From advertisement to restaurateurs
I’ve always been interested in food. I studied at Academy of arts, a major in history of arts, but at the same time I was keen of the history of products and on world cuisines. I used to read, travel and eat a lot. Then, I worked in advertisement business for 11 years; I cooperated with international agencies. At a certain point, I understood I was fed up with it. In 2007, I found the job of marketing director in “Kozyrnaia karta” network, and one thing led to another. Later I became a personal assistant of the senior chief and the presenter of “Hell kitchen” Aram Mnatsakanov and finally in 2012 I opened my own location on the first floor of Salut hotel.
At a certain moment, my friend restaurateur Igor Sukhomlin suggested me a new project. We felt the shortage of trainings for restaurateurs and understood we had to invent something special and separate. That is how our forum RestoPraktiki was born and is developing successfully.
The main distinction of our projects from the others alike is that we don’t use the moth-eaten topics like “22 ways of theft in a restaurant and how to stop it”. We have initially decided that our training would be modern, bright, and trendy, with no boredom and ties, but on the contrary – people holding glasses would party together in restaurants, listen to interesting speakers and exchange their experience.
We used to hold our trainings in Kiev, but this year we understood that Lvov is much more attractive, so we have changed our location. The first place was surely given to Lvov restaurateurs. Andrei Khudo (co-owner of “Fest” creative restaurants network) told about patriotism in restaurant business, Mark Zarhin (owner of Kumpel and Celentano restaurants) presented the phenomenon of Galicia cuisine, Natalka Ostapiuk from “Svit kavy” told about the coffee key role in every restaurant.
Partners and participants
We always choose partners and participants sticking to one rule – they have to be as interested as we are. Partners have to be interested to accept 100-150 restaurateurs from all over Ukraine and abroad for 3 days, and the participants have to meet the requirement of “interest”. Besides, the people who took part in our previous events often become presenters themselves. If we see that they’ve risen and have something to share, we invite them to speak on RestoPraktiki. Usually we select 12 presenters, 4 per each day.
Value of the matter
We are often told that our prices are too high (5 thousand hrivnas). Well, they really are. Yes, it equals the price of a weekend somewhere. However, we consider that the knowledge acquired here is worth it. Besides, all the presentation are recorded and uploaded for free access. We try to create a certain level and opportunity to get concentrated knowledge not travelling far. Even more, the price was formed for the first forum and hasn’t changed since then despite the crisis in the country.
Now we are developing another project – RestoCamp. This is a kind of three days’ summer camp for restaurateurs; during staying there, the participants have to work out a top-class restaurant concept. The concept remains in free access and if someone has a wish to bring it to life, we will be very happy. If we can, next year we will organize one more Camp, but for senior chiefs.
Only dedicated are to survive
I am glad that despite the situation in the country the Ukrainian restaurant industry is developing. Soviet husks are falling off and people become open to modern formats, like street food. It is nice that the festivals have appeared in Ukraine at last.
“Close to people” concept is very popular and profitable today. Not only because of locations, but also because of restaurateurs and their vision. For example, my colleague Igor Sukhomlin has invented a new coffee house format. Another interesting location “Kovcheg” was open is Ternopol; it uses local products only. Emotions holding “Fest” has opened “Pstrug, bread and wine” in Lvov – it is a unique mono-product concept and one of my favorite places. These attractive formats don’t require millions of investments.
From the other hand, it is possible to combine simplicity, open kitchens, smiling staff with being a rather expensive restaurant with beautiful interior and delicious products.
Local cuisine is the future of restaurants
Regional and national cuisine development is a very important factor of restaurant market growth. I notice some progress in this field. It is pleasant to know that by the end of the year the restaurant “Golodnyi Mykola” will be open in Lvov, and it will become the largest Galicia cuisine restaurant in the world. Besides, the book “Galicia cuisine” by Yurii Vinnichuk and Yurko Nazaruk has been recently published; the first book on regional cuisine in Ukraine and a big step forward.
The Ukrainian restaurateurs are still too affected by different influences. It would be cool if they developed basing on the local cuisine, products and season only, as everyone in the world does. For example, in the French backwoods, you will never see a fish course on the menu – no one will even think to bring the fish from the seashore inland only to make someone happy.
I think it is necessary that a modern restaurateur should go abroad, should get acquainted with the world contexts, absorb new ideas and, of course, should know by heart the history of products and cuisines.