Chef at Bernardazzi
Let the names of flourishing cities
Caress the ear with their fleeting importance.
Not Rome the city lives amid the ages,
But man’s place in the universe.
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.
Sticky Odessa dirt and grey clouds outside, and I can smell flour and butter at my mother’s kitchen. Clattering sound of a mixer, foam of whisked eggs and heat of an old oven. Three clumsy boys are trying to cook biscuits. It’s me, Lyosha, among them. I’m 10, and I don’t want to learn equations with two unknowns, measure amperes and take the square root. I’m an excellent student in this world of enamelled ware and vanilla smells. And I promise to my mother, I will never skip my lessons again. But I know, I’ll do it all the same. I promise to become the best chef. And I definitely will.
Then I went to a college with its exhausting studying and exciting practice in a bar afterwards. It was both a school of cook proficiency and life at the same time. I’m already 16, I’m Aleksey – a real cook. Only at night and only in one small bar so far, but I’m not going to get off my culinary path.
Then I went to the army. I had to get up early in the morning while it was still dark and wash with ice water. I can still remember that thrilling taste of adrenaline. That was my “baptism by fire”. I didn’t just cook, I cooked for army officers. And I became more and more confident that the kitchen was my place of power. Do you know, what I understood there? There’s no small job, there are people with weak spirit. Those who are not able to learn and get new experience. After the army, I came back to my small bar. I returned to peel vegetables, wash dirty floors and ovens covered with char. But I was never bored, I never complaint and suffered. And very soon my persistence and confidence gave its results – I became a cook in half a year.
And then a strange thing happened. For the first time in my life I realised I was able to do something. I really was. My ambitions and a bit of boyish courage made me look for a new job, new level and new knowledge.
I was only 24 when I started one big and very cool project. I thought then that nothing could be better. Historical centre of my favourite city, quiet whisper of hundred-year-old corridors and narrow arch barrels. I gathered my team, worked on a menu and rushed towards new beginnings. Crazy rhythm, administrative routine and the undertaken obligations left very little time for creativity in my life. Culinary creativity that I loved so much since my childhood. And I made a hard but deliberate decision to leave the position of chef.
Today I, Aleksey, Lyosha Shvets, is a host and practising chef of a culinary school. I enjoy video blog at GastroLab channel, travel around the world in search for new knowledge and recipes, develop food-stylistics with Sasha Slyadnev – a world famous photographer. I have time and I want to fill my life only with the people, events and activities that will make it better. And I’m happy.
To the readers:
All wishes can come true, one should only understand that a going foot is aye getting. There shall be dynamics in everything.
One shall not strive for money, but for prospects, since work without prospects becomes routine.
As Janusz Leon Wisniewski says:
“Only good jazz and sex can be better than cooking”.
Bunina Str, 15, Odessa
Tel:+38 (048) 785 55 85
Working hours: 12:00 – 23:00
Intimate atmosphere, signature menu and unique collection of vintage wines create inimitable charm of this restaurant. In 2010, it was awarded with Wine Spectator’s Two Glass Best of Award of Excellence. Seasonal and classical dishes, unusual solutions and observation of the highest standards of the world cuisine attract real gourmets to Bernardazzi.