In Norilsk on April 27, the first gastronomic festival “NORTH” was launched on the initiative of “Norilsk Nickel”. For several days the city turned into a culinary paradise for any gourmet, and especially for lovers of traditional northern dishes. Prepare at the festival, not only local, but also specially invited cooks. Lenta.ru talked with them about what local products have the greatest potential, what Norilsk chefs lack and what is the main merit of the gastro-festival.
Anatoly Kazakov, chef of the restaurant Selfie:
There is an opinion that the northern cuisine is too specific, that it will not be to the liking of the majority. But it is not so. Yes, it will be unusual for those who do not get out of sushi bars and all sorts of McDonald’s, but for a person who understands food and gastronomy, the northern food, on the one hand, is absolutely ordinary, and on the other – is invariably interesting. Than?
Well, firstly, with its unique products. For example, now in Norilsk high season of steep fish: smelt, whitefish, muxun. Here caviar. Here is an incredibly steep venison. There are white polar partridges and polar hares. These are all products with which it is incredibly interesting to work and whose potential needs to be developed in order to be able to show the authenticity of northern cuisine both in the North and in all other Russian regions.
And secondly, most of the products here are seasonal: here the summer lasts only a couple of months, there is almost no off-season. Seasonality is a serious trend of recent times, because it affects the taste of the product: say, the same whitefish or omul here in Norilsk, and somewhere in the Baikal are quite noticeable. The same goes for venison: in the Krasnoyarsk and Murmansk regions it is completely different. It is important to understand everything – and lovers to eat, and cooks. I, say, working with local products, are very good at gaining experience. In the Norilsk gastronomy festival, for example, I liked working with polar hares and wild partridges. And I tried to show what interesting can be done with them. After all, it turns out what? Now these products are seasonal, and in local restaurants you can hardly find them.
In this I see the main problem that the festival must solve: to convince the northern chefs that it is necessary not to copy the European menu, but to create their own, interesting from local seasonal products that need to be loved and appreciated. And based on local culinary traditions. For example, I very much regret that I do not have enough time to move away from Norilsk to the villages where indigenous people live and get to know their cuisine. But what prevents the cooks from doing this?
Georgy Troyan, chef of the restaurant “Northerners”:
The main merit of the “NORTH” gastronomy festival is that it proves: Russian cuisine – including the cuisine of the Russian North – has become a world trend.
As for me personally, I came here to show both Russian and foreign cooks what wonderful dishes can be prepared from a local specialty. Today, for example, I will cook the heart of a deer. But there is still muxun, smelt … It’s amazing! I very often cook from these products in Moscow, and for some reason they are not very popular in Norilsk. So I decided to introduce the local cooks to their experience, and most importantly, to the resources that they have at hand, but whose potential has not yet been uncovered. Here, let’s say, what I cook in my restaurant: I bake a cake, I slit deer meat, making a kind of basturma out of it, and then rub it on a grater so that the meat gets an airy texture. Then I fall asleep meat in a cake. Often I use caviar eggs …
This, however, is a mutual process: personally, I only here, at the “NORTH” festival, I realized how different is the taste of local products from their analogues with which we work in Moscow. Here their quality is incredibly high. It’s a pity that we did not pay attention to this before, but now, of course, the embargo has greatly facilitated that we become better acquainted with our Russian products. That’s all used to Dorado and sea bass. But, I assure you, muxun is no worse! The main thing is to be able to work with him.
In general, my conclusion is this: yes, it would be strange to cook even in Norilsk restaurants only from northern products, but not use them at all – a crime. The same goes for local dishes. I like, say, like frozen fish. So I want to wish the local chefs one thing: “Stop looking at Moscow and cook what’s being cooked here!” You have your good quality product and good recipes. So develop this potential! “