A bit more than a year ago, I decided that I wanted to open my restaurant.
However, I’ve never before worked in a restaurant. Where do you start, what do you do? I didn’t know. The only thing I knew was that I want to make it vegan, I want to make it digital and I want to make it scalable.
Me and my business partners agreed that probably the first thing to do was to decide on the menu. So, we started scouting around Europe in the search of the best vegan/vegetarian chefs.
That’s how I’ve met Ivan Dubkov and Evgeny Schhur – two chefs from Moscow. Once I’ve tried their food at the fine-dining vegetarian restaurant Richter I was convinced that’s the guys I need to work with. And since I’ve never worked in a kitchen before that day, I asked them whether I can intern with them as a cook for a few weeks to learn how the restaurant works from the inside 😃
That how my first encounter with a professional kitchen started:
- I was shocked how much prep goes into every dish (that’s what is called “mise en place”). For example, for a pasta which includes tomatos confit, you need to start preparing those tomatos a day in advance (because they take so much time cooking in the combi steamer).
- I loved the team spirit in the kitchen. It was really difficult at times, especially during peak hours. But it was always super fun. Everybody was joking and laughing a lot – and the harder it was the more jokes were flying around. It reminded me of other team environments I’ve worked in before – like consulting 🙂
- I was cutting myself a lot! Lesson learnt: if you want to work in a kitchen, it’s probably good to learn first how to cut things.
- My heels were hurting like hell (work in the kitchen requires good shoes!)
- But most importantly, I loved the food we were able to create – and I became even more convinced that I am on the right track with my idea of "Tolstoy".
Since then me, Ivan and Evgeny worked a lot on the concept of vegan food we want to introduce to Austria. I’m excited that soon this will become a reality.