Aeroflot has held its second High Flyers all-Russian culinary competition for young chefs. The restaurant chosen to host the contest was Ruski – the highest restaurant in Europe, located on the 85th floor of the OKO skyscraper in Moscow International Business Centre. Aeroflot organised the competition supported by the Russian Restaurant Festival (RRF).
The finalists were selected following a tough preselection process, and six chefs from six cities across Russia – Moscow, St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Krasnodar and Sochi – made it into the final. Each chef designed three hot dishes for the Aeroflot Business Class menu. All contestants had to make a vegetarian option and a fish dish, while the third option was divided into two groups: some of the chefs cooked poultry dishes, others cooked meat. The participants created original recipes in accordance with a list of recommended ingredients and requirements for on-board catering.
The chefs’ works were judged by a professional jury made up of famous restaurateurs: Alexey Vasilchuk, Alexander Rapoport, Aram Mnatsakanov and Boris Zarkov, who were joined by Jacques Bally, president of Gault & Millau. Members of the jury carried out “blind” tasting of the dishes, and marked according to two criteria: taste, which had a 75% weighting on the final mark, and presentation, which held a 25% weighting. The winners were the contestants who scored the most points across all three dishes.
Georgy Troyan from Moscow, chef of restaurant Severyane, took first place. Second place went to Ilya Burnasov, executive chef of the restaurant chain Italy Group from St. Petersburg. Third place was awarded to the executive chef of Brunello restaurant, Ilya Zakharov from Sochi.
The three winners received prizes from the organiser of the competition. First prize was two business class tickets from Moscow to any destination offered by Aeroflot. Second prize was one business class ticket from Moscow to any Russian or European city, and the third prize was one economy class ticket from Moscow to any destination in Russia or Europe. As the most significant reward, the winners’ dishes were included in the new menus for business and comfort-class passengers.
This is the second time Aeroflot has held the High Flyers culinary championships. The first competition, which was organised as a pilot project, attracted keen interest from potential candidates and the media. The number of those who wish to take part in designing the Aeroflot menu is definitely growing. With a view to building their audience Aeroflot and RRF are developing an online platform for chefs from all over Russia to submit their applications for the first selection process. A shortlist will be drawn up from these results, and the six best candidates put forward to the finals in Moscow.