The blossoming of Ukrainian cuisine: Creative Chefs Summit in Kyiv
At the end of November, two internationally significant events took place at once on the Ukrainian food scene. After it was announced that a new Gastromasa Conference will be held in Ukraine, in addition to the Istanbul convention, the Creative Chefs Summit played out in Kyiv: six renowned international chefs joined their Ukrainian counterparts on the stage of the capital’s Congress Centre.
Ollie Dabbous (Hide, London) and Buster Turner (Rooftop Smokehouse, Barcelona) shared not only cooking techniques but also how their businesses survived the hard times during the pandemic. The research and development chef from Alchemist (Copenhagen), Diego Prado, demonstrated how scientific innovation and research can be incorporated into a menu. Nicolas Decloedt and Caroline Baerten from vegetarian restaurant Humus x Hortense (in Brussels) shared their views on sustainability in the restaurant industry, and their zero-waste approach in botanical gastronomy. Winner of the best pastry chef award at the Best Chef Awards 2020 Xavi Donnay (Lasarte, Barcelona) spoke about the development and integration of the dessert menu and prepared a couple of dishes on a stage.
“I dream that Disney would make the same cartoon about forshmak [a traditional Ukrainian dish made of salty minced herring] as they did about ratatouille,” Saveliy Libkin, a Ukrainian restaurateur, admitted in his speech.
It is noticeable that nowadays the gastronomy of Ukraine is experiencing a great upsurge. Local chefs are thirsty for knowledge and willingly adopt the experience of their foreign colleagues, but their main goal is to preserve and research the traditional cuisine of their country and develop local production.
Igor Mezentsev, chef and founder of the Topot project, explained how he gathered a team of Ukrainian and international chefs for a five-day expedition to the wild forests of Transcarpathia to investigate their flora and fauna. During the trip, the participants walked about 100km and prepared 80 new dishes from local products found in the area. The team included Diego Prado, Iñaki Bolumburu, Abdullah Korkmazn and Olia Hercules, as well as other chefs, journalists and photographers.
Ukrainians are proud of their gastronomic heritage and want to share it with the world. They see big potential in the country’s unique, high-quality ingredients and authentic recipes. Even more gastronomic events await Kyiv next year; it’s clear that this country, with its rich culture and history, has something valuable to share with the international community.
Photos: Courtesy of Creative Chefs Summit
For further information visit the Creative Chefs Summit website here.