Yum yum! Cook in Moscow

Hello, I am Anna, and I am a hot shop cook in one of the Moscow restaurants. Before I started to work in the restaurant, I had no idea what cooks ate at work. After I started to work for Delicatessen, I realized the glamor and the misery of personal dinners.


©Anna Mitrokhova
When you are a cook, you spend more time wearing crocs than in bed, there is parsley floating in your tea, no matter where you put the tea cup, and you cook the most delicious dishes all the time. Of course, cooks eat differently at different places. Once, when I was a trainee in one of the restaurants, we had indistinguishable small pieces of chicken and carrots suspended in thin bouillon for lunch, and we ate the same food, only without bouillon, for dinner. It was meant to be a ragout. At the end of my stay there I rushed to the kitchen, and my co-workers made me a Margarita pizza with a crispy crust, juicy suluguni cheese and sweetish tomato sauce. I was happy, although the pizza burned my palate, as I could not wait, even for a minute. All the people here like food and like themselves. So, the meals are really super. If only you could know how the cooks’ imagination works, when they have lots of tasty remains of everything which can be added to a lunch, so as to use everything. Today, the foodstuffs are simple: a very tough steak, good for training jaws, potatoes and different vegetables: I can cook Spanish tortilla from it, a kind of an omelet with potatoes and meat. I need more cilantro and spicy sauce. And also strong coffee.


©Anna Mitrokhova
Every cook working in our kitchen cooks lunch at some point. Ika has been working here for a month already but this is her first lunch for the cooks, Georgian food. She has made adjapsandali, which we also smoked a bit, so that the vegetables tasted like vegetables grilled over fire. I asked her whether it is true that cilantro is in every Georgian food. Ika nostalgically added that it is true of walnuts, as well. She says, her father is from Imeretia, where the Georgian cuisine is the best. We cook chicken with khmeli-suneli, the Georgian mix of spices, paprika and narsharab. The chicken gets beautifully caramelized on the grill. I eat it and promise to go to Georgia, to see Tbilisi and Lake Ritsa, which my father reached driving his old Ural bike. He said he had never seen such old trees as those which grew there.


©Anna Mitrokhova
There are days when your head feels heavy. I feel like I have 40-pound weights on both of my temples, like those which I saw in my parents’ flat when I was little. If I worked in an office, I would spend such a day surreptitiously reading other people’s stories, looking at my colleagues and drinking tea. I am not in the office, though, and it's Friday. So, we are preparing for the evening attack of the restaurant guests on our meals, and our lunch is being prepared quickly. There is a whole mix of everything in my head, just like in this soup, which has all the vegetables of the world and scraps of meat in it, to make it tastier. There is heaviness in my soul, just like in my stomach, because of the ham, cheese, eggs, and mayo salad. That turned out to be surprisingly delicious and vivid, although I was eating rather through habit.


©Anna Mitrokhova
We have had an interesting day today. A chef from Mexico came and cooked a set with insects, to accompany a show of a film about beetles as food. I got so excited that I forgot to feed the dogs and to eat myself. Our today’s lunch is ice-cream with caramelized ant eggs. My stomach is empty, and I feel happiness in my head, as I love change of settings. Generally speaking, all the insects have two tastes: pure protein and sunflower seeds (fried chitin tastes like sunflower seeds). They say, it’s the food of the future, as insects grow very fast and have a high nutritive value. Of course, you have to struggle with yourself to eat them, because this is so unusual. Now I have a couple of silkworm mummies at home, and I am hoping butterflies will emerge out of them some day.


©Anna Mitrokhova
I got up at seven in the morning. I felt fine, as I went to bed early, attended my ballet class on the snowy morning and then went to work. Here a Tuesday morning is like a morning in a communal flat. You have to make all the new preparations for the new week, all the stoves are occupied; it is noisy, very noisy, and this is awesome. A Tuesday lunch looks like a family gathering. Here you have rice, and buckwheat, and lobio, which has tried to get cooked last week, and two varieties of sausages. The mustard comes from Volgograd, from the chef’s mother, and it is really hot: I eat a sausage, and tears come to my eyes. This is a good day, as if the New Year celebration is tomorrow.
© Anna Mitrokhova

Anna Mitrokhova

the senior cook of the Delicatessen restaurant, the founder of the Simple Ballet School and of the Girl&Sole running club.





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