Paris, France · 27 September 2019 · Education for Employment with White Rabbit Family and Chef Vladimir Mukhin
The below article has been translated from Russian. Original links can be found below.
“I’m a Chef” is a charity project by Electrolux Russia, helping to provide professional development to youth leaving orphanages and teenagers living in foster homes or in heavy life circumstances. The program was developed under the guidance of Electrolux Food Foundation and Worldchefs, part of the Feed the Planet initiative Education for Employment.
On 27 August, the final event of the 2019 “I’m a Chef” project was held. This year was supported by the renowned and the best restaurant chain in Russia, White Rabbit Family (WRF), and by Vladimir Mukhin – #10 Best Chefs Award in 2018. He is also the brand chef of White Rabbit Restaurant, which is #13 in World’s 50 Best Restaurants.
Over the course of 2 months, 15 teenagers were trained in basic cooking skills under the guidance of professional chefs in the Worldchefs community. The programme took place at the base of 1st Moscow Educational complex restaurant business faculty, fully equipped by Electrolux Professional and Electrolux household appliances.
Within the framework of the program, the students also had the unique chance to visit WRF restaurants to see the work of real kitchens and to meet the brand chefs, gaining a deeper understanding of the profession. The students met with Vladimir Mukhin (Chef’s Table), Anatoly Kazakov (Selfie, 65th in the World’s 50 Best), Olga Suzdalkina (Chicha), Vitaly Istomin and Alexey Kogay (Sakhalin) and Andrey Koshkodan (Luciano), who is also a former orphanage graduate.
On 26 August the students were tested by Vladimir Mukhin in the training kitchen.
On 27 of August the final event took place, where the students demonstrated the skills gained during their 8 weeks of study. They were divided into 4 teams. Every team cooked its own dish: starter, soup, main dish or dessert. The jury consisted of media representatives and WRF chefs. They were judging the People’s Choice competition. The jury was presented by: Vladimir Mukhin, Alexey Kogay, Anatoly Kazakov, Irina Zarkova and mass media representatives.
The participants were further awarded by Electrolux and the White Rabbit Family.
The main prize for the winners was the opportunity to hone their skills in WRF restaurants. At the end of the final, Vladimir Mukhin announced that he would in fact take all the students to practice in the restaurants after a personal talk with each participant to define the individual details, helping to choose the right place for everyone.
Vladimir Mukhin shared, “There was a rule in the project, that I have to choose the best students for practicing, but I got used to breaking rules, so I decided to invite all the students. We will meet with everyone and decide individually, which restaurant will suit best in every case. Remember, being a chef is a very hard daily work. Every chef passes through the fall downs and the periods of bad luck, which at the end make us stronger.”
The names of the finalists:
- Azarov Alexander (18 years) A student of culinary college. Orpahage ЦССВ No1, also was living in the foster family. Will practice at Chefs Table WRF restaurant.
- Afanasyev Maxim (17 years) Last year at school and going to enter cooking college, now in a foster family. Will practice at Gorynych WRF restaurant.
- Borisov Dmitry (19 years) Studies at the construction faculty.
- Vlasov Valery (20 years) Has entered the culinary college. Graduated from the orphanage ЦССВ «Sputnik».
- Dudnik Nikita (15 years) Studies at school. From the orphanage ЦССВ «Nash Dom», now in the foster family.
- Zamolodchkov Daniil, (16 years) Going to enter culinary college. Now in the foster family. Will practice at White Rabbit WRF restaurant.
- Iegovina Elizabetta (16 years) Has entered culinary college. From the orphanage ЦССВ №1, from the foster family. Will practice at Gorynych WRF restaurant.
- Kotova Polina (21 years) Graduated from the orphanage ЦССВ «Sinyaya Ptitsa».
- Kupriyanova Elena (19 years) Graduated from culinary college. Graduated from the ЦССВ «Polyarnaya Zvezda. Lives in the adaptation center, Degunino. Will practice at Vokrug Sveta WRF restaurant.
- Lelyavskaya Elizaveta (19 years) Lives in a family with heavy life circumstances.
- Prohorova Julia (19 years) Studies in culinary college. From the orphanage, also lived with a foster family. Will practice at Selfie WRF restaurant.
- Sidirova Maria (16 years) During the project entered culinary college. From the family with heavy life circumstaces. Will practice with the pastry chef in the WRF confectionary kitchen.
- Romanov Ruslan (17 years) Interested in more training in the culinary profession. From the orphanage ЦССВ «Kakhovskiye Romashki, lives in the foster family.
- Chervinov Maxim (19 years) Interested in more training in the culinary profession. Graduated from the orphanage.
- 1st placeо: Azarov Alexander and Sidorova Mariya
- 2nd Place: Iegovina Elizabetta and Isaev Rustaev Ivan
- 3rd place: Vlasov Valery and Lelyavskaya Elizaveta*
- Special Prize: Dudnik Nikita*, Zamolodchikov Daniil*, Sidirova Mariya
- *has won the additional education: basic pastry course in best Moscow studio
Mukhin continued, “It is not a secret that my work is a dream job. My work is my main living place, but as a change, every day I get satisfaction from the creative process: from people I work with, from the traveling and getting new knowledge. What is more, this profession is well paid. Long ago I realized that sharing the skills and knowledge is a vitally important habit. It provides a circulation of energy and makes you happy. I will feel happy if we manage to motivate the guys and someone will have a wish to become one of us. We can not help all, but if we help at least one of the guys, it means that we managed to do a great job.”
In Russia, approximately 6000 teenagers graduate from orphanages each year. They find themselves going into adulthood with very little life experience, as they are generally not taught independence while in orphanages. Most of them find it difficult to perform even basic tasks like using public transport, buying groceries or cooking. They also often struggle with a choice of profession.
In order to help such teenagers, Electrolux in Russia launched “I’m a Chef” – a charitable culinary education project. The program gives children the opportunity to master the profession of a chef. They also learn how to work in teams and start to understand the requirements for building a career in hospitality.
The program was launched last year and the results of the first wave were also impressive. In April 2019, Oleg Laptev and Angelina Oparina – two finalists from 2018 – took part in the national professional competition “Chef a la Russe”, where they came in at a 4th place in the “Juniors” nomination. This year, Oleg Laptev is assisting a chef in second wave of the “I’m a Chef” project. During the project, Oleg got an offer to practice his skills in one of WRF restaurants, Luciano, under the guidance of Luciano brand chef Andrey Koshkodan, who is also a former orphanage graduate.
“It is important for us to convey to these kids that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, can change both their present and future,” says Pavel Potapov, General Director of Electrolux in Russia.
The World Association of Chefs’ Societies, known as Worldchefs, is a dynamic global network of 110 chef associations worldwide. A leading voice in the hospitality industry, Worldchefs carries 91 years of history since its founding at the Sorbonne by the venerable Auguste Escoffier. Representing a mobilized international membership of culinary professionals, Worldchefs is committed to advancing the profession and leveraging the influence of the chef jacket for the betterment of the industry and humanity at large.
Worldchefs is dedicated to raising culinary standards and social awareness through these core focus areas:
Education – Worldchefs offers support for education and professional development through the landmark Worldchefs Academy online training program, our expansive network of Worldchefs Certified Schools and curriculums, and the world’s first Global Hospitality Certification recognizing on-the-job skills in hospitality;
Networking – Worldchefs provides a platform for connection to chefs around the world, and a gateway for industry networking opportunities through endorsed events and the preeminent biennial Worldchefs Congress & Expo;
Competition – Worldchefs sets global standards for competition rules, provides Competition Seminars and assurance of Worldchefs Certified Judges, and runs the prestigious Global Chefs Challenge;
Humanitarian & Sustainability – our Feed the Planet and World Chefs Without Borders programs relieve food poverty, deliver crisis support, and promote sustainability across the globe.
For more information about Worldchefs, visit us at www.worldchefs.org.