18 – 20 February 2020 • Russia • Moscow • Crocus Expo IEC, pav.1

Locality is social responsibility

Anton Abrezov, the famous Petersburg chef, is about the responsibility of the chef for the development of locality, farmers' supplies, seasonality and the ability to use any product in its entirety.

Farm supply problems that aren't that bad 

Today, many cooks talk about the problems of quality, stability of supply and so on, but, to be honest, I don’t see any big problems in this: the one who is looking for will actually find it.

Yes, sometimes suppliers really "burrow". Sometimes we find the perfect fish from the farms of the Leningrad region, and as soon as three or four chefs learn about it, a fish with the smell of mud begins to come to me. Because they are starting to fill a ton for a ton and sell faster in order to pay off faster. They forget what their key value is - why do people even turn to them.

But after all, exactly the same thing happens with some restaurateurs, who, having received the first shaft of guests, begin to “cut the bones”, changing their original product and not realizing that guests who “went the shaft” completely after the other, will inevitably leave after the deterioration of the product .

Today, many restaurateurs understand the danger of such an error and try not to make it. So after all, farmers are beginning to understand! And there are new products and new manufacturers! Here, the Rostov company that produces duck closed, and it disappeared from many restaurants in the country: as it turned out, it was almost the only large company supplying duck. The abyss on the market.

But, first, not for long: there is already another - and rather big! - a farm that grows duck, and very soon the duck will again be with us - ours, of Russian production. And secondly: yes, while there is no duck - so what? We have nothing to cook? We have quails, at worst - geese. Again - in the Leningrad region there are several farms where guinea fowls are grown.

That is, who moves, he will find!

It is possible to use the whole product, up to the "horns and hoofs" 

At the beginning of June 2019, we opened a new Commons restaurant in St. Petersburg with the team.

At the heart of his concept is wine and cuisine with dishes from products of small farms. And this is exactly the work with private farms of the North-West region and small wineries around the world. We plan to comprehensively support manufacturers, with whom we will work directly.

We believe that the smaller the production, the more attention is paid there to the product and the more qualitative it is obtained in the end.

And my big dream is to minimize waste up to waste-free production and complete separate garbage collection. Perhaps, from the very first day of the restaurant’s operation this does not happen, but we must immediately strive for this and adjust the corresponding technological processes.

«My advice to those who want to learn how to cook a product without a trace: order a brisket today, an entrecote tomorrow, legs the day after tomorrow - and then enter all this into the menu. Try to prepare each part separately: you will learn how to work with the product, and the guest will be satisfied with the variety of the product range, and reduce the food throughput completely painlessly and even imperceptibly».

I think that in a restaurant it is quite possible not to buy only chicken breasts or, suppose, pork belly - but to buy a whole chicken or pig carcass at once and use it whole, up to “horns and hooves”. And it will primarily be cheaper! But it requires great skill in cooking, as well as knowledge of this product and cooking technology.

Another thing is that not all chefs and even chefs can cook everything without residue. Here is my advice to those who want to learn: order a study for brisket today, an entrecote tomorrow, the day after tomorrow legs - and all this is immediately entered into the menu. Try to prepare each part separately: you will learn how to work with the product, and the guest will be satisfied with the variety of the product range, and reduce the food throughput completely painlessly and even imperceptibly.

Of course, the chef of a large restaurant will not be able to afford it: he will not be able to buy, relatively speaking, two kilograms of something and today it will be entered into the menu. But this chef has other opportunities to increase his knowledge about the product, if for some reason they are not yet available.

Locality is a subtle relationship with the outside world 

Buying products in the markets or knowing a couple of farmers with whom you have a relationship is not local. Locality, in my opinion, is a broader concept. This is a subtle relationship with the outside world. This is an understanding of what kind of farms live and work around you, what they produce, and this understanding of what you yourself would like to produce here? How can you support these farmers? That is, locality is an understanding of the essence of local products and direct participation in their correction, their formation.

Because in general it is a question of social responsibility. For example, a product costs 100 rubles from a supplier, and a farmer costs 150 rubles. And it is clear that it is cheaper to buy from a supplier and maybe even easier. But I was taught at the Faculty of Economics: sometimes something may be unprofitable for a business. But he must have face and social responsibility!

Just have to: so it should be. Of course, the chef can not say: "I will buy only farmers, and everything!". But sometimes you need to think not only about numbers, but also about living people.

«Locality is an understanding of the essence of local products and direct participation in their correction, their formation».

And if I want to build a relationship with this farmer, I must somehow help him reduce this price. Since most often this farmer has his own small farm, where he produces a high-quality product, and he does not want to go to other volumes, so as not to lose this quality - that is why he is expensive. Yes, I am ready to support such a person, at least once or twice.

If his problem is different - that “I don’t want to expand production, because I don’t know what will happen next,” then we will definitely help! I will talk about this farmer to three or four chefs and try to convince them now to buy a little more expensive product from him, paying for his higher quality, and next year this product will be cheaper and better.

That is, we also have some responsibility for the development of this locality as a whole. There are a lot of farmers, only some of them have problems with logistics, some cannot fully enter the market, while others come out, but have to either dump or sell for high prices, and so on. It is clear that farming today is still exclusive, it is rare: it could not have been formed in a couple of five-year plans. Therefore, we should be useful to each other, and not lower our relationship only to the level of “cheap / expensive”, “price / quality”, “fast / long”.

I think we should support specific people - specific farmers who will later support us. And then we will all be cheaper and eat better.

Anton Abrezov worked as a chef in St. Petersburg restaurants GRÄSxMADBAREN, 
Dreamers, Prostovino and Taste is. Since the end of 2017, for almost a year and a half, Anton has hardly been in St. Petersburg: he traveled the world, studied and became acquainted with cultures from different countries. The ideas of using local and seasonal products are consciously traced in the work of the chef for a long time and have every chance to fully reveal themselves in the new St. Petersburg project Commons.


Published in the magazine "Restovoved" number 3 in 2019


By link - http://restoranoved.ru/magazins/nomer-3-2019/lokalnost-eto-sotsialnaya-otvetstvennost/