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There’s Always a Story Behind

The goal Food’n’Chef Project is to shed some light on those who often stay behind the scenes – food chefs. We eat out daily in cafes, restaurants and bistros, but the interactions we have are mostly with waiters and managers. However, those who are responsible for the food often stay unnoticed. I want to bring back some justice and show those amazing people and their dishes in this great international project.

This is a truly unique project. I travel the world and tell a story about the best chefs and dishes they make. Each story has breathtaking facts about the chef and a story about his favourite dish.

100+ Chefs from more than 15 countries of the world, their Success Stories and Recipes. This is a unique and one-of-a-kind Project.

Chefs by Countries:

Asia:   Armenia   Hong Kong   Israel   Malaysia   Singapore
Europe:   Czech   Germany France   Italy   Poland   Russia   Spain   Turkey   Ukraine

Andrei Makhov, Chef at Pushkin Restaurant

Andrei Makhov, Chef at Café Pushkin

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I am against ‘deafness’ in all aspects, and above all, heart ‘deafness’. I feel flavour with my nose and texture and shapes with my hands, and I do certainly analyze. That’s the way the best recipes are born and new tastes are discovered. That’s the way how real chefs grow up. I am Andrei Makhov, chef of restaurant ‘Pushkin’ in Moscow.

Micha Schäfer, Chef at Nobelhart & Schmutzig

Micha Schäfer, Chef at Nobelhart & Schmutzig

I’m the eldest of six children, old beyond years, responsible and at the same time very funny. Do you think I did not have a childhood? Nonsense! We spent all free time outside, come up with the games and always supported, even the crazy ideas of each other. My family sometimes jokes that to become a chef is one of them. I’m Michael Schaefer, Chief at Nobelhart & Schmutzig restaurant, funny guy and a serious leader.

Sebastian Frank, Chef at Horváth

Sascha Ludwig, Chef at Filetstück das Gourmetstück

Thuringia is a small land, geographically the same tiny as my native Hera. Its population hardly amounts to a hundred thousand inhabitants. And no large industrial objects. A typical quiet province with a steady rhythm and German traditions. And my understanding of eternal values has originated from all that. My name is Sasha Ludwig, I’m a chef of the “Filetstück das Gourmetstück” restaurant.

Sebastian Frank, Chef at Horváth

Sebastian Frank, Chef at Horváth

My name is Sebastian Frank, I’m the worst student, a chef and an owner of Horváth restaurant. I was growing up a very obedient and independent boy. It was not possible otherwise, as I was the youngest of three sons in our family. My mother was always at work. As soon as one finished, she ran to the other that we had food and clothing. Mom brought us not only responsible for our actions, but also for each other. While being very young, I warmed the cooked food and served it to other family members. Over time, I began to cook myself, often experimented, thus I became more and more convinced in my professional future – to become a chef.

Sergey Shpyakin, Chef at Rokka

Sergey Shpyakin, Chef at Rokka

My life dies not remind those success stories like ".. and suddenly I woke up famous." I was not the best pupil at school or the most diligent student. I was not dreaming of the world stage and universal fame. I did not get the inheritance and did not spend my blueberry nights in the company of sudden crazy acquaintances. I was cutting, tearing, making my hands dirty, breaking and bringing together, but in the end it turned out not only as pleasure out of all of that. I received the highest score from himself, joyful emotions from those who do care, and unique experience that is worth all the millions of this life. My name is Sergey Shpyakin, and I'm a chef at Rokka restaurant.

Sergey Kutenko, Chef at Old Bus

Sergey Kutenko, Chef at Old Bus

I was born and raised in a friendly and united family, with a tiny kitchen, with steamy windows, appetizing savours, I could smell even from the outside yard and with my mom who inspired my for that bright culinary future. I'm really proud of my parents, who not just "raised" me. They showed the world to me. I was travelling with them as a child, we visited cafes and restaurants that was quite unusual for that time. I was amazed by each movement of the chef and my inner desire to master this art was growing.

Alexandr Ghazaryan, chef at Haykanush Restaurant

Alexander Ghazaryan, Chef at Haykanush Restaurant

My name is Alexander Ghazaryan, a simple guy from Dilijan, chef of Haykanush restaurant. Maybe it sounds strange, but since my childhood I’ve been imagined how I would entertain my dear guests, welcoming them in my kitchen. I was an ordinary boy, spent lots of time at the street, stuffed bumps and received remarks from teachers. And at the same time I was stunned at the doorway of our little kitchen, where my mother and grandmother were busy, humming Armenian songs. Aromas, colors, sounds filled me with deep national spirit.

Jacky Chan, Chef at Tsui Hang Village

Jacky Chan, Chef at Tsui Hang Village

Actually, cooking is my job as well as my hobby. I love to create new recipes and improvise with anything that I have, no matter they are Asian or Western ingredients. My favorite ingredients are beef and seafood.

Arman Akopyan

Arman Akopyan, Chef at Avant Dzoraget

I am Arman Akopyan, a young Armenian chef, who will never grow up. No, I am not that kind of Peter Pan, you might think about. I am rather a curious boy, always interested in something new to try and to serve and of course ready to learn something new every day of my life. I think God has given me the cooking talent in advance as I was far from that in my childhood. I was a usual boy with scars and crazy ideas, fishing in the river and dreaming of the far away lands to travel.

Alejandro Sanchez and Wijannarongk Kunchit, Chefs at NAMO_HD_rsz

Alejandro Sanchez and Wijannarongk Kunchit, Chefs at NAMO

My spanish roots will always influence the style I live and create food. I am Alejandro Sanchez, a true spanish chef. I am lucky to be born in a cooking funs. My family is involved into a restaurant business. Thus I was percepting all the peculiarities and secrets of the kitchen life since I was a child. After graduating from school, I moved to Madrid to attend a sommelier course. I wanted a real experience and got a position of a waiter in a restaurant. That was my first real step into a long way to chef cliff.

Philippe Duc, Chef at SPOON by Alain Ducasse

Philippe Duc, Chef at SPOON by Alain Ducasse

I am Philippe Duc and I enjoy my profession as a real part of my inner space. It is no wonder I’ve become a chef as my childhood was tightly connected with gardening. My grandparents lived in Ruan and I helped them with planting, selecting and watering all the possible kinds of grocery, vegetables and even fruits. To tell the truth, my mother was surprised by my desire to step into a kitchen path. She even tried to persuade me in an architecture’s better future, but failed.

Tamara Mattii, Chef at La Piola

Tamara Mattii, Chef at La Piola

My name is Tamara Mattii. And currently I am an executive chef in La Piola restaurant. Even when I repeat this for several times, I could hardly believe it. I was born in Pisa, Italy. This country is well-known for its passion to gastronomy, high-quality products and eating culture. Since I recall myself, I was always dreaming about feeding my family with the dishes I made. My young years could be simply called “fiesta”. As I adored parties, especially the moment of welcoming people to try the meals. I was absolutely happy when all the faces were shining with satisfied smiles and souse.

artak-sarkysyan-chef-at-tatevatun

Artak Sarkysyan, Chef at Tatevatun

I’m not striving to move to a city, conquer the capital or concrete jungle. I love Armenian fertile land, that’s why I’ve decided to stay and work in my native village. I help my parents, raise vegetables and scrumptious greens. People often ask my opinion how to get the same satisfaction from work as I do? What to say... I love my work, and create my dishes only in good mood. And business is going well. That’s the main secret!

Kenny Chan Kai-tak, Chef at Yun Yan

Kenny Chan Kai-tak, Chef at Yun Yan

I’m a descendant of the cooking dynasty, adherer of the traditions and simply an enthusiastic person. My life, like a kite balloon, brightly vibrates above the ground, visits different countries and regions, but meanwhile is tightly linked with my homeland with almost invisible thread. I’m Kenny Chan Kai-tak, chef of Yun Yan restaurant in Hong Kong.

Karo Guyumjyan, Chef at Salon

Karo Guyumjyan, Chef at Salon

It’s impossible to know everything. It’s impossible to manage everything. It’s impossible to try everything. However, I fill my life with a whole bunch of new knowledge, work and flavours. I’m neither a revolutionist nor an innovator. I’m Karo Guyumjyan, Armenian and just a good guy. My guests keep telling that I’m an awesome chef of Salon restaurant. I was born and raised in an ancient and magnificent city of Yerevan. You can hardly be tired of speaking about it: its history and culture, its people, politics and atmosphere. But personally for me Yerevan is a source of personal power, part of my spirit and native soil. Am I a patriot? For sure I am! And I’m very glad that the city welcomes me, a bold guy, in its warm and spicy embrace.

Inn Side Out - Breased Beef Short Ribs_1

Wo Ting Wai, Chef at Inn Side Out

I was born and raised in the cosmopolitan Hong Kong. So maybe that was the reason why I didn’t have a clear vision of my professional perspectives until I was 18 years old. I was just simply searching for a job, saw an ad and started working as a kitchen assistant. And, as the saying goes, the appetite came to me with the eating. I realized that I loved not only to eat, but also to create food. Already being an assistant to the chief in the LA Café, I started to attend cooking classes. My primitive knowledge were so not enough for me. That was the birth of my culinary ambitions. And since then, there is not a single day when I’m calmed down. I always learn, explore and take interest. My natural passion and dedication has played a very positive role for my career.

Alvin Leung Jr. - Chef at Bo Innovation_3

Alvin Leung Jr., Chef at Bo Innovation

When a hobby becomes the profession it is commonly treated as life success. I do not feel like I am the most successful man in the world. But one of the happiest I should say. My name is Alvin Leung and I am a happy chef. I was born in foggy London. Rather known for its grey weather and grumpy people. Where the most elegant dish is a porcelain plate of oat porridge. It is only half truth, of course. Although my dearest mother did not cook thus I was climbing the kitchen mountains all by myself.

Anastasiya Holoborodko, Food journalist, Blogger

Anastasiya Holoborodko, Food journalist, Blogger

I'm Anastasiya Holoborodko, food journalist, author of blog on healthy food spoon.com.ua, food-editor at bit.ua, nogibogi.com.ua, student and host of culinary workshops, modern gastronomist and a very enthusiastic person. My childhood was far from glamour everyday life of city ladies. Small Ismail town, where my family still lives, frozen in its semi-city development. Quiet and cozy as granny's kitchen, it even used to play a significant role in history. I like Ismail for its diverse gastronomic melody. Just imagine: Turkish, Bulgarian and Romanian cuisine, endless curving vineyards and fluffy sheep-walks... I am so inspired by my native town that I can keep on talking and talking about it. But this is not the point.

Daria Grositskaya - chef of the Under Wonder_7

Daria Grositskaya, Chef at Under Wonder

A woman in the kitchen, a woman and a kitchen - these notions are very comfortable and familiar for everyone. Creation of food has been always something magical and ritual. But at the same time, technique, accuracy and calculation are parts of multilayered gastronomic puzzle. Could I imagine that selection of products and creation of dishes will become the business of my life? No and yes. I will tell you, how I - Daria Grositskaya - became a chef at Under Wonder.

MD_Vitaliy Voronchihin_0

Vitalii Voroncihin, Chef at GastroBar

I've never considered geographical borders as barriers. Neither for art, nor for life. It's strange to map pointless lines and establish fences around you. Perhaps this is why being born in small Khotyn on the territory of picturesque coasts of the Dniester River, I had no problems with submerging in culture and peculiarities of other countries. Am I a traveller? For sure! I'm a culinary wanderer. My name is Vitalii Voroncihin, I'm a chef at BBQ and representative of The Big Green Egg in Moldova. I also manage the kitchen in one of the most successful projects – GastroBar.

Francisco Pazos, Chef at Le Chef

Francisco Pazos, Chef at Le Chef

My name is Francisco Pazos. I am in charge of Le Chef Restaurant kitchen in Metropark Hotel, Wanchai Hong Kong. And although I was born quite far away from here – in beautiful Spain in 1975 – my heart was stolen by the East. Passion for cooking wasn't a sudden discovery or sign for me. I steadily developed sincere love, respect and curiosity. As a child, I was always with my grandma. I followed her to the market, participated in the conversations about products, dishes and recipes. Together we created lunches and dinners, made semi-products and collected necessary herbs. Unwittingly, I started not only to know but also to feel. This motivated me to connect my fortune with kitchen.

Yuriy Chernous, Chef at Ryba Chok

Yuriy Chernous, Chef at Ryba Chok

My meadow is endless! And I keep discovering new wonderful horizons, flavours and accept new challenges. Can't help being so curious. I just can't get enough: knowledge, experience, emotions. I love to learn and love to teach. Or even rather share myself than teach. It is so cool, when you see how your colleges, friends, finally children grow. And you don’t just stand nearby – you help them, direct and contribute. This is how I see my mission. My name is Yuriy Chernous. And despite my age specified in the passport, I'm a boy who has dedicated all his life to the art of cooking.

Denis Brovceac-Chef at La Butuc-9

Denis Brovceac, Chef at La Butuc

Do you want to hear a story of a bright uprising? A funny tale about success and classic “one morning, I wake up famous"? Then you should better address someone else. Because my story is filled with a dream, work and being steady in the purpose. My name is Denis Brovceac, chef at La Butuc restaurant. I've been dreaming about my culinary freedom since I was a kid. As far back as I can remember, kitchen was always my territory. Other children are interested in streets, yards and garages. But I was fond of products, recipes, combinations and aromas. The choice was not that big during my Soviet childhood. There was only all-Union State Standard. But I was smart and clever, I was a good inventor and creator. Sometimes I got really great results. And now, I'm proud of my courage.

Gregoire Michaud, Chef at Bread Elements

Gregoire Michaud, Chef at Bread Elements

Is bread the staff of life? Bread is a gift and essence of nature. My name is Gregoire Michaud, I'm a master of brown crusts and aromatic pastry. I was born in 1975, and was surrounded by nature from my very childhood. And not with a garden, but with original beautiful and mighty trees, flowers and smells. My family still keeps a prosperous farm in Switzerland and grows products and grapes there. My mother became my teacher in cooking. I was inspired by her example, followed her advice and kept breaking conventional rules. I'm sure she was secretly proud of my freethinking. Although proper doughing, choice of flour and the magic of bread crafting in general is a very conservative business.

Anahit Sargysian, Chef at The Club

Anahit Sargysian, Chef at The Club

My name is Anahit Sargysian, and I know every item on the menu of Yerevan restaurant The Club. I know what every sauce is cooked of, what spices are added to lamb shank and how your plate is supposed to look. I am a chef at The Club - a place with Armenian and French cuisine and something else. I was born in Yerevan, a city of rosy and creamy colours, in the family of office workers. When I was a child, I used to spend a lot of time with my granny in a small city with not very poetic name, but with extremely poetic landscapes - Goris.

Pino Lavarra - Chef at Tosca

Pino Lavarra, Chef at Tosca

My name is Pino Lavarra and I am happy to do the things I do. I lead the kitchen in the legendary Ritz-Carlton in wonderful Hong-Kong. My family comes from the Southern Italy. It is a sunny piece of Earth with hospitable people and bright colors. I was surrounded by friends, family and nature. This cocktail taught me to love life, enjoy its treasures and share my inner world with them. My mom was a true Italian mom you might have seen in old films. She cooked as if sang an amazing song. And each time it was a new story. I percepted every single move she made, every ingredient she used and even the prayers she whispered. Probably that is why I am a chef of a super restaurant. Who knows.

Stukotin Vladimir - Raw Chef at Premier Palace Hotel

Stukotin Vladimir, Raw Chef at Premier Palace Hotel

You are what you eat. This is a well-known axiom. Eating fresh food prepared with high-quality products and proper techniques is a valuable donation to a healthy life. But you can do even more for your wellness. Dishes made with love and knowledge are trendy in our restaurants today. That is why I am spreading a raw food philosophy, with its ancient roots and modern interpretation. I am Vladimir Stukotin, a raw chef. I would not say I am unique. But still a rare sample!

Ruben Pogosyan  Brand-Chef at Tufenkyan Restaurants

Ruben Pogosyan, Brand-Chef at Tufenkyan Restaurants

My name is Ruben Pogosyan. There are lots of connoisseurs of Armenian cuisine, but there are not so many real ones. I’m sure, there are few people whose knowledge and skills are as extensive in Armenian gastronomy as mine. I believe people should share their knowledge, that’s why I present the results of my work in Tufenkian hotels. I’m brand-chef of the restaurants in the hotel network.

Yan Nguyen - Chef at Martini Terrazza

Yan Nguyen, Chef at Martini Terrazza

My name is Yan Nguyen. I’m happy to live and create in a city of chestnuts and endless quays of the blue-grey Dnipro River. Did I dream about becoming a chef in a cap? Of course, not! I was an ordinary mischievous guy full of brilliant ideas. I was as mischievous as a monkey. But I always knew what I wanted. I wanted to dance. And my life was for a long time connected with the art of movement. This is definitely my element. And thoughts about food and its creation were mainly shaped in my crazy head by bright images from my childhood.

Luca De Berardinis - Chef at Ristorante IL MILIONE

Luca De Berardinis, Chef at Ristorante IL MILIONE

My name is Luca de Berarnidis and I am a designer haute-cuisine! My parents are creative people. Their lives were totally devoted to art and blowing an extraordinary soul into everyday things. Yes, they are designers. But I made my first steps in kitchen and cooking with my grand-parents. They are farmers. White-haired and wet-eyed they welcome me into a world of nature. And I’ve stayed there forever. What a wonderful childhood I had! With all those garden trees, harvest gatherings and funny stories my grandpa used to tell me in the evening. Too nostalgic for such a young man? Noway!

Edgar Yeganyan - Chef at Charles

Edgar Yeganyan, Chef at Charles

Take a breath. Take a deep breath. You can not resist the blowing fresh air Yerevan covers you with. Armenian spirit will never abandon you once you’ve met its endless horizons, cloudy mountains and hospitable people. Born in picturesque Yerevan, I am holding tightly my motherland language, culture and sense of humor. I am Edgar Yeganyan, now heading the cuisine at “Charles”. I may confidently state I am far from being a typical cook. I am young, fit and do not keep the secrets of my success. I am what I am and happy to share a piece of my mood. I do feed them as my best friends, stuffing the meals with positive emotions and love.

Jaakko Sorsa - Chef at Nordic FINDS restaurant _ bar

Jaakko Sorsa, Chef at Nordic FINDS restaurant & bar

My name is Jaakko Sorsa. I’m a typical Finlander that every morning cheerfully goes to work in Hong-Kong. And I’m also an Executive Chef at Nordic FINDS restaurant & bar, but there are much more interesting things you can learn about me. My Homeland is Finland. I spent my childhood in the area called ‘Finnish Lakeland’. The name alone evokes a range of associations and fantasies related to nature. It was in Kuopio where I felt the reality. I felt nature and culinary and I will never forget those feelings. Fishing, foraging, obtaining wild game from hunters. Nordic life as it is.

Sergei Borodkin - Pastry Chef at Isrotel Exclusive Collection Hotel Chain

Sergei Borodkin, Pastry Chef at Isrotel Exclusive Collection Hotel Chain

I was born and grew up in the city of Alma-Ata, Kazakhstan. I spent my childhood in a sunny, high mountain city, surrounded by apple gardens of Zailiyskiy Alatau. Smell of apple blossom, taste of melt water from mountain springs and roaring wind in mountain gorges made me strive for beauty my whole life. Combination of traditions and cuisines of the multinational region have been attracting me since I was a child. The brightest memories from my childhood are smell of my mother’s baking and cooking national pilaf and unique manti together with my father.

Caesar Lee - Chef at Charlie Brown Café

Caesar Lee, Chef at Charlie Brown Café

My name is Caesar Lee. I’m a Chef at Charlie Brown Café. And although it might seem that Charlie Brown is some historical figure, the story is much more interesting than that. Do you remember cartoon dog Snoopy? The name of its owner is Charlie. And no, we don’t serve food for pets, but the real American one instead. Here in Hong Kong. I was born in China, in 1960. I was a simple Chinese boy, who started working before having his head screwed on the right way. I was around 13-14 years old, and I had just finished primary school. Of course, I couldn’t choose work by myself, and I couldn’t go to HR agency either. Can you imagine a 13-year-old child wearing suit and bearing folder with documents? It’s a figure of speech, of course, but this was my mother who chose work for me.

Alexey Povtoreiko - Chef at Whisky Corner

Alexey Povtoreiko, Chef at Whisky Corner

I was born on 26 May 1980 in Kyiv. And although 34 years have passed, I can still clearly remember, when I decided to become a Chef. I was always amazed with how my father cooked, and although cook profession was considered women’s one at that time, in the 7th grade I was 100% sure that I would learn to become the best chef. My parents say my first attempts to cook something were quite successful, but perhaps they, like all other parents, wanted to support and inspire me.

James Roy Oakley - Chef at Armani Aqua

James Roy Oakley, Chef at Armani Aqua

I wonder, how many are there Chefs in the world, who don’t think their dishes are the best and the most interesting, and restaurant they work at is the only one which is worth of visiting? Oh no, I’m more modest. My name is James Roy Oakley. I am an Executive Chef at the Armani/Aqua Restaurant in Hong Kong. Our customers are beautiful people with zest for life. As you might guess, I was born not in Asia, but in windy England. If you want to send me a postcard on occasion of my birthday, please do it on 16 April, I’ll be 30.

Ruslan Vycherov - Pastry Chef at Pizza_Grill

Ruslan Vycherov, Pastry Chef at Pizza&Grill

One can think that Pizza&Grill has only pizza and grill food – similar to famous world Burger & Lobster chain, where you can eat everything provided it is burger or lobster. But despite its simple name, I work at Pizza&Grill in Odessa, and I specialise in a completely different food. My name is Ruslan Vycherov. I’m a Pastry Chef in the above mentioned chain in the city, where people still dry their clothes on ropes in yards of the central streets. And they shall be definitely multicoloured. This is Odessa!

Simson Kwan - Chef at Café Landmark

Simson Kwan, Chef at Café Landmark

My name is Simson Kwan. I’m Chef at CAFÉ LANDMARK. This café is located in a premium Hong Kong shopping mall with the same name, where time runs faster than usually. This café is also filled with food enjoyment! But I would like to tell you my story first, not boring as it might usually be, but an interesting one. I was born in January 1955, and it means that I’m almost 60. This is really a lot, but I know for sure that there are tons of things ahead of me. I’ve never travelled far from home and have achieved considerable success here. But my childhood was not that prosperous. I grew up on a farm raising pigs, geese and chickens. My family was not rich. We used to produce preserved meat like «lap cheong» (Chinese sausages). But we were more known for the sea salt preserved ducks.

Billy Otis - Chef at Socialito Restaurant

Billy Otis, Chef at Socialito

My name is Billy Otis, I’m a chef of the Socialito, Hong Kong. I was born in Santiago, Chile on April 24th Mom always had a garden when I was growing up and she would pick vegetables and make us dinner each night. I would always help make dinner it was very interesting for me. In the spring we would visit my Grandparents in Florida and I’d end up in the kitchen with my grandmother making pasta sauce, casseroles and pies. Food has always played a large role in my life.

Frank Lebiez - Chef at Metropolitan Restaurant

Frank Lebiez, Chief at Metropolitan Restaurant

My name is Frank Lebiez. I’m the proprietor, partner and Chief executive of Metropolitan Restaurant, Hong Kong. I was born on August 15, 1973 in Normandie, north-west of France, which is famous for its apple orchards, farms and Camembert cheese. My childhood was the one of a happy boy in a traditional French family. I grow up with the memories of the big tables of friends and family meeting together to enjoy the numerous delicacies that our region and country offer.

Luca Marinelli - Chef at iL Posto 97

Luca Marinelli, Chef at iL Posto 97

My name is Luca Marinelli. I’m a chef of the Italian restaurant Il Posto 97 in Hong-Kong. I was born on the 30th of March 1985 in Varese, North-Western Lombardy, in northern Italy. As my parent separated since I was young, I was raised by my mother in Varese, and during weekends say every 2 weeks I would alternate and spend time with my father who lived in Milan.

Olga Martynovskaya - Chef at Culinary Academy of Hector Jimenez-Bravo

Olga Martynovskaya, Chef at Culinary Academy of Hector Jimenez-Bravo

My name is Olga Martynovskaya. I teach culinary arts at the Culinary Academy of Hector Jimenez Bravo, but I’m better known as the winner of the third season of the Ukrainian version of the Master Chef. I was born on September 2, 1989 in the small village Yuryevka, Ukraine, in a family of teacher and beekeeper. My childhood was very happy: fun, carefree, with lots of sun, air and games with the other kids. I enjoyed tree climbing and running. Mother used to call me «windy» — the fidget one… One of my mother’s favorite memories from my childhood is when I was 4.5 years old, and some guys from high school asked me, mocking: «Olga, do you know where babies come from?» — «I’ve learned where they come from for long time ago” – I said, — “but where did the very first person came from is still a mystery for me!». From an early age and till now my disadvantage and advantage in the meantime is curiosity, which I feel absolutely always and about everything that surrounds me. Parents never forced me to do something that I didn’t want. I was a freedom-loving child, and remained the same now. I wanted to become a doctor, but later changed my mind and confused in choosing a profession.

Stephane Istel - Chef at Bar-Roque Grill

Stephane Istel, Chef at Bar-Roque Grill

My name is Stephane Istel, I am the chef and owner of Bar-Roque Grill. It’s French in Singapore, just like me. I was born in May 3, 1978 in picturesque Alsace, France. It’s a beautiful place with delicious cuisine. I grew up with the beautiful aroma from my mother’s kitchen. My mother expresses her love for the family through her amazing cooking of classical Alsatian dishes such as baeckeoffe. I remember the anticipation and joy as a child when she brought her claypot of potatoes, carrots, lamb, pork and beef, marinated in white wine onto the dinner table. The flavor, the aroma, an amazing taste, and her kind smile… It was from my mother I learnt to «cook with love». I have been working as a Chef for a 20 years now, since I was 15 years old enthusiastic young cook (maybe not so professional yet, but really passionate one).

Victoria Gladchenko and Anna Bakhonko - Chefs at Make my Cake Patisserie

Victoria Gladchenko and Anna Bakhonko, Chefs at Make my Cake Patisserie

Victoria: I was born in May 1987 in my beloved Odessa. Since childhood food has been meant a lot for me. My dad was an excellent cook, and my mother always liked to “invent” something delicious, and surprise us. I have never had any problems like «fried onions», «fish», «greens», and so on, which are usually children have. I ate everything that was cooked deliciously. The food was not just a meal in our family. It was with sense; it was varied and beautiful. Anna: I was born in winter, January 1, 1988, here, in Odessa. I spent my childhood in a beautiful house with a large shady garden. My grandmother always had the goal «To feed Anna the best and healthy everything,» and I carefully hid meatballs from my soup, hoping not been exposed. I loved my mom’s adventures in cooking much more: rose-shape cookies with rose jam topping; three-layer ice cream cake, decorated with mulberries, we have gathered together, coming back from the beach; crunchy mini-toasts with colored herring butter. My mother always had unusual game approach to cooking and eating.

Jérôme Abraham - Chef at Saint-Germain Restaurant

Jérôme Abraham, Chef at Saint-Germain Restaurant

My name is Jerome Abraham. I am French, and I’m a chef in a French restaurant Saint Germain. It’s a place in Hong Kong with Parisian charm, energy and living spirit of Montmartre. I was born at the end of the summer 1979, in August 28. I was born in Athis-Mons closed to Paris. But my hometown is St Paul de Vence, where I grew. It’s in Provence, South of France. Growing up in Saint Paul de Vence was amazing. This area is so beautiful… It’s one of the most incredible parts of France. So being and living there has been a chance of my life. If you ever come to the Cote d’Azur, you just have to visit this place.

Alex Liu - Chef at Lux Bar _ Tapas

Alex Liu, Chef at Lux Bar & Tapas

My name is Alex Liu. I‘m 34 and I was born in Hong Kong. I have a guilty pleasure to pasta. I have always been a fussy eater when I was child, but pasta was one thing I could always eat –so I ate a ton of it during growing up. I became a chef at 17. The entire male in my family were chefs but none of them treat it as a lifetime career. I want to be different. Throughout my 17 years of chef career, I love cooking seafood the most. Because fresh seafood do not require much extra seasoning and only we focus on the original taste.

Matthieu Bonnier - Chef at French Window Brasserie and Bar

Matthieu Bonnier, Chef at French Window Brasserie and Bar

My name is Matthieu Bonnier, I’m the Chef de Cuisine of French Window Brasserie and Bar in Hong Kong.I was born in Nantes in 1978. I grew up in a middle class family. My mother and father were teachers, so you can imagine my childhood was based on some fairly strict rules thus my environment was rich and open-minded. It is from my grandparents I got the inspiration to become the chef I am today. My grandfather was a wine amateur and used to own a massive cellar underneath their house although he was also a fine cook. My grandmother in the other end made her kitchen the main room in the house. It is where she was spending most of her day. Times were different back then, nothing but family mattered the most. Making an apple pie was a way to communicate and spend time together… It was a great way to learn!

Shaun Anthony - Chef at Madam Sixty Ate

Shaun Anthony, Chef at Madam Sixty Ate

My name is Shaun Anthony. I’m the chef, spending in my kitchen most of the time, in the restaurant Madam Sixty Ate. Geographically, we are in the north of Hong Kong Island — at its most affluent area of Wan Chai. I’m not a typical Italian, Spanish or Chinese. I was born in Canada, June 30, 1978. After the war, my mother’s family emigrated to Canada from Germany. So from my mother I have something German and my father — an Irishman and a Ukrainian — here and add to Shaun Anthony a bit of both countries.

Oyvind Naesheim - Chef at NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong

Oyvind Naesheim, Chef at NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong

My name is Oyvind Naesheim. It’s one of those names, which is difficult to pronounce, even if you know how to do it. I’m a part of worldwide empire NOBU, consisting of 28 restaurants in different parts of the world. Its owner is the actor Robert De Niro. I’m the chef of NOBU InterContinental Hong Kong. I was born on the 20th of February, 1980, in Norway, in the ancient and beautiful city Staverger. It was there, being a child and I got my passion for food. I spent countless hours on the home kitchen, next to my grandma. Thanks to her, I recognized the «soul» of Norwegian cuisine and don’t forget it until now, even cooking Japanese food at Nobu.

Tony Rosetti - Chef at Noti Restaurant _ Bar

Tony Rosetti, Chef at Noti Restaurant & Bar

My name is Tony Rosetti. I’m the chef of Noti Restaurant & Bar, luring the guests with Italian dishes in Singapore. Title of the bar is an anagram of my name. So yeah, I’m still the owner. Singapore is home to over 5 million people, and I was born in the small Italian town where less than two thousand people. Palmariggi, the city in the province of Lecce, is situated on the tip of the Italy «heel». On the 31th of March I was born on the «heel».

Stefano Rossi - Chef at Assaggio Trattoria Italiana

Stefano Rossi, Chef at Assaggio Trattoria Italiana

My name is Stefano Rossi. I’m the chef of Italian trattoria in Hong Kong. It must be said, thet Italy and Asia in one flask is a terrific combination. But it’s not for me, because cuisine of Assaggio Trattoria Italiana – is true Italian, without eastern «sauces». I was born in northern Italy, a town surrounded by the Alps. It happens, while you are waiting for food in restaurants, you are brought crunchy breadsticks sticking out of the cup. At first, everyone at the table puts on a modest air, and then fights for the last one. These are grissini, and they are come up with in the city where I was born — Turin.

Trakool Yodsuk aka - Chef Korn  Chef at Erawan Classic Thai and Fusion Restaurant

Trakool Yodsuk aka Chef Korn, Chef at Erawan Classic Thai and Fusion Restaurant

My name is Trakool Yodsuk. But the world of restaurant business knows me under the name of Chef Korn. My real name is much less popular — you can even check it out on Google. I’m the executive chef of Erawan Classic Thai & Fusion at Kota Damansara, it’s almost Kuala Lumpur, fast beside. I was born in Thailand, in the small city of Chantaburi. It often rains there, but I was born on February 18th — in a «dry» season in 1980. Higher education I got at the prestigious university in Bangkok — with a specialization in Business Administration at Assumption University.

Lai Yau Tim - Chef at Tim’s Kitchen

Lai Yau Tim, Chef at Tim’s Kitchen

My name is Lai Yau Tim. I work as a chef Tim’s Kitchen, opened by me in 2000. Generally, it’s a whole chain of restaurants, and I play with spices, sauces and pans wok in Hong Kong Tim’s. I was born in Asian city, loved by many Europeans, in Hong Kong. It was in 1949. To admit, I wasn’t particularly bright at school. What could I do? I found a job in the kitchen before had lent ear to my father. Bright — not bright, and now I own the restaurant with 2 Michelin stars. Always remember that magnificent brain isn’t a guarantee of success.

Jordi Cruz Mas - Chef at ABaC Restaurant

Jordi Cruz Mas, Chef at ABaC Restaurant

My name is Jordi Cruz Mas. I’m the chef of three restaurants in Barcelona: ABaC Restaurant, Angle Barcelona and Ten’s Tapas Restaurant. I am co-founder and creator of Angle 10′s. I was born north of bustling Barcelona, in a quiet and very small Catalan town of Manresa. Away from the coast and beaches, where women don’t always cover themselves with clothing.

Umberto BOMBANA - Chef at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA

Umberto BOMBANA, Chef at 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA

I am the owner and chef of the restaurant on Hong Kong Island — 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo BOMBANA. I was born in hot Italy and not in the hottest time for it – the 8th of February. Sure, you repeatedly drink tea with bergamot — so, this citrus fruit was so named in honor of the city of my childhood — the picturesque Bergamo. I am an Italian living in Hong Kong. It’s rather unusual, isn’t it? If there is a hero in funny cartoon, it would clearly be running around the bustling city of Chinatowns in search of pasta with meatballs and pizza with four cheeses.

Jordi Joan - Chef at Ca l’Isidre

Jordi Joan, Chef at Ca l’Isidre

My name is Jordi Joan. I work in the restaurant Ca l’Isidre since 1988, so during 26 years — and this, as I just realized most part of my life. I was born in Barcelona, sunny city with fabulous gastronomic possibilities. I didn’t have those thoughts that most people around: to become a bank employee or a director of the company, or for example, a museum worker? Catering business – it’s our family business. What important is business, really loved by the whole family.

Luigi Taglienti  - Chef at Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala

Luigi Taglienti, Chef at Il Ristorante Trussardi Alla Scala

I сome from Liguria, was born in Savona in 1979. This is a wonderful Italian region where you can find the best ingredients from the sea to the mountains. Since childhood I have always had a passion for the kitchen. My mother and grandmother like traditional Italian dishes, and I could say so, fell in love with them since the early years of my life. After I graduated from culinary school in the State Vocational School, I immediately decided to jump into the real world of gourmet, trying to work in the best restaurants, which I could find around Italy and France.

Oriol Ivern - Chef at Hisop

Oriol Ivern, Chef at Hisop

I was born and outgrow in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia. This is the best city on earth. I have traveled and worked in different cities, and returned here, in this city. When I was 13 years old, in 1988, my parents moved to Begues, a small village in the mountains, 40 km from Barcelona. Since that time I began my fascination kitchen. I kept telling my parents that will be one of the best Chefs. And this goal I have carried through the years. After training in culinary school, I moved to Switzerland to work in «Beau Rivage palace», in order to understand how to construct the kitchen and I was in that place where I really started to learn something. As they say, you get experience in the work, but not in teaching.

Harlan Goldstein - Chef at Gold by Harlan Goldstein

Harlan Goldstein, Chef at Gold by Harlan Goldstein

was born on the 8th of January 1961, Lower East Side,Manhattan,New York. Raised by a single mother and sister in the poverty area of New York and after 12, moved toFlorida and started working in the kitchen part time at 14. Got my lucky break and went to Switzerland for training at the age of 17. I have been working as a Chef for more than 40 years old. The whole life journey has been very interesting. However,Beijing,China, my first job as Executive Chef at China World Hotel at the age of 28 years old in charge of 21 restaurants and managing a team of 450 staff was the highlight for me.

Tomáš Kysela - Chef at Cukrkávalimonáda

Tomáš Kysela, Chef at Cukrkávalimonáda

My name is Tomas (Tomáš — including Czech diacritics) Kysela and I am a proprietor and chief-cook Cukrkávalimonáda. It is a small cafe and restaurant in the center of Prague. The unique method to translate my name into English is literally Sugarcoffeelemonade. I was born in 1968 here, in Prague. Then it yet there was a socialistic country, and we taught Russian in school. I am very inspired by this great country, USSR, and consider that people which able to build it are indeed strong personalities. But will go back to my café.

Biljana Kebakoska Dimitrijević - Chef at Angelato Café

Biljana Kebakoska Dimitrijević, Chef at Angelato Café

My name is Biljana Kebakoska Dimitrijević. I was born in 1965 in Kruševac(Serbia) but when in my country a difficult period began, my family and I moved to the Czech Republic, last twenty years I live in Prague. I´m not the chef. I´m a modern-day witch :) Cooking is magic, isn’t it? I am fearless and creative cook. I invent, mix, make and serve ice-cream for everyone to enjoy. Being a chef is not just about preparing delicious foods. Cooking is the way we live, fragrances that we smell, the colours we prefer, making people happy. I love the variety in my life — my time and attentions are evenly divided between family and food. I enjoy cooking, especially for my daughter Gala, aged 13. I enjoy teaching her, showing her new ingredients and she loves that I teach her.

Tomasz Czyżycki - Chef at «Cyrano de Bergerac» Restaurant

Tomasz Czyżycki, Chef at «Cyrano de Bergerac» Restaurant

My name is Tomasz Czyżycki, I’m 33 years old. I was born in Krakow, Poland. My adventure with real cooking started 14 years ago. After finishing gastronomic school I started working in one of the top restaurants in southern Poland which was serving French cuisine. After 3 years of experience I was promoted for the First Deputy Chef. Searching for knowledge and new challenges I moved to the restaurant in the very heart of Krakow, where I had an opportunity to learn European and genuine Polish cuisine.

Iryna Mashykhina - Chef-Bartender at Boutiquebar BIANCORO

Iryna Mashykhina, Chef-Bartender at Boutiquebar BIANCORO

At school wanted to be an actress, a stuardess, a pilot… I ended up as the student of Kiev’s Hotel management College in 1991, Public Catering Department. I got my first job as waitress in 1993 in Casino Club First (Intourist Hotel – these days – President Hotel Kievskiy). From that time I understood for myself – I like serving people. To serve people! Not to be their servant! Any way I do prefer the verb – “to take care of guest”. It was bar there, I had started to help bartenders, and fell in love with it. I had great teacher mentors like John Siao, Peter Norton, Steve Kelly who inspired me to become a bartender at first place.

Jorge de Angel Moliner - Chef at Crudo Bar

Jorge de Angel Moliner, Chef at Crudo Bar

Since childhood, I was fond of kitchen and food. My father worked as a chef for a long time, and therefore he always told me not to work in this profession, but I never listened to my parents. I remember how I disturbed my father in the kitchen. He showed how to cook, but he didn’t explain anything. It’s one thing to be a good cook, and quite another – to be a teacher. It is the opposite situation with my mother, she can cook only very simple dishes by grandmother’s recipes, but she is good in teaching. My father didn’t give me an opportunity to practice, and my mother was cooking with me patiently. I remember that they praised my juicy and perfect omelet, I cooked it as my father, but I received from him only a ready dish without the recipe of its correct preparation. Sometimes, in the absence of the father, they allowed me to prepare omelets, and I was very happy. I still believe that if you want to understand how delicious are the hands zof the chef you should to taste his omelet.

Dasha Malakhova - Chef at Culinary Studio «Kartata Potata»

Dasha Malakhova, Chef at Culinary Studio «Kartata Potata»

’ve been cooking since I was about 8, I remember I was already in the second grade and my parents began to go on tour with the theatre very often, and I stayed at home with friends of my mum, babysitters and relatives. But my main friends were neighbours in a communal flat, in the very old area of Kiev — Podol. I enjoyed meeting them in the shared kitchen. There I realized that domestic work and food could cheer me up. I’m 35 now, and I enjoy washing my floor, doing hand washing and spreading condensed milk and raspberry jam on waffle cakes. When I was in drama school in the UK, I couldn’t afford lunches in a canteen and I cooked pasta with herbs, thai rice and soup. During lunchtime I took out my lunch box and ate what I cooked — it was funny, but everyone thought I was posh, cool and had very picky eating habits. My path to the professional kitchen led through the kitchen sink.

Abitabile Vincenzo - Chef at Pizza dal Capo

Abitabile Vincenzo, Chef at Pizza dal Capo

I’m Italian, I was born and raised in Castelvetrano, Sicily. Today I am 46 years old and 30 years I worked as a cook. For six years I work in the restaurant Pizza dal Capo. I went to the kitchen when I was 8 years old, I helped my mother and my aunt prepare banquets for our relatives whom I have a lot. In 14 years, for the reason not to ask for money from my parents, I got a job in a restaurant as a junior assistant. I peeled potatoes and washed dishes. After high school I studied at the Marine College and received the master. But the kitchen has always attracted me.

Maria Ilyinichna Fomina - My grandmother

Maria Ilyinichna Fomina, my grandmother

I learned to cook when I married. Prior to that it was not necessary, my mom was cooking. The village is easy. Each has his own business. When I lived with my parents, there was no need to cook. Then, with the appearance of my children, I learned. I have gone through several regimes. And through the hope when everyone believed in communism, and through dispossession of people who want to work and worked. Through the Romanian government, which protected the Bessarabian people from the Nazis, not allowing them to scoff at the simply people, and through the terrible postwar famine. Through the Renaissance and the sunset of a great country, and the time of formation of a new one.

Patrick Casula - Pastry World Champion

Patrick Casula, Pastry World Champion

I was born in Grenoble, France. This is the region of Rhône-Alpes. I don’t remember how old I am. Rather I remember, but it doesn’t matter in my age. In 14 years I understood that I want something to open, explore, and create in a gastronomic sense. I felt a passion for my future work. In my development an important role played the observance of the right ingredients, the choice of a good product. I will never waste my time on trifles. After all, if you do something, you have to make it to the end.

Fedor Tardatyan - Chef at Oldich Dress _ Drink

Fedor Tardatyan, Chef at Oldich Dress & Drink

I work twenty years in the restaurant industry and three years as a chef. In my restaurants I often cook for myself. I love it and I love doing it. I travel a lot, I was almost in the whole world, from where I take recipes and culinary mood. When I am not very busy with my work I go for travel immediately. I like very much to visit various flea markets, shops, open-air bazaars and shops with old junk. Favorite things I buy and bring to Moscow.

Jean-Pierre Jacob - Chef at “Le Bateau Ivre” Restaurant

Jean-Pierre Jacob, Chef at “Le Bateau Ivre” Restaurant

I am 59 years old. I was born in 10 km from that place where now there is my restaurant, in Aix-les-Bains. It is the city of thermal sources in the region Savoie, near the Lac du Bourget.The best fish in the world floats in this lake. I prepare the dishes from the products that grow in my district. I am a third generation of chefs in our family. In this hereditary profession, there are two ways: either you plunge into it from childhood, or you realize that this is a crazy profession, because ninety percent of your life you spend at work. And I chose to stay in this profession that requires a huge return.

Roman Singh - Chef at Gaylord Restaurant

Roman Singh, Chef at GayLord Restaurant

Hi, my name is Roman Singh. I was born in 1966 and Nepalese by ethnicity. I started as a steward in the F&B industry but destiny had other plans for me. I realized that cooking was what I wanted to do. It was in my heart and so I jumped into the kitchen. Since then I have worked as a chef in Nepal, India, Germany, Muscat, China, and Macau. Now, I find myself in Hong Kong with 33 years of culinary experience.

Sergey Baysarevich - Chef at SEREBRO (Silver) Restaurant _ Music Bar

Sergey Baysarevich, Chef at SEREBRO (Silver) Restaurant & Music Bar

I’m 30. I’ve been working in a restaurant business for 11 years, 7 of which as a chef. Now I work at SEREBRO (Silver) Restaurant & Music Bar. This place is dear to me, because here I can bring into life my most outstanding culinary fantasies, and our guests like it. The first time I got to the kitchen, when my father worked at one of the metropolitan restaurants. He wanted to occupy me with something and offered to work at one of the simplest processes. I was responsible for peeling and cutting vegetables. That’s how it all started… With time, I started taking interest in products, technology of cooking and combination of taste. For 4 years I worked in «my» first restaurant, I was involved in all the processes and I made my way from a person dealing with vegetables to sous chef. It was a really huge experience…

Stefano Antoniolli - Chef at Ministerium

Stefano Antoniolli, Chef at Ministerium

I’m 36. I was born in Italy, in Roncade, which is not far from Venice. My professional path began when I was a child. My family was always good at cooking. My father worked at a restaurant, and when I was six I started helping him at weekends with such big events as weddings and christening parties. At that age I already knew what I would do in the future. Then I studied for 5 years in the Hotel Business School in Italy and got Professional Chef Diploma. Then for two years I worked and trained in Dubai in a 5-start hotel Le Meridien Forte Grand, which at that period had already been named Best Airport Hotel Worldwide, and Italian restaurant of which had been already acknowledged as the best Italian restaurant abroad.

Sergei Khimich - Chef at САД Restaurant _ Lounge

Sergei Khimich, Chef at САД Restaurant & Lounge

I was born 1978. I’ve been working as a cook for 12 years. I think it’s my vocation. My parents were totally against this, but I chose this path all the same. I’ve made the whole way from a cook’s helper to a chef and worked as a cook, head cook, sous-chef and became a chef in the end. In other words, I know my job inside and out. Contrary to young cooks: they start working as cook apprentice, work for 5 years and think they are professionals. But one shall try to walk the whole path.

Krajang Thongjan - Chef at “Saigon at Stanley”

Krajang Thongjan, Chef at “Saigon at Stanley”

My name is KRAJANG Thongjan, you can call me Sam. I was born in 1964 and I’m Thai by ethnicity. When I came to Hong Kong I found myself working in a Thai kitchen. In 2000, I then joined Saigon at Stanley, and even after 30 years in this industry, I still think that the art of cooking is fascinating. I love Vietnamese and Thai cuisine both for its balanced taste and aesthetics.

Murat Abay - Chef at Olive Restaurant

Murat Abay, Chef at Olive Restaurant

I’m 40. For 25 years, I’ve been working as a cook of different cuisines. After 10 years of my career, I became an executive chef at a small hotel. I looked for jobs in newspapers from time to time and I found one — “Kitchen Commis”. That job status was more significant than the job description I had. I decided to change my job. Meaning from “Executive Chef” to “Kitchen Commis”. I thought it was a break point of my carrier. But I was wrong. I worked just in a breakfast department for 1.5 years. I felt like a vampire at the end of these 1.5 years.

Lau Yiu Fai - Chef at 欣圖軒 Yan Toh Heen

Lau Yiu Fai, Chef at 欣圖軒 Yan Toh Heen

I was born in 1960, so I’m 52 now. I first joined InterContinental Hong Kong in 1980 when the hotel first opened. I worked my way up the culinary ladder in the hotel’s Chinese Banqueting Kitchen. Then I was in the opening team when the hotel’s Cantonese restaurant first opened in 1984. I have been an Executive Chef of YAN TOH HEEN since 2001. And I’ve been working as a cook for over 30 years. First of all, I love to eat! Although there are no chefs in my family, I started cooking at 14 when I became an apprentice in a famous Cantonese restaurant in Hong Kong.

Aleksey Menyailov - Chef at Klarabara

Aleksey Menyailov, Chef at Klarabara

I’m 33. I’ve been working as a cook for 14 years. In Klarabara restaurant I’ve been working since 2003 with small breaks. I became a cook thanks to my parents. When I went to school, my mother noticed that I liked cooking, and decided to put me on this way. All children reveal interest to certain things. I liked to cook at home. For example, I fried potatoes by myself and decorated it, and my mother decided that I could be a cook.

Oleg Opria - Chef at Art-cafe Obshchaga

Oleg Opria, Chef at Art-cafe Obshchaga

I’m 52, and I remember those dormitories. I’ve been involved with the kitchen for 34 years. Deeply involved. And I don’t regret about this. After all, my father worked as a cook for more than 50 years! By the way, my son has been cooking for more than 10 years as well. So, I can say that we are cooks by birth. I try to avoid any preferences. I try to cook and teach others to cook so that our work can bring happiness and pleasure to people. So that people coming to our café feel homey and gladly come to us again.

Murat Kaçmaz - Chef at Kadikoy Tantuni

Murat Kaçmaz, Chef at Kadikoy Tantuni

I’m 28. I’ve been working in Tantuni business since 1999 and I’ve been a chef for the last 7 years . I always talk to my customers so there is no distance between customers and me. I treat them as a friend in Kadikoy Tantuni that’s why the work is always a fun. But the most interesting moment was about my mistake when I was cooking. Instead of oil I put some juice in tantuni by accident. Although I put the wrong ingredient I didn’t realize it. After I served it, the customers understood my mistake, but they ignored it because we are like friends with customers. They just wanted to be kind. I cannot forget their faces when they were eating :)

Sergei Ponomariov - Chef at Prague Restaurant

Sergei Ponomariov, Chef at Prague Restaurant

Just today I’ve turned 36. You’ve got on my birthday. I’ve been working in a restaurant business for 20 years. I dreamt of being a sailor and attended Young Sailor Club when I was a child. But I never studied, as I couldn’t find maritime college in Kiev. My father advised me to study for a cook. I entered training school, and I liked it a lot. I was the best among the students of my year, and right after I passed my exams I started working at a young pioneer camp. I was only 15 then. Young pioneer camp is a very good place to learn. We had to do everything by ourselves: from separating carcasses to baking.

Nina Popova - Chef at Café Centaur

Nina Popova, Chef at Café Centaur

I’m 54. I’ve been working as a cook for 9 years. My milestone is chef at café “Centaur” I worked as a cook for several years right after I finished school, as I liked to cook since childhood. But I had to change my occupation. I tried a range of professions until I finally understood that cooking is my lifework. My favourite cuisine is Ukrainian, because it’s close to me since childhood. Moreover, I took over some traditions from my mother and grandmother.

Aleksandr Kasian - Pastry Chef

Aleksandr Kasian, Pastry Chef

I’m 29, and I’ve been a cook since 2000. But actually it would be more correct to say that since I was a child. When I was a child, our family somehow got two sacks of flavour. My mother doesn’t bake, so the flavor remained untouched for a long period of time. I was curious and started kind of testing it: kneaded dough and tried to bake something. At first, I didn’t manage well, but every time it was better and better. Then I started exchange recipes with my mother’s friends. At school, I ‘bought’ my marks at exams with cakes. I didn’t want to study, at that time I already knew that it was not for me. That’s why I baked a cake and brought it to a teacher, and got a good mark.

Oleg Pashkevich - Chef at Sushi360

Oleg Pashkevich, Chef at Sushi360

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I’m 28. I was working as a barman in a restaurant, when the Japanese cuisine became popular in our country. I decided I wanted to make classy sushi and went to Kiev, where I became an apprentice of a Japanese sushi master Yoshi. My apprenticeship reminded Hollywood thrillers of 1990s, where the main protagonist goes to a guru of martial arts in the heart of Tibet. But My Tibet was in Kiev.

Sergey Kalinin - Gastronomy Observer at Forbes Ukraine

Sergey Kalinin, Gastronomy Observer at Forbes Ukraine

I’m 40 years old. I’m not a chef, I’m a professional amateur. This is how my friends call me for a fun. Anyway, I’m a culinary journalist. My everyday life is closely related to the media. I develop food culture. My motto is to cook by yourself, meaning that people should stop buying ready-to-eat and vapid food, and to cook healthy and tasty food at home instead. It doesn’t cost much. My culinary community iCook is devoted to this. For a professional amateur, experience and service record is the whole life. But if you try to find more or less exact date, when I started my culinary way, then this is when I was 6. At that time I started getting in my grandmother’s way in the kitchen. As a memory from that period I even have two notebooks with culinary notes and recipes, which I wrote down with my childish uneven writing.

Aleksey Shvets - Chef at Bernardazzi

Aleksey Shvets, Chef at Bernardazzi

White bunches of acacia blossom, hot dirty sand, dazzling summer sun and a crowd of grubby boys running and jumping into green waves of the endless Black Sea. There's me, Lyosha Shvets, among them. I'm 5, and I'm happy. Today, I've jumped from the pier and cooked lunch for the first time. It was a real lunch, just like mother cooked. Like an expert, I pierced puffy sides of extremely hot potato with a tiny, partially burnt match, and I was happy. Potato steamed and smelled extremely tempting. I couldn't even imagine then, how many magnificent aromas, tastes and textures I would discover in the future. I was 5 and that was the first time I cooked on my own.

Sergey Savenko - Chef at Marokana

Sergey Savenko, Chef at Marokana

Do you know, who is the most honest gastronomic critic in the world? A newborn baby who has been just fed with milk. This baby is happy with life and has got colossal emotional and physical power-up and is ready to tell the world about its pleasant mood. I think, I took in the desire to cook tasty and delicious dishes in my early childhood. Perhaps, it explains why I can't recall when ex

Viktor Prodanov - Chef at Grand Prix

Viktor Prodanov, Chef at Grand Prix

I was born and grew up in the most magnificent city in the world, which I could have never left. And I’m happy about this. I’m Viktor Prodanov, Odessa resident by birth, professional navigator and chef at the restaurant with a European name. When I look back, I can see adventures, different events, loud parties and friendly holidays. I grew up in a big family. I’ve got two brothers and two sisters - and it’s almost a football team. But our mother managed to bring us up obedient and honest. Support and mutual trust are very important. When I decided not to be a ship captain, not to waste my life to earn huge income spending half of the year at sea, my family was really surprised. But they didn’t condemn or reprimand me. They supported my decision. It was hard. It was reckless. But they are proud of me now. And I’m proud of my family in return. I was 7 when I cooked my first dish. I wanted to make a surprise and to try myself. I’ve got curiosity and passion in my blood. I cooked Kharcho soup then and can still remember that flavorous hot red mixture glowing in plates. I was triumphant.

Sergey Neboga - Chef at Pomodoro

Sergey Neboga, Chef at Pomodoro

I’m 31. I’ve been a cook for 13 years, and I enjoy it a lot. Destiny has chosen this path for me and I’m happy to follow it. I’ve been working in Pomodoro since it was founded. Previously, I worked for about 6 or 7 years in other places of this chain. I like the attitude to the staff, the owners of the restaurant are attentive and understanding. They are always involved. And I like to have a free hand for creative work. This is inspiring. Initially it was a mere accident that I became a student at the Food Industry Technical College, and later at the Academy of Food. At that period I understood that it was my destiny. I got involved in cooking and I liked that. And I also liked making people happy.

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Nikolay Truba, Chef at Babooshka

It doesn't matter, how old you are, if you're not satisfied with your life. I'm glad I live grateful and smiling. I live with what I do and fill it with love. I'm sure, my guests can feel it, and they eagerly rely on my culinary experiments again. My name is Nikolay Truba. I'm a real Odessan, cheerful and young. Don't ask me about my age. I'm proud of my Soviet childhood, perestroika-era formation and amazing opportunities of the present time.

Mikhail Marchuk -a Chef at Touch Cafe

Mikhail Marchuk, Chef at Touch Café

Actually, my attraction to culinary and creation of dishes wasn’t always that obvious. I accumulated experience, learnt new methods and got special education. As a child, I was a rather good painter. Nowadays, I create palettes of dishes and decorate them prior to serving. Food design is my passion for sure. It lies somewhere between thematic serving, table layout and performance. And such commonplace as eating tasty food becomes a fascinating experience. I adore bringing fantasies and bold solutions to life. But I love genuine fascination of the restaurant’s guest even more. These are they who motivate me the most.