady Novikov and chef Artem Estafiev.
There is no other restaurant in the Russian capital that has been accepted with such skepticism as Artest. There is no other restaurant in the Russian capital that has lived its life since opening (March 2021) with so much criticism and controversy, and the award night created a new reason for those.
These two stars were not expected by anyone. The chef, Artem Estafiev admits that for him too it was a real surprise: "I least expected it. I'm happy, of course, but I'm ready for the new" noises "that will come around.
Our path is not easy, I knew it from the beginning and from the first criticisms received, but if for someone we still have to do more to deserve this recognition, we accept every observation and we will strive to grow further. But from now on we know what we are worth ”.
Brave and strong response, like the positioning of their restaurant that never shook in front of critics and journalists.
Another restaurant that receives two stars is Twins Garden, with two twin brothers at the helm - Ivan and Sergey Berezutskiy. But this only created a triumphant, happy and positive effect that night because twins garden has also received the green star and the award for best service.
“On the day of the award we took part in a historic event for Moscow and the whole country. The most authoritative guide in the world has shown that there are great restaurants and good cooks in this city. Michelin also made us understand what we will have to do in the next few years, what we are missing. This serves not only the capital, but also other Russian cities, where we hope the guide will soon arrive.
Are we happy? Infinitely! We are still in shock, we did not expect to receive 2 stars, they seemed unattainable. Honestly, it was one of the happiest days for us, ”- comments Ivan Berezutski of their glory in the first edition of the Michelin guide in Moscow.
Thus, with the great triumph of the twins, the award ceremony ended.
Many surprises, many things expected and not but first of all great joy and happiness.
The Michelin guide that arrived in Russia marks a new future for the whole country by demonstrating to the world that Moscow today is a true gastronomic center and worth paying attention to.
Many beautiful and good things await us because those people really want to write beautiful pages in the gastronomic history of Moscow and Russia.