In early June, the third restaurant Remy was launched on the territory of Depot. The first Remy Kitchen Bakery on Malaya Bronnaya for two years now boasts a tight fit, and Remy Burgers opened this winter on Bolshaya Dmitrovka.
All three restaurants are headed by a young chef Ruslan Polyakov, who at the beginning of summer celebrated his 29th birthday. We talked with Ruslan about ambitions in the kitchen and why in his youth he decided to become a cook and what ideas the Italians brought to Russia.
About College and Instant Cappuccino
- First, tell me how you came to food.
“I knew that this would be the first question, and in that very wording!”
- But what about? Who generally wanted to eat 15 years ago ?! This is a fairly young profession in Russia, and at that time being a chef did not equal being a rock star.
- In fact, since childhood I liked to cook, but I did not attach much importance to this. I had no complicated technologies, just an oven, and that one was electric, not gas, and so, while my parents were at work, I made my signature chicken in mayonnaise. About five years old, I beat up a mogul-googol - this is probably my first dish. Then there was a cappuccino of instant coffee, you know?
- In the sense of three in one?
- No, you take coffee, sugar, add a teaspoon of water to make porridge, and you begin to whip everything until white foam. Such a lush consistency is formed, which you then pour boiling water - it turns out a cappuccino.
- Life hack for all time.
- In general, I studied at school so-so, and after the ninth grade I got a job at the Moscow Cooperative College near the house. The first year I graduated as a marketer simply because I was told that it was cool, but in fact I did not really understand what to do next. And then it dawned on me that I was probably interested in the kitchen. After talking with my father, I transferred to a technologist.
- And who is a cook-technologist?
- This is a person who develops recipes, writes task cards - in general, he is mainly engaged in paper work: how much he took carrots, how much he cleaned, what waste. And ordinary cooks cook with their hands. Now, when I am preparing some new dishes, a technologist should be standing next to me and write everything down for me. I create, but you write.
- Not the most creative work in the kitchen. You studied at a technical school and went to work right away?
- I started working while studying, at the age of 16. Practice was held in the restaurant closest to the house. At that time, it was probably the most top-end restaurant in Mytishchi - a cool German pub. There I stayed to work.
“But did you still work as an ordinary cook?”
- Yes, the first time I just had an internship, but I could not hold a knife or cook. I peeled potatoes, cut mushrooms. A little later I went to work in the Eldorado restaurant, but the road took a lot of time and energy, so I stayed there for a short while and went to the restaurant, which was very close to the house.
- And how did your parents react to your desire to work in the kitchen? It’s fashionable to be a chef now, and then ...
- Given that my mother was from Dagestan and I was born there, of course, she was not enthusiastic. Even my grandmothers, when they were asked who I work with, always answered that they were a technologist, it kind of sounds more decent. But dad supported me.
- How did you manage to study and work?
- In the morning I went to college, studied until four, then home, to sleep, and then to work. It is quite difficult at this age to work all day. On Friday and Saturday you come home from work, bathe, change clothes, go out to hang out, then go home, shower again and go to work. But probably, everyone lived like that.
“Didn't it all scare you?” A cook is a pretty hard physical job.
- In general, it was fun in the college, in the restaurant. Plus, at the end of the second year, I was already a team leader, stood with the guys at the service, was a full-fledged cook, and most of my classmates did not yet have a knife in their hands. After four years at the technical school, I entered the university, in the RUK, already as a process engineer.
- why did you go to study again? You already had a profession.
- Because higher education was needed as if for show, but all this time I continued to work as a cook. Since I graduated from the Cooperative College, I went to the University of Cooperation already on a shortened program and studied for three years in absentia. When you are already fully working, standing in the kitchen from opening to closing, it is simply unrealistic to combine this with full-fledged study.
About attempts to work in the office and ambitions in the kitchen
- What was your first restaurant with a cool chef?
- Probably, "Eldorado", and then the restaurant La Scaletta, but before that I managed to work in the next cafe of the same chef - "On the stairs." It was there that blocked me: the salaries of cooks leave much to be desired to this day, it was hard for me, and I decided to drop everything and got a job as a manager for my sister - to sell metal.
“And how much did you have?”
- For two weeks. I’m already used to rushing 12 hours a day like a squirrel in a wheel, I liked it. And there you sit all day! I can’t do that.
- Where did you run from there?
- The chief "On the Stairs" called me and invited me to work, but already at La Scaletta. It was two neighboring establishments with the same chef and a common kitchen, only one club, and the second restaurant. Then there was “Karabas” on Leo Tolstoy, where I met Misha Gerashchenko (chef. - approx. ed.)with whom we worked for several years. After some time, Misha made me the foreman first, and then sous-chef, I was, it seems, 25 years old.
“Did you even want to be a chef?”
- Of course, for the sake of it all was.
- But not all cooks in the kitchen want this, not everyone can and want to invent something.
- Yes, many of the guys working in the kitchen really have no such ambitions, I do not say that they are bad, they just really do not have this desire. If you switch to the dirty and black arrangement of cooks, these are almost all people without education, from budget families. If you don’t have money or if you’re completely a fool and you don’t get anywhere, then you go to study as a cook, hairdresser, locksmith, turner ... And most of the guys don’t need anything in this life, they just have to come, work and get their salary.
- Tell me about the “Corner” by Ilya Tyutenkov. How did you get there? At that time it was the loudest restaurant in the city.
- Ilya called Misha, and he took with him part of the team, including me. There I got up to distribute an open kitchen. Ugolok is not a restaurant, it is a food factory. I don’t know how it is now, but then the cross-country ability was colossal, we were preparing for the opening for a very long time, the staff of cooks was 70 people, guests only booked tables for the guests for two hours, then the next one, and it doesn’t matter who you are.
I worked at Ugolka for a year and a half, and together with Misha, we left the large team at Lesartists, where the brand-chef was Glen Ballis. I stayed there for nine months. At some point, I became cramped, I wanted to grow, but so far I did not understand what to do next and where to go. My former chef from La Scaletta appeared and offered to take up the kitchen in his restaurant - he opened a new project in Belarus, and he needed a man who would manage the kitchen here. I agreed to such a half-patronage, but not for long - William Lamberti called me with whom we had nothing happened, and immediately an offer came from Glen Ballis.
- In Remy?
- Yes, as a chef in Remy, they started building it then. Glen and I met, he led me into a concrete box, showed me pictures of how he and San Sanych (restaurateur Alexander Oganezov. - Approx. ed.) they see the restaurant and what they want, and said: "Here is my restaurant, we will work like this, write your decision in a week in two hours." I came to him a week later and said yes. He uploaded a ton of information to me and told me to go work. But Remy opened for a very long time, about nine months, so I was given the neighboring Cork to the load.
“Did you warm up there?”
- Yes, it was convenient, because your restaurant is being built, but your work. Cork was a pretty heavy project, let’s leave it. Then Remy opened, and I spent all my time there, Glen was a brand chef, and we came up with all the menus together, but after a while Glen left the project. I was seated at the table and said: "Everything, now everything is on you, go work." When Glen left, for me, in fact, nothing changed, because I had done everything myself for a long time.
About bread and how to manage three restaurants at once
- You got a pretty methodical way: study, practice, work. Did any of your bosses influence you more than others? how What is your opinion on food?
- At first my mother influenced me, she always had everything delicious - it’s clear that for everyone it is, but my mother really cooks really cool. By and large, I do not focus on one thing, I always take something. Even before Ugolok there were restaurants where I just went to work on my day off to find out what was going on at all, not to steal the recipe, but just to see the restaurant from the inside: how and what they cook, what kind of service. Therefore, I cannot say which chef taught me everything - they all taught me something.
- And who taught you how to bake bread? After all, in Remy all baking is done on the spot.
- I was sent to study with Ivan Zabavnikov, I worked with him for two days, everything was very cool, awesome bread. Then I come to my kitchen, buy the same flour, the same sourdough and get just pancakes. And for three months we cooked this bread on the phone with Vanya. Something turned out, something didn’t, but still, the pastry chef is one thing, the baker is the second, the chef is the third.
- Three months did not turn out bread?
- Yes, bread - it’s alive. Everything affects him: your mood, the way you touch him. You leave for a day, then go through, added the leaven, stirred, formed, and the result will be only tomorrow. You need to be very patient, how do chefs do it? It didn’t work out - here they added, then they fried, and everything is fine. But with bread everything is different, I am still primarily a cook.
- And how do you usually come up with a dish?
“I sit, I sit, and then once - and something appears in my head.” In fact, the most difficult moment is when you cook your dish for the first time, when there are many cooks in the kitchen, waiters are running around, and you need to put it on a plate. At first it is difficult.
- In what sense?
- Morally. You are shy, you are not confident in yourself, this is your first serve that everyone will see. This is not the same as cooking at home alone. A dish can be very tasty, very cool, but putting it on a plate is the key.
“What was your first meal in the restaurant?”
“And I will not tell you!”
“So he really was shy!” Your perception of food and the way you cook has changed a lot since you came to Remy?
- Yes, very, changed. But the main chef in our restaurant is still San Sanych, and only then I am.
- At the same time, you already have three restaurants: two Remy Kitchen Bakery and Remy Burger, how do you combine them?
- Every day I go round them all. For my birthday, the team gave me an electric scooter, so now I drive like a bullet between restaurants. It’s good that they are not so far from each other.
“But don't you think the chef should always be in the kitchen?” Such a blue dream: a restaurant in Europe, daily communication with your guests, an apartment right above the restaurant ...
- This is the brought history of Italians to Russia!
- Of course, there is an American dream, and there is an Italian restaurant dream.
- Now in Remy on Bronnaya there is a tight fit and everyone is happy, so I don’t always stand on hand, I have weekends. You set the job, the whole team knows what you want and don’t want, what pisses you off, how not to do it. You cook food, show, make sure that they cook it that way ... Just for this there is a sous-chef. And I'm leaving for the back kitchen to cook a new dish. But the boss is a 24/7 job.
- Do you cook at home?
- No, I almost never go there.
- What's next? Is there any dream? A dish of dreams?
- There is a dream - just to make it tasty. If it’s tasty, then everyone’s cool, and if so, then you are on the right track.