I visited restaurants since childhood, but I got interested in that business only in late Institute. Parties, bars, restaurants, travelling to Europe and visiting different places – all that was the part of my life. I realized that I like it, I have my own taste. Why not implement it? In 2008 we started “Deluxe Delicious” catering service. I was curious about everything: from forks to menu creation. In 2011, we stared Quick Li – Chinese cuisine with delivery. Confectionery is a brand new hobby.
Study in France
I went doing my studies to the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Pattisserie (ENSP) with the idea to introduce to Kiev original macaroons – to start up the unique project. It is a vacant niche in Ukraine. In modern dessert stylistics – absolutely free. All we have is at least 20 years old — so called “classics”. There’s a lack of modern style and not everybody understand us but we are trying to teach. Choosing macaroons I, of course, make a start from my personal taste as well.
My studies lasted three months. We had classes from 6 am until 1 pm or from 1 pm until 8 pm. New week – new topic: chocolate, bread, ice cream, cakes – many things. Moreover, we had practice — to work in such restaurants as Ladur?e or Pierre Herm? for a month.
My friends advised me ENSP school. I was planning to go to Ferrandi, but it’s half a year at least. It’s a quite long period and I can’t leave my business just like that. Doing high-level studies, going into culinary deeply requires French. My level of French is low and that\s the only problem for now. However, I definitely would go there for studies again: to get the title as minimum, as maximum – for pleasure and new developments. On October 15, I am going to visit Pierre Hermet for two days course. He is the master; we all are heading to, the guru. We use his formulas.
I selected my team long and tiresomely. From 100-150 visitors, only one hit the target. A main criterion is modern approach to life. Young people, ready to learn, progress in team, build business. The desire to study is very important. We all had change ourselves in some way and say: “Yes, I want to learn something new” instead of “No, I would do what I’ve done before and I don’t care.” Because all knowledge they had is unacceptable. We had to reeducate them. We differ in everything: from technologies to ingredients. We hired experienced and inexperienced but with professional education.
We didn’t hire those who came for a couple of days just to find our secrets or just wanted to enter the FILM.UA territory, where we situated. Even tattooed prisoners look alike have come saying: “Hey, I can solve anything. We’ll keep it in line. Pay me 20000, I will set you all stuff.” I immediately replied; “Dude, if you repeat three receipts – I’m ready to pay.” No one could repeat, even one, and cannot repeat it. All these a-la cool professionals with ten years chef experience, confectionary art, like “I’m gonna teach you” but that was so funny.
We do not hire people older than 35 years old, because we don’t want soviet traditions and try to build European company. Base and people to work with formation took 2-3 months. Now we have 7 employees at our kitchen. More, we have two employees in office and two suppliers.
Relations within the team are friendly and maximum loyal. Middle age of pastry chefs is 25-27 years. Mostly there are boys, they are stronger. We have some girls but it’s hard for them to work 10-12 hours seven days a week.
Today we sell desserts to our customers directly and through the partners. I have many friends in restaurant business. Me propose them our desserts, do developmental work, cook, test. That’s how we cooperate. There’s certain percent of those, who call us themselves and asks for desserts, but usually they are our friends.
Of course there were partnership refusals from our side, plenty of them. The main reason is discrepancy between restaurant stylistics and France, misunderstanding between management and our targets, attempts to impose own visions. For example, eastern restaurant and modern French dessert for me do not match together. You can change positioning, add spices, but still it will be wrong. You can’t work with everybody in identical manner – it’s impossible. I am not afraid that our criteria will leave us without partners.
Moreover, the facility has to have certain level. We use quality ingredients, which are quite expensive, and naturally, the positioning has to be “upper middle segment”. We will not decline the quality and minimize the plates.
Our target auditory is girls. The burst of output is during the holidays – New Year, Valentine’s Day, eighth of March – is a standard. Restaurants are aour permanent clients. Our biggest order is 1000 cakes for New Year corporative party. Once, a magic had happened, when our client ordered personal black macaroons with champagne and asked not to tell anybody who is he and never sell such macaroons. Another interesting story: at the time of startup, we had a client who ordered 2 boxes, then 10 boxes. He calls later and asks: “How much do you have?” my reply: “22 boxes.” He: “I take all of them.” After that, we nicknamed him “22 boxes”.
Instagram and Facebook are main engines of commerce. In fact, we work in them. It’s like a news portal we you can find information about our actions and special offers. We do not simply place advertisements, we explain what we do: what the advantages of this cake, why these macaroons, how to produce the caramel. There’s a certain story of each post. It’s not an artificial, robot SMM every day, this is how we live – our story.
Instagram is more effective. My assistant carries it on, my Instagram I carry on personally.
We develop the package together with designer for a long time. It took us month or two. The main requirements were style, beauty, desire to buy it after seeing the box itself. Date on the package – the year I was born – is a small riddle, rebus. Colour scale is my personal choice. Orange is my favourite colour; it also stimulates the appetite.
We are planning to open two new workshops shortly. We think of inviting French chef to develop the menu and establish the process.
Nowadays, we cooperate with restaurants but want to open our own cake-bars. It will be Kyiv confectionary network. We still develop it and keep it in secret. Later, we plan to open confectionary plant. We think to start from Ukraine. Further, if everything is ok – in EU. It’s hard to talk about the capacity right now. We try not to talk much about our plans.
In addition, we want to publish a book, but it’s a secret as well.
Businessman and chef
I work 12 hours every day. Earlier, I spent all my time in kitchen, in process. Now I mix my schedule – office, meetings, and kitchen. Now I can delegate responsibility and allow my cooks to work independently. However, I still cook because I like it. I cannot say it’s my calling, but it gets my high.
Business and network development gets me high as well. I am interested in that mix. This is how team works. You grow up together with them in kitchen; you build up as businessman – you get the endurance. I want to develop in all spheres. I am the perfectionist. May be it’s a problem but from another point of view we always move forward.