Yet for Baranova, Ukraine represents great untapped potential for fine dining. The country has always been a meeting point of East and West and it’s a key feature of her cuisine.
“Undoubtedly, our cuisine is positively influenced and inspired by the richness of taste and colours of the East, and the iconic of the West,” she says. “Now this is manifested in the fact that local fermentation techniques have begun to be actively used. For example, we produce our own miso pastes and fish sauces; combine various spices of different cultures, including our own; search, explore and create umami tastes; and plate in a style of minimalism or naturalness."
“I combine diametrically opposite techniques, products and cuisines. I take classical French, Italian and Spanish things (e.g. roux, demi-glace, consommé) and add Asian spices or fermented Ukrainian ingredients into them. My own formula is not to be afraid to experiment. Always expand your taste horizons. I integrate this concept in every possible way in all my dishes."
In collaboration with one of the best Ukrainian chefs, Volodymyr Yaroslavsky, Baranova manages Chef’s Table in Kyiv. Here the heart of the restaurant is the kitchen, and it's where Baranova’s and Yaroslavsky’s knowledge and skills are on display. It is the first such fine-dining experience in Ukraine, but it is proving popular and has the potential to change the restaurant scene in Kyiv and the whole country.
“These are new rules, it has been a long and difficult process,” she says. “But worth all the risks. I think our rather successful project will be the starting point for more global changes in the restaurant industry of Ukraine."
“Likewise, the culinary skills of many our chefs have grown exponentially. And, of course, it contributes to international prestigious competitions such as Bocuse D’Or and S.Pellegrino Young Chef, visits of EU media representatives and magazine articles, both The World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards and 50 Next representatives also."
“These activities motivate us to get better and constantly be in a good shape. Now it is really important for us to tell about ourselves. And we are ready to share it.”