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This is the sixth article of a ten-part series featuring interviews with chefs competing in the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014.
Did you know Sergey Berezutskiy was the first Russian chef to intern at the critically-acclaimed Alinea in Chicago? He's also worked for molecular master Anatoly Komm in Moscow. With that kind of experience under his belt, he hopes to walk away the winner of the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014, an annual regatta that unites the Italian passion for sailing and fine dining.
The exciting race will take place on June 13th to 15th between Il Lido in Venice and San Giorgio Island. While sailors and skippers race to make the best time, the chefs will be below deck preparing meals for a panel of judges that includes stellar chefs Gaston Acurio and Helena Rizzo.
Berezutskiy will be competing with nine other chefs for the S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna Young Chef of the Year Award. Other coveted prizes include the People's Choice Award and the first-ever Critic's Choice Award, both sponsored by Acqua Panna.
In anticipation of the big event, FDL reached out to Berezutskiy to talk about the future of fine dining. Here's our exclusive interview with this talented young chef:
Describe yourself in three keywords.
Ambitious, tolerant, curious.
How would you define your cooking style?
I love working with local seasonal products. For me, the most important thing is the quality and freshness of the products used. In my opinion, the dish should have an idea. Submission, serving, taste, aroma these are four sides, which should emerge together. In this case the both me and my restaurant guests will be satisfied with the dish.
Which is your signature dish? Can you briefly describe it?
Mussels baked in parchment. At the first glance the dish is very simple but it is only at the first glance. Featuring high technologies, we have almost ceased to write letters on paper to each other. That’s sad. I wanted to remind myself and others that this is so cool. I serve mussels in the mail envelope. So they retain their distinctive flavor. Guests write their letters and so I give them not only a delicious meal, but also a very special emotions and memories. Therefore, this dish is one of my favorites.
Who or what is your main source of inspiration? Why?
Inspiration does not come by an order. This can be anything: a walk in the park , children laugh, street artists who draw portraits. This can be a flavor or a sudden recollection of something from the childhood, beautiful music or interesting movie. Inspiration is all around us and it always arrives on time.
Tradition and innovation: which is the relationship with these words in your cuisine?
Excellent relationship. High technology should help, but not in any way replacing human labor. If you use all the gadgets with the mind, the result will be great.
What is fine dining for you? How do you think the new generations are changing this idea and making it evolving?
For me fine dining is first of all the great quality of the dish, i.e. the quality of the products used, the way of cooking it and the idea. The new generations as I see use more and more new techniques and technologies.
Next big trends related to food and conviviality?
Fresh, organic and seasonal products have always been in trend and will have.
The food you’d happily die eating.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
Anyway, I would become a chef (smiles). Since my childhood I helped my mother in the kitchen and from that moment I began to realize that this is really what I like. The time goes on but this idea is only strengthening.