Little Aspiring Chef

Being a child I was definitely not a kitchen friendly type. Of course, I had that rather inevitable for many little girls experience at the age of 5 when I helped my mum to make a cake (have no particular memories of that – probably, I just tasted the batter and the cream) which was consequently presented to my dad (“well done, daughter!”) and to our neighbours (“oh, it’s so cute! Your parents must be very proud of you!”). And sure they were. But I somehow felt that I hadn't quite deserved the praise for my efforts (yes, definitely those efforts were limited to licking the cream off the whisk before putting it into a sink). Anyway, later on whenever my mum tried to drag me into the kitchen – at least just to watch her cooking and, thus, learn some basic skills – I found any decent excuse to evade it. By the time I finished school my mum had a serious fear that I would never ever learn to cook. Her fear, let me tell you, had a solid ground – seriously, the first time I switched on the gas stove I was already 12.

Then, however, I entered the university, moved to Moscow and… no, I didn’t find myself facing a dreadful necessity to put a pan on a stove in order to survive. I was surrounded by other young students who were too preoccupied by so many things that they had no spare time to cook, only to eat. And to do it quickly. So, we all had an amazing ability to feed ourselves without going to the kitchen in the university hostel. It was only at the third year that we started to rent a flat with one girl and I spent much time doing the homework at the kitchen table, looking at the stove and... you know what? At one point it occurred to me that this big monster is not that scary. So I headed to the nearest supermarket and (at last!) bought something decent to cook with instead of a ready-made stuff. Of course, I started with simple things. There were frittatas, pasta and stir-fried rice. I recollected some of the basic things about cooking that my mum managed to put into my head (thanks a lot, mummy!) and one morning when she called me and heard that I’d made some pancakes for my breakfast, she was dumb for a few minutes…

Another stage – marriage (forth year at the university). I realized that I had to fill the gaps in my culinary knowledge for the sake of my husband and to do it quickly. I was an intelligent student, a very persistent one. My hubby was always fed, and not with a bad food! At least, he never complained!

My really big culinary journey began when we moved to Kolkata, India in 2009. For the first couple of months I had no job, no friends and most of days I was left on my own at home. I didn't know how to make myself busy. Having lots of time, I decided to devote it to developing my culinary skills and preparing more and more elaborate dishes. I guess, with such an abundance of spices in the local market, such a variety of different cuisines present in the city and such a range of cooking shows featuring the most amazing recipes, I couldn't but become fascinated by food! I was eager to taste everything and even much more eager to try to make something new. My biggest problem was the absence of some of the ingredients at the markets but I took the advantage of it by thinking of the ways of substituting them with what I could get here and it resulted in some sort of a fusion cuisine. So, apart from having traditional European, Middle Eastern and Asian dishes, my husband was forced to try some cross-cultural options – and, again, he never complained.     

In India I was totally overwhelmed by my passion and felt absolutely absorbed by the activity that brought so much joy to life. I could spend the whole day “fishing out” an unusual or challenging recipe from the Internet, trying it in the kitchen, meticulously plating up the resulting dish and taking several dozen photos of it in order to choose one or two for my album. I could spend half of the night making cute decorations for a cake or raise half an hour earlier to catch the most delightful sunlight for those almost-perfect shots. I could also spend a few hours in front of TV switching the channels between Masterchef Australia, Top Chef and Nigella Kitchen/Feast/Bites/Express (I also loved Raymond Blanc’s Kitchen Secrets on BBC – he has such a charming French accent!). I tried a lot of recipes from those shows, from some reliable websites and from my ultimate reference book – “Larousse Gastronomique”. Usually I alternated the recipes a bit, the reasons for it being: a) the absence of some ingredients, as I’ve mentioned above; b) the desire to give “an individual touch” to the dish.

In my blog I tried to cover the most successful recipes I came across. In May 2012, as we returned to Moscow, I launched the Russian version of my food blog:

       If you have any questions or suggestions, you can write to me:


       I will appreciate your feedback  and will try not to be too sensitive to any critical remarks! 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...