In this delicate moment, we have decided that it's more than ever important to give voices to those who need it most. Ukrainian chefs have been in the spotlight recently, participating and hosting International events, collaborations with chefs from all over the globe, opening new concepts in the city, investing in the future, and working hard for it. All appears to be more than fragile in the light of the recent events. Because of this, we want to tell stories from Ukraine and its people during the most crucial moment of their history.
Before digging in the essence of the recent edition of Topot, have a look at a brief recap of the nature of what Topot expeditions are.
It starts with empowerment, with a challenge, with hours of exhausting navigation through the Carpathian forest. Cooking a dish in these extreme conditions becomes a revelation of one's inner strength, confidence, and creativity.
For the majority, this is just fuel to keep going.
Each day of Topot challenged the participants’ mindsets. They had to prepare a gourmet dish using edible wild plants never used before, demonstrating that cooking skills can help one survive in the most extreme environments, meanwhile bringing awareness to the richness of local produce often neglected by Ukrainian chefs.
This time the expedition into the wild was named МОСТ, which means Bridge, that signifies the connection since the latest edition has brought together for the first time chefs from around the world. This is completely the merit of Igor Mezencev, the founder of the projects, the charismatic young man with disarming energy and ideas that sometimes make him look misunderstood by his peers, but you see afterward, that it all was worth it, and he is unstoppable.
To infinity and beyond! - as he likes to repeat.
As set out by the rules, the expedition sees ten young local chefs, who have been joined by five international ones for the special MOСТ edition: Diego Prado, Inaki Bolumburu, Laurence Faber, Abdullah Korkmaz, Olia Hercules.
Being surrounded by the wild nature, its wild forest, and the mountains for five days, with no further connection with the comfort of the outer world, TOPOT is not solely about survival.
It's about taking a risk and being ready for a change, or better transitions that one eventually bears during this experience.
«Somehow I feel like we're from the future.» - says Mezencev
«I have always believed that people who do some unique things were simply born with that goal in mind and strive to achieve it regardless. But only recently have I realized something else - these people from the future came to us as they know what it takes for people to change what is happening.»
For five days chefs are aimed to work shoulder to shoulder to survive the harsh and unpredictable conditions, explore the wild berries, be amused by the richness of the landscape, discover local mushrooms and plants never seen before. The surroundings become the pantry, the dish becomes the challenge, the creation is their win, with primordial taste.