Ruslan Evstigneev, chef at restaurant Pushkin in Kazan, has been named the best young chef in the Russia and CIS region following the S.Pellegrino Young Chef local final held in Moscow on 10 October.
During an intense five-hour cooking competition the young chef was able to defeat nine other chef competitors from Russia and Ukraine in the kitchen at the professional culinary studio Chefshows by Novikov. Each competitor pushed their culinary skills to the limits with the hope of wowing the local jury of chef judges with their signature dishes.
Famous chefs Emanuele Pollini (OVO by Carlo Cracco), Regis Triguel (Sixty), Vladimir Mukhin (White Rabbit), Dmitry Zotov (Madame Wong), Dmitry Blinov (the DUO gastrobar, Tartar-bar), Anatoly Kazakov (Selfie) and mentor chef Andrey Shmakov (SAVVA) were tasked with the difficult job of tasting and assessing each dish against the criteria outlined in the Golden Rules (ingredients, skills, genius, beauty and message).
However, it was Evstigneev’s ‘Horse, kumiss, and barely. Nomad approach for a dinner’ signature dish inspired by the great history of nomadic Mongols that scooped gold.
“Together with the jury we realise now that among the participants there is a person who is able to proudly represent the region at the international finals – it is Ruslan Evstigneev. His dish has its own philosophy and history, and this is the most important thing we must get across to Europe,” commented Andrey Shmakov, who will be chef mentor henceforth.
Speaking of his win an elated Ruslan exclaimed: "I am extremely happy to participate in a competition as important as S.Pellegrino Young Chef. It allows me to obtain huge experience and knowledge that I will be able to improve together with my mentor Andrey Shmakov while preparing for the finals.”
During the awards ceremony at Mushrooms restaurant guests also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite dishes of the day. The ‘People’s Choice’ award was given to Artem Mukhin, chef of the Mükka restaurant (Nizhny Novgorod), with his 'buckwheat with morels and steak dish', while Alexander Railyan, sous-chef at RUSKI restaurant (Moscow), surprised everyone with his dish of 'smoked duck breast with blackcurrant and a potato ball'.
Ruslan Evstigneev and his mentor now have several months to work together on perfecting his signature dish and polishing his presentation skills. The duo will travel to Milan to represent the region on the global platform that is the Grand Finale of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018. There, 21 hopefuls from around the world will face off in front of the Seven Sages, who will select the eventual winner.