The White Rabbit Family conquered the Russian audience with its virtual restaurants

Beyond delivery: the establishment of the Muscovite group, in which shine stars like Mukhin and Kazakov, organised some very successful dinners with guests like Gaggan Anand

10-06-2020
Mukhin and Gaggan together in a collage used to

Mukhin and Gaggan together in a collage used to promote a virtual four-handed dinner organised by The White Rabbit

Chef Vladimir Mukhin and his White Rabbit (number 13th in the World’s 50 Best), as well as Selfie (65th in the same list) also in Moscow and run by Anatoly Kazakov, in the days of the pandemic don’t offer just a delivery service of their dishes, but also allow one to dine with them – or rather in their virtual restaurants. The idea that the White Rabbit Family had is brilliant: restaurants are closed, people are lockdown at home, but clients miss their favourite dishes.

So the offer of a delivery service for places such as White RabbitSelfie and other restaurants in the group (SakhalinGorynych, Tekhnicum in Moscow; Plakuchaia IvaChyo? Kharcho! in Sochi) was only the first logical and strategic step. But Boris Zarkov (CEO of WRF) and his team went beyond and on the 10th of April, through their social networks, announced the launch of an online restaurant. The concept is both simple and revolutionary: when you visit the group’s website, you can pick the date and choose your favourite menu. The options include a gourmet dinner with Vladimir Mukhin or Anatoly Kazakov as well as special four-handed dinners with some of the most famous chefs in the world, including Jorge Vallejo (of Quintonilin Mexico), Joris Bijdendijk (Rijks, Amsterdam) and Gaggan Anand (Gaggan Anand Restaurant, Bangkok).

Anatoly Kazakov and Joris Bijdendijk

Anatoly Kazakov and Joris Bijdendijk

The next step is paying for the dinner. You are then advised to dress elegantly for the event (during which the webcam is always on) and finally wait for a link for a Zoom conference with Vladimir or Anatoly, together with the other guests: never more than 10. The format of the online restaurant is based on the delivery service (often done by Mukhin himself) of all the ingredients necessary to prepare all the dishes in the menu, and all the instructions. But once the videoconference begins, the dishes are made under the guidance of the chef and, once ready, they’re tasted all together, and if you want there’s the wine pairing too.

Farm vegetables presented for the 4-handed dinner with Mukhin and Anand

Farm vegetables presented for the 4-handed dinner with Mukhin and Anand

So a real interaction with the chef is created. He doesn’t just tell you what to do, but you can ask him questions, and interact as in a normal restaurant with your friends or with the people met that same night. To this moment, Vladimir Mukhin and his White Rabbit have already organised three 4-handed dinners.

The first was with Mexican chef Jorge Vallejo: on the 19th of April, the lucky Muscovite participants, under the guidance of Vladimir and Jorge, cooked a dinner that united the traditions of Russia and Mexico, and discovered gourmet Mexico through the stories of Vallejo. He chose five of his recipes and then handed them to Mukhin who interpreted them with his Russian style (a few days later, there was another dinner in which Vallejo interpreted the recipes of Mukhin in his own way, for Mexican guests).

Aguachili with amberjack and fresh black currants 

Aguachili with amberjack and fresh black currants 

The result was a surprise for the guests and for Jorge himself: they discovered the final menu on the day of the event. Among the dishes Vladimir prepared there were: Aguachili with amberjack and black currantsMole with scallops, cauliflower, and fermented grapes, Green taco with beef marinated 17 hoursoniondemi-glacé and guacamole. And of course Mezcal.

The second dinner was with Gaggan Anand, on Monday the 11th of May. This time the menu was made following the style of Anand’s restaurant in Bangkok: the names of the dishes were literally made of two words, or ingredients. Farm vegetables were served as a starter, and then the menu included Cherries and mustardScallopsPrawns and auberginesLamb and asparagusCrab and Gaggan’s legendary curry. As for the dessert, Mukhin offered a lilac ice cream, as they’re now in full blossom in Moscow.

Mole with scallops, cauliflower and fermented grapes

Mole with scallops, cauliflower and fermented grapes

The 4-handed dinner prepared by Anatoly Kazakov of restaurant Selfie had him work with young and talented chef Joris Bijdendijk from restaurant Rijksin Amsterdam. The chefs invited their guests to taste Scallops, vinaigrette and radishesBeetroot mille-feuilles, berblan and parsley butter as the entrée. The main courses were Marinated trout with red currantsVeal cheek, spugnole mushrooms and wild garlic. The dessert was Rhubarb cake with meringue.

All the three dinners were sold out a couple of hours after they were announced. And every day there are more and more people who want to dine in the virtual restaurant of the White Rabbit Familygroup. Vladimir Mukhin has already announced that some new 4-handed dinners are coming soon. One has to admit: crises are truly a time to explore new opportunities, and the restaurants of the WRF group have proven this clearly with their “virtual” success.

Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso 


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