You are a romantic person?
Yes. I believe in pure love. It seems to me that it still exists. It's just that it's harder to remain a romantic in big cities. But I am like that, and I am pleased to do some romantic things for people.
When was the last time you read poetry?
Recently. Moreover, very romantic. Posted by Edward Estlin Cummings - ed. The poem is called "I carry your heart in me." One girl told me and I really liked it. I even found the original in English. Not a single romance …
How many times a day do you eat?
I definitely have breakfast. Basically, I cook porridge - oatmeal, rice, millet. I can add maple syrup or crumble cookies to the porridge. Then I eat at work and in the evening. On average, it turns out three times a day. Although at work - not always. When, for example, you need to come up with something, it is better to do it on an empty stomach. Thoughts like "now I would eat …" arise when a person is hungry. I definitely cook at home on Saturday or Sunday. This is an integral part of the weekend.
Did you have to go on a diet?
I go to the gym and at some point, for the sake of interest, I wanted to go on a diet to dry out. I ate mostly protein foods. Up to four o'clock you could eat 50 grams of carbohydrates - that's just nothing. Because at seven o'clock your body is so hungry, and you can only eat vegetables and proteins. I sat for a week even without salt. And, naturally, he didn't eat sweets. In general, I am a fan of sweet, good pastries. On weekends, I definitely go to a good bakery to eat a croissant. Therefore, this point was the biggest torture for me. But after two weeks of the diet, you put a piece of chocolate in your mouth, and this is how you feel it … My friend - sous-chef pastry chef Artem - keeps urging me to go on a vegetarian diet. Why not? I don't usually fast. But this year I decided to fast for at least the last two weeks - just for myself, to see how the body reacts.
How do you feel about “health products” - fat-free, fortified, non-GMO?
I understand that there is a production policy, a huge industry that makes big money. But I believe in small farms. There are, of course, good industrial products. You have to choose. For example, if the milk I buy is stored for five to seven days, it means that it has very few chemical components. But about apples, which are so shiny that you can see your reflection in them, I doubt it. We are the generation of gloss, we see everything through television, magazines and billboards embellished and exaggerated. But you need to understand that natural products have never been beautiful, as in the picture. Somehow I don’t remember that my grandmother had shiny apples in the garden. And the tastiest tangerines in Morocco are the ugliest. Not the ones we sell with black diamonds on the side. As far as the harm of GMO foods is concerned, no one has any evidence of their benefits or harms. Low-fat foods are simply diluted and therefore less tasty.
Who would you like to feed?
Close and dear people. I rarely get the opportunity to feed my mom, but I always do it with joy. And my sister. Then it was a great joy and honor for me to feed Eneko Atha, the chef of the Azurmendi restaurant (three Michelin stars - ed.) In Bilbao, when he was with us on tour. Azurmendi is ranked 26th in the top 50 best restaurants in the world. And this man didn't just eat what I cooked, he took pictures of the dishes and asked how what was cooked. Such a moment is worth 17 years of my work. And, of course, every evening we gladly feed all our guests.
What would you like to try yourself?
I would try puffer fish. But I wouldn't eat fried cockroaches, unlike ants. I can't, after all, eat everything. Although somehow my friends and I went to Hong Kong and agreed there for the sake of interest to try everything. But there, thank God, there were no nasty things. One of the strangest things I've ever tasted is hot sweet water with a raw egg in it. This is eaten for breakfast. Recently, I am surprised not so much by the interpretations of the chefs as by the most traditional things. In Spain, I tried a classic Mexican appetizer - pork stew in a bun. Then an American friend told me that it was stewed pork, to which burnt bananas and a couple of pieces of chocolate were added. Essentially a traditional Mexican mole sauce. Another example is ceviche, which is popular with us now. This is a traditional South American snack.
What's your favorite dish?
When I was little, my mom made a walnut pie for New Years. And when I already became a cook, I asked her for a pie recipe. "What kind of cake?" - "Yours, with nuts" - "Yes, I never made a pie with nuts." I never remembered. And even now, if I close my eyes, I see a frying pan, and in it there is a pie with a crispy crust. He was lovely. I also always liked how my mother cooks kharcho. I would never refuse. Yes, in general, there is not a lot of food in the world that I will refuse. Although there is. The vinaigrette. I can't digest it since kindergarten. Until the age of 22, I did not perceive boiled beets at all as food.
What is always home to eat?
Milk. Eggs. Porridge. Avocado. Lettuce leaves. Eggplant. But what it is impossible to live without is butter. I prefer the farm, but if there is no way to get to the market, I take Vologda. When I was training in America, we became friends with one chef, and then we went to rest with him and his girlfriend in Barcelona. He is a cook, I am a cook. All the talk about food and women. And we had such a joke: "Butter or …". For example, "Butter or a girl?" That is, if you choose a girl, you can never use butter in the kitchen. Lots of alternative options.
And who won more often?
Five undeservedly forgotten foods
Quinoa is a pseudo-grain crop that resembles porridge when finished. The first consumers - the Incas - called quinoa the "golden grain". The protein content of quinoa is 16.2%. This is more than in any cereal, and as much as in buckwheat. The Dalai Lama advocates the cultivation of quinoa in Tibet and the Himalayas, and scientists want to cultivate it everywhere. Most importantly, quinoa is a fruit.
Spelled is a special kind of wheat that makes a very bad flour, but excellent cereal. Spelled contains a record amount of vegetable protein - up to 37%, 18 essential amino acids, B vitamins, and all this is remarkably absorbed.
Parsnips are sweet, tasty, one of the most beloved vegetables in Europe. The root of the parsnip is called the white root. It is boiled, baked and put in a salad.
Root celery is the healthiest part of the plant. Celery root is prepared in every possible way, including salting. But the healthiest option is to eat it raw, for example, in a salad with carrots and apples. A very dietary dish, if you fill it not with mayonnaise, but with vegetable oil.
Goatbeard is also called "devil's beard". The most widespread species in culinary is Goatbeard. This is also a root, also white, and in Europe it is also prepared in various ways. It's time to learn from experience.
Recipe from Anton Kovalkov: caramelized brioche with lavender and black currant ice cream
For one dessert: 1 brioche, 60 g sugar, a pinch of lavender, 100 ml milk, 100 ml 35% cream, 1 egg, 45 g black currant ice cream.
For lavender mousse: 300 ml milk, 300 ml 35% cream, 40 g sugar, 3 g dry lavender.
Pickled cherries: 100 g fresh frozen cherries, 14 g sugar, 14 g water, 10 yuzu juice.
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Cut the brioche to make a 3cm flat washer and soak in a mixture of milk, sugar, cream, lavender and egg overnight. If you are not going to fry, do not add an egg to the mixture. But if you want the brioche to be warm, fry it on both sides in butter before serving and then caramelize it.
To make the mousse, pour milk and cream into a bowl, add lavender and sugar, heat, remove from heat, let stand for 20 minutes, pour into a cream siphon and let cool. Then fill the siphon with gas cylinders.
Heat the cherries slightly in water with sugar and yuzu juice and cool.
The last step is to sprinkle the brioche with sugar and caramelize. Place lavender mousse, cherries and ice cream on a plate nearby. Dessert is ready!