Restaurateur Andrey Dellos in an interview with RG about what a post-Soviet person eats and why the cuisine of the USSR is specific

Is it true that you are fed up with delicacies?

Andrew Dellos: Here’s the thing. I’m pretty good at French cuisine. I have many fellow French chefs. But there is … almost a joke. When my friends and I in Paris or New York leave some Michelin-starred restaurant, the phrase is often said: “Listen, can’t you eat anywhere normally here?”

What is normal food for a Russian and post-Soviet person?

Andrew Dellos: The same as for an American or a European. There are no successful Italian or French restaurants in the US. American-Italian and American-French establishments thrive there. The USA is completely tied to its basic taste. In the same way, the Russians are attached to it, the Chinese, like the whole world – to its own. If tomorrow my friend Chef No. 1 of France starts preparing his own cuisine, then in Russia it will not last long without an editorial staff.

What is the base flavor?

Andrew Dellos: Our? The taste of the peoples of the USSR. This is a heritage, a kind of cultural mark that we bear on ourselves. It is in our genes and is inherited. Therefore, eating alien food, and such are many European, Pan-Asian and American dishes for the Russian mouth and more widely – the mouths of the neighboring peoples, is possible in the order of knowing the world, entertainment or showing off. But sooner rather than later, people return to their dumplings and pilaf. This is not to be changed. Young people, eating hamburgers, want their own food.

But the cuisines of the world are taking root in our country, and there is a division regarding the Soviet one. Like, the USSR “took” borsch from Ukrainians, from Asia – dumplings, from the Caucasus – shish kebab and passes everything off as Soviet cuisine. What would you say?

Andrew Dellos: It’s even good. There is an awareness of oneself and one’s place in the world. Why did I open Cafe Pushkin in New York, Paris, in the Arab world? There, people could not believe that this is how they eat in Russia. This is the progress that leads to the fact that we are subconsciously built into the world of values ​​that are worth sharing so as not to fall out of the nature of everyday life. “So tasty!” – told me. I’m like, “Yes, we eat like this every day.” And I’m not lying. They spoke like that about ordinary dumplings. In Paris, Russian dumplings are often preferred to both Italian ravioli, which is easy, and Chinese dumplings, which are oh-so-hyped. And now, when those who believe that dumplings or borscht are “stolen from us”, they are surprised to learn that dumplings and borscht, like bread and wine, are everywhere. You see, this is how people learn to appreciate their achievements and pay tribute to strangers.

God forbid a Western gourmet to offer Russian jelly, Armenian khash or Kazakh beshbarmak, and even worse – borscht, dill and – oh horror! – buckwheat. And the heroes of Dumas were not averse to having a bite of fried chicken and ham, washed down with plenty of dry wine. When there was money, thick soup, cheese, fish and fruits were added. Photo:

Do you have a favorite food or cuisine?

Andrew Dellos: I am a restaurateur. It is difficult to bring me into a state of euphoria, but simply surprise me with food. I am a machine that constantly analyzes texture, juiciness, taste, and so on. To turn off my brain, I’m going to the south of Italy, to Japan and, perhaps, to Azerbaijan. In these places, gastronomic euphoria develops into euphoria of the spirit. I love food that strengthens the spirit. Now this is an Azerbaijani dushbara with cilantro, kutaby in all forms, dolma, if it is made in the Caucasus. Well, I won’t refuse barbecue, it’s already coded in us.

After French and Russian, you switched to Soviet cuisine…

Andrew Dellos: The cuisine of the peoples of the USSR has its own face. You can’t confuse him with anything. What I ate in New York, London and Paris in “Russian” restaurants was a parody of what I ate in Baku, Tbilisi or Moscow. You have to go for Soviet cuisine. It is not easy to reproduce it abroad, as well as foreign, the same Italian, with us. For example, Caucasian cuisine, especially Azerbaijani cuisine, is a product cuisine, just like Italian cuisine. These are simple recipes, but these cuisines are based on the author’s nuances and the base product – on what grows on a particular land. The Italians have a principle: the product is a miracle, the main thing is not to spoil it twice – during processing and cooking. Caucasian cuisine, by the way, was not known in the Soviet Union as it was known in Tsarist Russia. This is where Soviet cuisine grew from: it is a modernization of the pre-revolutionary cuisine of the peoples of Russia.

It turns out that in Moscow, national restaurants cannot be native, are they “inspired”?

Andrew Dellos: There’s a contest in New York where contestants share which hamburger recipe they’ve discovered. “And atabout hamburger?” – the Americans are surprised. An approximate picture is emerging with the renaissance of Caucasian and Central Asian cuisine. The desire to taste them is growing, but the knowledge of the recipe, the native combination of products and the “chips” of local chefs is not enough. this often happens. For example, Azerbaijani scrambled eggs “Yumurta-tomato” as soon as they do not – with sturgeon, nuts, pomegranate seeds – one of the most famous. And they forgot that yumurta is just scrambled eggs with tomatoes and cheese. This approach of the Caucasus – breakfast should be simple, but magical, and I try to bring it back.Why did the same Caucasian kyukyu – an omelet with herbs – spread around the world?It is incredibly biological: a person eats almost only herbs, and the omelet is delicious.The world is hunting for vegetable dishes, and here such a treasure.

The General Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU knew a lot about Soviet cuisine: he adored the traditional kurnik with rice, chicken, eggs and mushrooms, pancakes, juicy pasties, chicken noodles and pork bone soup. The photo was taken in Baku, 1971. To the left of Leonid Brezhnev, the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, to the right, head of the General Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, Konstantin Chernenko. Photo: Vladimir Musaelyan / TASS

So, maybe we should play on the satiety of the world with exotics and standards and give a new taste – “Stalin’s Favorite Khinkali”, “Yumurta – Revolutionary’s Breakfast”? Or Qatar, without waiting for us, is promoting us. There, the Russian appetizer “Modest” – pancakes with red caviar – enjoys wild success.

Andrew Dellos: Here! Soviet cuisine has not been promoted by us for all 70 years of the USSR. This is the legacy of an inferiority complex, which we, the new Russia, still bear without a murmur, but we are beginning to appreciate our own.

Soviet cuisine can become a hit?

Andrew Dellos: World? Not sure. Soviet taste, like Pan-Asian or Latin American, is specific. God forbid a Western gourmet or a Chinese to offer Russian jelly, Armenian khash or Kazakh beshbarmak. But there is the principle of a delicious point i, when every kitchen has something that brings together tastes. Such points are hits.

Number of catering outlets in the Russian Federation by national cuisines

According to the portal

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