In recent years, Bangkok has seen a veritable United Nations of visiting chefs. But most of these, while illustrious, have turned out to be the usual suspects from the usual places: France, Italy, Australia, Germany, plus a smattering from South America. But Vladimir Mukhin may be the most unusual culinary ambassador to make his way here. Much as it enters the arena of world politics, Russian cuisine is staking a claim to its rightful place in today’s global fine dining scene. And it is indeed a special occasion—perhaps the most significant food event of the year—that Bangkok’s W Hotel, and its restaurant fittingly housed in the opulent former Russian Embassy, should be hosting Chef Mukhin, a rising star whose White Rabbit gastrobar in Moscow is already rated at number 23 among the prestigious World’s 50 Restaurants, presented by Sanpellegrino.
“My mission is to spread modern Russian cuisine to the world,” he has declared, having already shown his culinary style at the Milan Expo, in Berlin, and at the Sochi Olympics. “But this will be a first: black cod with false porridge in the land of tom yam.”
A brash, whimsical fellow with soulful eyes and a short beard as black as Rasputin’s, Mukhin plans to showcase for a select group of lucky diners some of his signature dishes, replicating for the first time on Asian soil such fanciful and delectable interpretations of Russian classics as Merluzzo with False Porridge of Asparagus and Sorrel, or a Beef Stroganoff he makes with special molluscs from the Black Sea. Or for sweets lovers, how about a Medovik—or honey cake—flavoured with tangerine and topped with sour cream ice cream? One look, one taste, will be obvious proof that Mukhin is among the most original culinary artists on the planet.
“In the kitchen,” he says, alluding to his culinary lineage, which spans five generations, “I combine Russian gastronomical traditions of my family with modern technologies. Traditions are eternal but innovations are limitless.”
It will be an exciting surprise to see just what he brings in his suitcase from the Russian larder or how he transforms what he finds in Bangkok markets. “As a kid, we never had a freezer—it’s best to eat products when they are full of taste.”
While he employs foams, liquid nitrogen, and cutting-edge methods, Mukhin says his main intent is to provoke strong and deep emotions. He tries to harmonize at least three main tastes on every plate, adding, “My gastronomy is a puzzle or a quest.”
In his Moscow restaurant, he even combines food with theatrical staging—an interpretation of Alice in Wonderland was appropriately staged at White Rabbit this spring.
At The Dining Room at The House on Sathorn, adjacent to the striking W Hotel Bangkok, Mukhin’s culinary presentations should be a command performance in itself. Here will be the very first chance to sample and understand modern Russian cuisine, as forged by its number one trailblazer. It’s a once-in-a-decade opportunity to discover one of the world’s most unexplored and underrated cuisines.
“Russian cuisine is my blood,” says Vladimir Mukhin. “And now it is ready for new ideas.”
At only age 32, he wants to break free of stereotypes and utilize “all 17000 kilometres” of this motherland of food.
He is thrilled to be coming to Bangkok for the first time and further his “mission to hold high the banner of Russian cooking.”