Despite WWII, Soviet isolation, and the current food embargos, Russia has a thriving cuisine revolution occurring. Few think of Russia as having a cuisine, if they do it is not too far off think of solely borscht and potatoes.
Before the Russian revolution, they were on par with European cuisine and somehow lost their way. Many new generation chefs are spending their lives trying to bring Russian history to the masses while putting modern twists to the plate.
The new season of Chef’s Table 2017 came out in February. One episode devoted 56 minutes to Vladimir Mukhin who has devoted his entire life to bringing Russian cooking to the masses.
Mukhin is a fifth-generation chef who grew up in his father’s restaurant preparing Russian classics. As most do, he began to rebel against his father and left the small town of Essentuki to Moscow where he became obsessed with modern cooking techniques. He eventually became a sous chef in France where he collaborated on a menu.
When he saw that the French clients were amazing with their experience he realized modernity and Russian history could co-exist on a plate.
Mukhin works at White Rabbit in Moscow, when Putin’s embargo went up they were already working with mainly Russian ingredients and so they flourished. He now spends his days researching old recipes and travelling the nation to find new ingredients or techniques.
One technique reported on the episode was moose lip dumplings. Taking a rural specialty and turning into a fancy palatable dish. This year he made number 18 on the World’s Best Restaurant List, bringing home a trophy for Russia.