Krasnodar, 27 July – Yug Times. Our today’s interviewee is the renowned chef Mark Statsenko. 

Q.: What can Russian regions do to attract tourists in terms of gastronomy? 

A.: To begin with, you have to think about your own identity. Look at Italy. Pasta is a famous dish there. But the Italian law states that in one region pasta is cooked with that kind of ‘twirl’ and in another with a different kind, and served with this or different sauce. It attracts tourists who want to try all these dishes. For example, in Siberia such attractive dishes might be venison or forest fruits, in the southern regions it might be mussels or garfish. I don’t like fish, but that fish is very tasty. In the Kuban region, such signature dish can be tomato-pepper borscht. In St. Petersburg, it can be smelt. It is not easy to find such an identity, but whoever defines it becomes quite sought-after. 

Q.: Various gastronomic events are becoming more and more popular. Why are they needed? 

A.: First of all, it is development. A kind of increase in gastronomic prowess, and thus in the level of culture. Festivals make it possible to introduce some new dishes into the main menu without ‘losing’ a guest. Often people come to restaurants for their favourite and special product. If you change the entire menu, visitors may be disappointed. Through a festival, the guests can try something new and the chefs can find an interesting new dish based on the guests’ feedbacks. Ultimately, such festivals make gastronomy more interesting for visitors, restaurants and tourist spots more popular. 

Q.: However, it looks like pizza and sushi are popular in this country than genuine Russian cuisine… 

A.: I am sure that we have made our contribution to world gastronomy. Let me make it clear that I am referring specifically to Russian, one might say tsarist, cuisine, not Soviet one. In the USSR, there were incredible products, but they were treated on a leftover basis. So, in gastronomy, there is a way of serving called sets (serving dishes ‘a’la Russe’) – all Michelin restaurants use it. And this tradition comes from Russia; it was invented not to overload the board. Today, Russia is among the five most versed countries in terms of gastronomy. 

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