Anton Kovalkov brings Russian cuisine to Omnivore Paris food festival

THE Omnivore World Tour food festival holds its Paris edition March 5 to 7 at the French capital's Maison de la Mutualité. The festival is a talent incubator and showcase where foodies can check out the work of up-and-coming chefs from around the world. The line-up for this year's Omnivore Paris includes Russian chef Anton Kovalkov, who currently works in Moscow.

The Omnivore World Tour rolls into several major world cities, installing pop-up kitchens and setting the stage for rising talents from all culinary horizons. Anton Kovalkov is one of the chefs that the festival organisers have picked to cook up a storm at the Paris edition.

The young chef, now in his 30s, previously appeared at Omnivore Moscow in 2013, presenting his original techniques to a home crowd. Born in the Russian city of Nizhny Novgorod, 250 miles from Moscow, the chef enthralled onlookers with his surprising cuisine, concentrating the flavours of a coal-baked potato, herbs and mushrooms in a coffee infuser. This liquid creation sought to harness the flavors and aromas of a walk in the forest, remembered from his childhood. The chef, who previously trained in the kitchens of Noma, Copenhagen – named the world's best restaurant four times in the "50 Best" list – served his infused concoction in a wooden bowl, alongside baby potato stuffed with chicken mayo. The chef also revisited a traditional Russian cold soup, called Okroshka.

In 2015, Omnivore brought Anton Kovalkov's talent to its Montréal edition in Canada. Here too, the young chef offered a surprising demo, burning white onion petals and whizzing up a purée of dry bread. That year, the Russian chef cooked alongside France's 2010 Top Chef winner, Romain Tischenko.

As well as crafting a spectacular cuisine that's a sight to behold, Anton Kovalkov flies the flag high for Russian cuisine, open overlooked in foodie circles. The chef gained experience in prestigious kitchens, working with French chef Dominique Crenn in San Francisco and for the Eleven Madison Park in New York, before setting up at Fahrenheit in Moscow. The project is headed by the Maison Dellos group, also behind the famous "Café Pouchkine" in Moscow and Paris.

Anton Kovalkov is now working on developing "BEREG District Project," a Moscow complex featuring a restaurant, a bakery and a cookery school.

Anton Kovalkov will be on the "Salé" stage at the Omnivore Paris festival, Sunday, March 5, from 12.10 to 12.45. — AFP Relaxnews