The Grebenchshikovs, who run the Bobo restaurant in St. Petersburg, mix Russian tradition with avant-garde techniques.
They come from the cold, but they bring warmth and elegance to the kitchen by mixing tradition and avant-garde. This was how Benjamín Lana presented the Grebenchshikovs at the brothers’ debut at Reale Seguros Madrid Fusión. “You’ll hear about them”, said the chairman of Vocento’s gastronomic division when he introduced the pair – Artem, a chef, and Alexei, a pastry chef – who run the Bobo restaurant in Saint Petersburg, where they blend Russian tradition and traditional flavours with avant-garde techniques.
Lana praised the “subtlety, elegance and beauty” of their dishes and “their radical modernity using traditional products”, in what he described as “an inward looking culinary revolution”.
“In Russia, we were trying to escape from Russian flavours, which seemed too crude, but we have found a formula to make new, different traditional flavours”, said Artem as a statement of intent. “In the midst of globalisation, it is very important to be able to rescue your flavours and tastes in order to offer them to the world”, he added.
And he did so by tweaking such simple dishes as potatoes, herrings and ice cream by refining and redefining traditional recipes. Baked potatoes with dill and onions were made more sophisticated by using vacuum cooking techniques and mixing them with crab and gherkins. “These are familiar flavours for Russians”, said Artem. Like herring, the most popular and affordable fish in Russia, from which he extracts a caviar with a crunchy and mellow texture. “It’s as good as caviar from sturgeon”, he said of a recipe he presented on rye bread. “It’s a very simple dish but it sums up our philosophy: simplicity, innovation and elegance, which is what we are looking for to showcase Russian cuisine and modernise it”, Artem explained before passing the baton on to his brother, who prepared a Jerusalem artichoke ice cream without white sugar.
Artem Grebenchshikov was studying space device management in St. Petersburg when he decided to take a part-time job in a restaurant to pay for his studies. He discovered his passion for cooking and, at the age of 20, became the chef of the best restaurant in Vyborg, near St. Petersburg. He managed to launch his own restaurant in May 2018, the Bourgeois Bohemians (or BoBo, as everyone now calls it in St. Petersburg), thus establishing his own style.
Critics praise his intelligence, avant-garde spirit and sophistication, the combination of which has brought fame to this chef and his restaurant, recognised as the best in the imperial city.
Artem works with his brother Alexei, a gifted pastry chef trained with the world’s greatest masters in confectionery and chocolate: Jordi Bordas, Andrés Lara, Arnaud Larher, Alexandre Bordeaux, Julien Dugourd and Wielfried Hauwel. Alexei creates light, fresh desserts, avoiding sugar as much as possible. His star dessert is made up of raspberries, beetroot, coconut and sudachi.