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Vitaly Istomin, Chef At Tekhnikum And Sakhalin Restaurants, On The Psychology Of Food Consumption - Interview
Vitaly Istomin, Chef At Tekhnikum And Sakhalin Restaurants, On The Psychology Of Food Consumption - Interview

Video: Vitaly Istomin, Chef At Tekhnikum And Sakhalin Restaurants, On The Psychology Of Food Consumption - Interview

Video: Vitaly Istomin, Chef At Tekhnikum And Sakhalin Restaurants, On The Psychology Of Food Consumption - Interview
Video: Chefs Speak Out on Mental Health in the Restaurant Industry | WSJ 2023, March

Vitaly Istomin, the chef of the Tekhnikum and Sakhalin restaurants, the author of the book “Not boring food”, shared in his exclusive interview his childhood memories, interesting facts about the restaurant business, as well as the psychology of food consumption

Do you have any vivid childhood memories of food?

I cannot say that as a child, food played a significant role in my life. I lived in an ordinary family, we had nothing special, no delicacies. My two grandmothers are from different regions - one from Odessa, the other from Arkhangelsk. And this factor created vivid impressions and taste differences. The one from Odessa spoiled me with southern seasonal fruits, berries, fish: red mullet, gobies, katran. While at a grandmother from northern Russia, you could often see salted meat at the table, which is harvested using a special technique in those parts. It was also possible to taste fish more familiar to us, such as sterlet, pike, crucian carp. My uncle the fisherman spoiled us quite often.

Of course, this is not all gastronomy, but homemade fishmongers with burbot, syrniki made from melted cottage cheese, and churchkhela from the delivery sank into memory. And also, I often use my grandmother's secret now in my kitchen - she added fried onions everywhere. Not only in soups, but also in the first, second, third.

Why do you think there is such a craze for cooking today? Do people go to courses, take pictures of food in restaurants?

In my opinion, cooking has become a part of our life, especially in Moscow, just like travel, fashion, shopping. This cannot be called a culinary craze, but now there is such an abundance of products on the market, and people always want to try something new, it's a sin not to pamper themselves.

Among my acquaintances there are a lot of people who do not consider cooking an art, for them it is just another fuel. And restaurants are now perceived not as a place where you can celebrate any holiday, but as a place “for every day”.

Which dishes are more often chosen by men and which women, what is the reason for this? How does the color of a dish affect its choice?

I cannot say that I divide men and women on orders. In my opinion, men are unambiguously inclined to less wholesome food, and girls, on the contrary. Although in fact this vector is now shifting.

I noticed that girls often cling to the names of dishes such ingredients as avocado, tuna, something gluten-free.

The color of the food doesn't really matter, but it's absolutely certain that it should be cute. You definitely need to do so that the dish conveys freshness, so if you highlight the color, then it's probably green.

Moscow experienced a boom in Japanese food for a long time, later in Italian, and now Eastern cuisine is popular. What are the trends in gastronomy now? Could this be related to the psychology of healthy food consumption?

I'm not sure that there is a single trend in Moscow, the demand for healthy food, or at least for the illusion of healthy food, clearly prevails. You can open a restaurant of any cuisine and fill it with healthy ingredients. For example, in a meat establishment, serve guacamole with a steak, and in a fish establishment, a quinoa salad will be a good addition to the main course. This will give people at least a little bit of the feeling that they are eating right.

And if there is a trend, then I would say that a mixture of cultures is popular now. For example, in the Sakhalin restaurant I mix Italian cuisine with Japanese. The austerity of Japanese cuisine - interesting sauces, pure taste of products and Italy with its pastas, fresh vegetables and low-calorie desserts.

What is the formula for the success of a good restaurant? What psychological tricks can attract a large flow of visitors?

In my opinion, the formula for a good restaurant is great service and a recreated sense of the pack that these people identify with. It is important that people have the impression that they are in their own society, or one step higher. This gives guests the feeling that they are paying, but at the same time they are slightly underpaying. So, each time guests will leave with the pleasant feeling that they have allowed themselves to come to a high-level restaurant, but at the same time without paying fabulous money.

But with the help of the service, you can always compensate for any guest's dissatisfaction, without remaining indifferent to his problems. For example, if a guest comes with a discharged phone, offer him a charger. Or if he did not like the dish, exclude it from the bill. Thus, you can show care and empathy towards the person who chose your restaurant, it is to this atmosphere that there will always be a desire to return. After all, this makes guests happier. And people with the right values must work - positive, happy. Unhappy people cannot make others happy.

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