Today we are in VOGUE Café Kiev in Fairmont Grand Hotel Kyiv. This is a special place for those who really take care about what they eat, where and with whom. High quality food, spacy and perfectly decorated interior with amazing Dnipro River view outside the big windows will make your day in VOGUE Café Kiev.
The café embodies the spirit of Vogue, offering a combination of contemporary cuisine, elegant décor and impeccable service. Both the menu and interior design showcase a classical yet contemporary feel, integrating international elements with a traditional Ukraine offering.
We meet Vladimir Bolibrukh, the chef, who shares with us his attitude to gastronomic culture in Kiev and some secrets of cooking 2 seafood dishes.
Vladimir, what will we cook today?
We will prepare a salad with green beans, mushrooms and scallops. The main products are: marinated paprika, boiled mushrooms, green beans, sun-dried tomatoes, scallops and oyster sauce. It is meatless salad. We put on food handling gloves and start cutting the products.
I'll cut green beans, and you will cut paprika. Cut the products with average by size strips.
What are the characteristics of this dish?
It is useful, because here are some vegetables, mushrooms and seafood. This salad we can cook at home. Do not think about the green beans as a second-class product, it is useful and allows you to cook a variety of dishes.
Vladimir, taking into account your 20-year experience and your own approach to cooking, please tell whether you have ever had an idea of creating a culinary school?
There were some requests to make training workshops for housewives. It is a good idea. This knowledge which now is being taught in culinary colleges, doesn’t keep pace with the times. We use different products now and different technologies. A good school would be relevant.
Cooking process: Slice the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
What can you say about gastronomic culture in Kiev now?
Changes take place all the time. In the early 90s French restaurants were popular, in the 2000s Asian and Italian cuisine were the favorite ones. Now pan-Asian cuisine and burgers are in trend. Tastes change and develop.
What is the most unusual dish you’ve cooked?
Well, I didn’t cook snakes and cockroaches. Frog legs, oysters, mussels, live lobsters…Yes, I cooked them. I do not work in an extreme cuisine, so to say.
And are there some complicated dishes from technological standpoint?
The main problem is to deliver the dish from the kitchen to the client and not to destroy it. It is about serving. We decorate a dish in the kitchen, but it needs to be brought through the hall to the customer and not to be destroyed. We have to supply this wow effect to the client.
In the technological sense, cuisine now is so well developed that there are no difficulties. In the beginning of my career we had only oven, frying pan and microwave. Today in the age of technological progress, molecular cuisine, nitrogen and dry ice there is no problem to cook whatever you want. You can even make ice cream in front of guest or to prepare smoked food just with a special smoking gun.
Cooking process: Now we fry the scallops first, take them out and then fry the vegetables in the same pan. Mushrooms are boiled, so they should be fried for a couple of minutes, and then we add beans and tomatoes with paprika. Consistency is important, so that the vegetables should keep their shape.
Read: Dima Shovkoplyas: about the profession of a bartender
What are the special characteristics of the hotel restaurants?
People go in Italian, in French or Japanese restaurant, which specializes in a particular cuisine. The restaurant at the hotel should be able to offer its guests any dish of any cuisine, because it provides comfort and all kinds of services. Therefore, we present various cuisines of the world, and the chef should be able to cook almost everything, and the products must be of the highest quality.
Cooking process: Now we fry the scallops. In order to convey the taste of the main product in the actual salad, vegetables are fried in the same pan, where the scallops have been fried. In this case the dish will have a common feature of all the products in terms of taste. Scallop should turn white from the bottom to the middle, and then we turn it over and cook the same way on the other side until it completely turns white.
Do you have your favorite dish to cook?
I am chef, my profession is creative one and it comes from the heart. Chef is always like an artist, who writes the painting. But I also should be able to create dishes by order, because I want to please my guests with my work. If we talk about a certain dish, I like to cook duck leg. I have my favorite recipe of its preparation.
Cooking process: Scallops are ready, they are golden.
The first step is to marinate the duck. The second one is to fry it. The third step is to melt the fat out of the duck. Then we have to put the duck into its fat, to add spices and oranges, to close up it with the dough and put into the oven for an hour and a half. It turns out very tender then.
Read: Talking and cooking with Fabrizio Righetti
Is it possible to create healthy fast food?
Maybe yes. It's all the same food, even faster. It is a trend now; in this age of fast speeds we need such an approach. But at the same time people tend to healthy food. Ayurvedic food and raw food are the future. Someone will be able to combine these two characteristics like speed and healthy approach to food creating healthy fast food business. You just need to equip this place technologically, that will allow to cook tasty and healthy meals.
What do you think about the food of the future? What will it be?
We already use the technologies, which have been developed by different research institutes for space. These are so-called space technologies. Food was packed in tubes for astronauts. I'm scared to think what will be with the food in the future. I certainly do not want to think that we will eat meals packed in tubes, but it is quite possible. We already use 3D printer to create pizza and chocolate.
Cooking process: All components for our salad are ready. Now we need to serve it. We prepare our oyster sauce by mixing balsamic vinegar, unagi sauce, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and sugar.
Now we cut the scallops in half. Vegetables are carefully spread on the plate, previously mixed with sauce. We lay out the scallops on top of the salad. You can decorate the salad with decorative dough. Our salad is ready.
But we will not stop here and will prepare another dish:
Fried artichokes with prawns, Kalamata olives and sun-dried tomatoes, sprinkled with pine nuts and decorated with fried basil.
Cooking process: Artichokes are not very popular in our country, but in vain. Let you slice marinated artichokes in half. I will cut dried tomatoes. Then we will delete stones out the olives together.
Who are your favorite chefs you would like to study under?
Since I was formed as a chef under French cuisine influence, French great chefs like Alain Ducasse, Paul Bocuse, Joel Robuchon are real masters for me. Each of them has his own secrets and experience.
And do you have favorite Ukrainian chefs?
I have been sous-chef of Denis Komarenko for 6 years. He owns “Tarelka” (Plate) restaurant in Kiev. And I learnt a lot from him. He is a respected chef and a nice person. We still maintain friendly relations with him. He democratized the concept of food. I took over a lot from him in the way he treats people: whether they are celebrities or ordinary visitors he is always polite and prepares dishes in the same highly qualified way.
Cooking process: We take out the stones out the olives, while not cutting them completely, then we cut the shrimps in half lengthwise.
In your opinion, what are the main components of a good restaurant?
If I had my restaurant, I would have paid attention to the comfort of guests, staff and atmosphere of the hall. Team is very important. And, of course, the quality and range of food play the leading role.
Cooking process: We will fry the shrimps, then we add the artichokes, olives, spices.
Why would you recommend a foreigner to come to Ukraine and what food should he/she try here?
A foreigner can get acquainted with our culture, communicate with locals and visit our villages. Our traditions are really interesting and rich. There are a lot of things worth seeing in Kiev. In the Carpathians visitors can enjoy our nature. Foreigners should definitely try our cuisine - a real one, homemade one, out of old fashioned stove. We have much to be proud of. Scorpions stayed in our hotel and we treated them with our cuisine, they really liked it! So, welcome to Ukraine!
Cooking process: Everything is ready and we serve our meal. Garnish it with fried basil leaves and sprinkle with pine nuts. Hot dish is ready! Bon appetite!
Destinations’ chief editor used the opportunity to try these seafood dishes, cooked by Vladimir Bolibrukh, chef who is really the artist of the cozy and stylish Vogue café.
It was delicious! Come and try!
Interviewed by Anna Vishtak, photos Yulia Kurta and VOGUE Cafe Kiev