Ivan and Sergej Beresuzki from Twins Garden: Two stars for the kitchen and one for organic
Photo: Alexander Nemenov / AFP
After years of struggle for international recognition, Russia's national cuisine is now on its way.
The famous soup borscht, pelmeni and beef stroganoff, along with delicacies such as Kamchatka crabs, caviar and sturgeon, have long been the epitome of authentic Russian national cuisine.
Now the gourmet nation France is celebrating gastronomy in the capital of the largest country in the world in terms of area for the first time with its red restaurant guide "Guide Michelin".
Moscow "is a culinary jewel that reveals a splendid variety of national and international cuisine," says Gwendal Poullennec, the international director of the Michelin guides, in the capital.
Since the end of the Soviet Union, Russia's gastronomy scene has »reinvented itself« and is becoming »more and more dynamic«.
The red French restaurant guide Michelin honored top chefs for the first time at a ceremony on Thursday evening in a concert hall near the Kremlin - and immediately honored nine restaurants with at least one star.
This has made the city one of the world's best gourmet travel destinations.
The testers worked for five years, says Poullennec.
Twins Garden by the twins Ivan and Sergej Beresuzki was awarded as the best restaurant.
The brothers speak of a "historic event" for Russia.
They not only received two Michelin stars, but also a green star as an organic restaurant and an award for the best service.
"Today is a historic event for the entire restaurant market - Moscow has really become one of the gastronomic capitals of the world," said Ivan Berezuzky.
The Twins Garden, which is located on Moscow's inner boulevard, offers a “symbiosis of science and nature” and gets its products from its own farm.
Artjom Jestafjew (Artest-Chef's Table) also received two stars.
There was one star each for Anatoli Kasakow (Selfie), Evgeni Wikentjew (Beluga), David Hemmerlé (Grand Cru), Wladimir Muchin (White Rabbit), Jekaterina Aljochina (Biology), Alexej Kogaj (Sakhalin) and Andrei Schmakow (Savva).
None of the 69 recommended restaurants achieved a three-star rating.
Embargo on EU products makes finding ingredients more difficult
Wladimir Muchin from White Rabbit: "I think it's bad that I can't buy French cheese here"
Photo: Ulf Mauder / dpa
For Wladimir Muchin from the White Rabbit restaurant, this is a longed-for victory after a long and difficult journey.
"It is recognition for Russian cuisine, an accolade for my team and me, a step, a motivation that we are still developing," says the 38-year-old overjoyed.
He recalls that under the Communists of the Soviet Union, cookbooks were used throughout the country according to strictly regulated standards - without creativity.
His goal today is to make Russian culinary art known internationally.
The restaurant has long been considered the first address in Moscow for everyone who likes Russian cuisine in a modern style.
At Muchin, for example, braised white cabbage meets a creamy sauce with red caviar or forest mushrooms meet cod.
"We live a lot on seasonal products," he says.
He admits that he is annoyed that there has been a Russian embargo on food from the EU for years.
"I think it's bad that I can't buy French cheese here," says the chef, who also studied in France.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the import of meat, dairy products, fruit and vegetables in response to sanctions imposed by the EU and the US on the country for its aggressive policies in Ukraine. However, many Russian farmers have now learned to make cheese like in Italy or France, says Muchin. The search for good ingredients is time-consuming because of the import ban. Overall, however, there is no sign of a shortage economy in Russia as it was during the Soviet era.
"We now have a few private farmers who grow carrots, tomatoes, cabbage and everything we need organically and without pesticides, as befits a kitchen of this quality," he says.
For a long time it was like "Russian roulette" to find reliable suppliers.
"The success of a restaurant depends 70 percent on the good quality of the products," says Muchin, born in Jessuntiki in the Caucasus.
Sushi and Caucasian in the covered market
Moscow, the largest city in Europe, relies on passionate and innovative chefs.
Mayor Sergej Sobyanin sees good Russian cuisine in addition to sights such as the Red Square with the Kremlin as a magnet to attract visitors from all over the world.
"With the Michelin Guide, our city presents itself to tourists and Muscovites themselves in a different way," he says.
After being temporarily closed due to the corona pandemic, the restaurants in the metropolis with its well over twelve million inhabitants are packed again.
In recent years, several food courts have opened in huge market halls - in which there is everything from sushi to Uzbek and Caucasian cuisine to pizza.
30 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there are now star restaurants for the first time in what was once the first communist state in the world.
Sobyanin said there were still many stars in Moscow - at the Kremlin from the communist era, for example. The reaction is clear: Moscow has long since embarked on a new era. There are 15,000 restaurants in Moscow. "This is a new era for the Russian restaurant industry," said restaurant expert Gennady Josefavichus of the Reuters news agency. “Before that, our catering business existed in a certain vacuum. We rated ourselves and applauded ourselves. But now we will have a system known around the world that works in many countries. "
But it is also clear that the vast majority of Russians can hardly afford food in the stars that have now been awarded the Michelin stars.
The pensions in Russia are the equivalent of around 200 euros.
And even professors go home with average wages of around 50,000 rubles (around 600 euros).
However, the head of the Michelin guide Poullennec emphasizes that there is something for everyone in a new restaurant guide - even for those on a low budget.
Moscow offers a good price-performance ratio with a total of 15 restaurants in which there is a meal for the equivalent of less than 25 euros.
Ulf Mauder, dpa / AFP / abl