New cultural-food doctrine.
Real life asks us a question: Why is it that from eighty to ninety percent of restaurants go under within the first two years? You can find tons of economic intelligence on this in the public domain, but in reality the answer is simple and banal – THEY’RE BORING! Japanese restaurants, and Italian, Chinese — «been there, done that», fast food, buffets — cheap and stupid, a cemetery restaurant with a deliberately boorish staff, or a restaurant with a «toilet» theme might be creative, but in fact, vulgar and rough, molecular cuisine — unsatisfying, expensive and gets old real fast, while at the same time everywhere -restaurant concepts, a conceptual approach to food and the customer … in general, there are concepts all around, but as Gogol said, «Ladies and gentlemen, to live in this world is boring!» and indeed, things really are predictable, and not only results, but the mindset of restaurateurs is predictable, resembling a bad detective story, where by the tenth page you already know «whodunit». If today someone opens an underwater restaurant, then you can be sure that soon someone will open a restaurant somewhere in the middle of the desert. If someone opens a restaurant at the top of a volcano, you can be sure that in no time someone will open an ice restaurant. But if there is a prohibitively high percentage of bankruptcies of restaurants in the world, then it means that people vote with their money in such a way. Why so? Perhaps, like me, everyone’s simply tired of it all. But is there really a way to change this? It`s possible, if hundreds of frail and lifeless concepts are squared off against a single powerful new restaurant doctrine. This should not be simply a new one-shot idea, it should be a new understanding, if you will, a new logic and philosophy of food. What? You’re asking where is the logic of this new philosophy going to come from? You just need to know where to look for. We see traditional food, mixed, home-style, vegetarian, molecular cuisine – what do these words mean? The principle of food preparation? NO! These are linguistic fences that won’t allow our thoughts soar, to see what’s out there, to see if there is any «culinary life» to be found. A new doctrine makes it clear that yes, there is life! And this life is rich and diverse. And if we were to get just one look beyond this «fence» constructed of concepts, we can see that the cuisine might be à la suprematism, neoplasticism, tachisme, unism, drip painting, even proto-cubism and each of them not only has its own «food logic,» but also, just as importantly, its aesthetics. Take, for example, the cuisine à la suprematism. The supremacists wanted to change and harmonize the world by their compositions of the simplest geometric forms. Well, what can I say? The world was out of reach, but cuisine — that’s another story. Can you please answer one simple question What exactly is pizza? Is it Italian cuisine? NO! Pizza is a chart that shows you how much pizza you have left. That’s a joke. Pizza, first and foremost, is round. What is falafel — a chick pea dish? — First, it’s a ball! A turnover is primarily a triangle first, and a pastry second. This is a basic, elemental, rough level, but we are beginning to get somewhere with this, so let’s ask: What exactly is a table? A table is a single plane on which you can build a Suprematist composition from dishes.
And here the question about shapes of dishes arises. They should be of different geometric shapes, too. If, for example, we’re talking about herring fillets or a baked piece of meat, we can use a knife to give it a variety of forms, but liquid takes the form of the vessel into which it is poured, and so the vessels have to be created within the framework of the Suprematist conception. And not only the vessels. At the moment I have 932 ideas for Suprematist innovations, from saucers and plates to special shapes for the production of Suprematist gingerbread. And that’s not counting the design ideas for the restaurant, the outfits for the staff… and even the customer loyalty cards. Thus, what do we have as a result? — YOU are a diner at a Suprematist restaurant. For example, spread out on a large rectangular dish, the veal medallions are the simplest shape, which together with blackberry sauce and baked potatoes chopped in the form of a rectangle is a composition designed by the cook. The plate, in turn, is part of the composition, which has been constructed by the waiter on the plane of your table. The Suprematist tables and chairs, in turn, are part of the restaurant’s Suprematist composition. The waiters dressed in Suprematist attire spread the food out, forming new compositions on planes of the tables in accordance the diners` orders. It’s like a universe where you are part of it, while also being an observer. You have an opportunity to see everything: from the movement of Suprematist atoms to the movement of Suprematist galaxies. And if earlier pure Suprematism was based solely on shape and color, the Suprematist kitchen adds not only a multi-dimensional volume and movement to it, but also taste, smell, and tactile sensations, which make it a million times over Suprematist. A Suprematist Composition is a principle that brings a new level but does not negate the achievements of the old doctrine of food. The menu is not drawn up by product type: meat, fish, and not by the way it is prepared: hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, but, depending on the geometrical shape and composition, opens a new space for the chefs` creativity, and provides the diner with a wider choice. Of course, a good old steak cooked medium well is still the same, but if a person, without losing the sensation, wants to expand the boundaries of taste in a single composition, he can experience, for example, a delicate mousse, which with the help of molecular cuisine tastes like Borodinsky bread. Compositions of fried artichokes are enhanced by a little mint caviar, and tiger prawns can be paired with arugula spaghetti. A composition is a principle which helps to satisfy the needs of people with pre-formed tastes that don’t want to change anything, and also people who are constantly looking for new taste experiences. If a person orders a classic cheese cake, then he can have it, or if he wants the most delicate dodecahedrons printed from powdered sugar on a 3D-printer he can have them, too. At the same time, pay attention to one important point: some people in restaurants are annoyed by the pathos of marble, gilt and bentwood chairs, while on the contrary, a high-tech design with its almost lab-sterile and deliberate futuristic style put others out of temper. In developing the restaurant concept, the biggest selling point is what the customer wants, and so there aren’t many who consider what it is that can make him uncomfortable. But if all of the space in the restaurant is subjugated to simple geometric shapes, then… UNDERSTAND, no one is nourished by hatred toward a parallelepiped, nor will anyone experience a fear of cones, or a sense discomfort in the proximity of balls. I know of no one who can say ‘I don’t like circles In general, all circles.’ After all, even if he is, «shell-shocked» by school memories and isn’t fond of a circle drawn on paper, well, I think he’ll be at least sympathetic to a round petit four with a piece of frozen chocolate wind.
And another important point: walk into any bookstore and there’s a huge range of books on the culinary arts, but if you look closely, what do you see? Another re-release of Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child, gastronomic encyclopedias, written in the bland, boring and most of all TASTELESS language, books by stars who cook and books by chefs who are trying to teach us how to cook restaurant food at home. All of this is secondary, boring, and in the latter case, almost mean. Making a decent restaurant meal at home using recipes from a book is like sewing a dress at home from the latest Yamamoto collection after seeing a documentary about him, or else a dress on a model on the catwalk. A restaurant is a team and technology, and at home you have neither one nor the other. On top of this, haute cuisine always contains some sort of mystery and opens up the option of engaging in guesswork, and if this feeling disappears, then the restaurant becomes uninteresting for visitors. If a magician reveals what’s behind his tricks, he’ll be left without an audience, and a good restaurateur is always a magician of gastronomy, and so no matter how much Ramsay and Oliver tell you they’ll reveal the secrets of creating this or that culinary masterpiece, don’t be deceived: they will never, ever reveal what really matters. Myself, I see cooking as analogous with fashion: a dish from a good restaurateur is like high fashion, a good home-cooked meal from natural products is like ready-to-wear, and fast food, and processed food is like clothing from the mass market clothing. Yes, at home it’s impossible to attain haute cuisine, but a decent, tasty meal is within your reach. And the recipes and compositional principles of Suprematist cuisine, Suprematist crockery, cutlery, tablecloths, napkins, and even napkin rings can diversify and expand your gustatory experience, because depending on the composition of your table that you select, as well as the composition of the individual dishes, you can plan your Suprematist date, Suprematist dinner party, or even a Suprematist dinner with your parents. This is brief, and only touches on the possibilities of Suprematist cuisine, and as I already said, it is only one part of the new food doctrine. For example, a cuisine à la neoplasticism is characterized by dividing and harmonizing flavors, and in a neoplastic system color is not color, and, for example, in simultaneous… although, no, I won’t reveal the secrets of this cuisine yet, because it’s better to try a dish just once than it is to read about it a hundred times.