Boris Zarkov: "At the IKRA Awards, the first five places are mine!"

Being at the "Caviar" festival, which has already become one of the most anticipated gastronomic events, we touched on the theme of festivals, ratings and prizes and discussed how they affect the gastronomic landscape of Russia as a whole. Among the invited experts:

Ksenia Tarakanova,

one of the founders of the agency
v confession, co-founder of the "Caviar" festival

Boris Zarkov,

the head of the restaurant holding WRF, co-founder of the festival "Caviar"

Irina Zarkova,

WRF Communications Director

Alexander Sysoev,

founder of the Russian restaurant festival

- If the festival is more a story about leisure, entertainment, networking, tastings and more, then awards and ratings encourage restaurants to show better results. Is it so? Or do festivals also give an incentive?

Zarkova: I think that this is not so. Rather, on the contrary, it needs bonuses. Every year they come up with more and more new restaurants, involuntarily they participate in them without any special need. You have to strain, do something. For example, recently Gorynycha was chosen to award the Palm Branch. Now you need to shoot a video from the creators of the restaurant, write a huge text. In turn, we do not really need such PR.

Zarkov: This is for us, Ir, he is not needed, while others are needed.

Zarkova: Yes, but nonetheless, award-winning restaurants need more than award-winning restaurants.

Sysoev: Prizes and ratings affect the restaurant industry indirectly, and festivals - yes.

“On the other hand, fine dining restaurants abroad strive to get as many Michelin stars as possible, Gault & Millau caps, and the highest possible ranking. Often it’s not to “please a guest”, but to “please an expert” stimulates the chef more. Do Russian restaurant awards have weight for the restaurateur and chef?

Sysoev: In our country, unfortunately, there are still no prizes and ratings that users would trust. All such events are more likely in B2B format, and there is no such phenomenon that would lead guests to restaurants. Relatively speaking, getting into the top 100 of The World's 50 Best rating gives the restaurant a large influx of guests. There are bonuses in Russia, but they need time to penetrate the masses. If you ask the residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg what awards or guides they know, they will call TripAdvisor, but no one in Russia knows about Gault & Millau. Few people know which restaurants are in the top of Russian awards. These projects need more time.

Zarkova: Moscow prizes and international prizes are two different things. Of course, it’s nice when your restaurant is celebrated, and it wins in some category, but there are bonuses that we don’t go to.

Zarkov: By the way, our point of view with Ira may not coincide.

- Are there any bonuses that have weight for WRF?

Zarkova: Any public relations is useful, but victory will not greatly affect the work of the restaurant and will not improve it. Is that right, Boris?

Zarkov: Not.

Zarkova: Well, what do you think?

Zarkov: There are ratings and prizes, and there are govnoreyting and govnopremi. They differ in that good ratings and bonuses either line up at the restaurant or take people away. The same goes for real restaurant critics and journalists. If he contributes to the fact that the number of people in the restaurant has increased, then his word has value. The outflow of guests also testifies to this. Bonuses are definitely needed. They encourage restaurateurs to develop, compete, fight for places, for example, in The World's 50 Best or strive to get a star.

Zarkova: We are talking about Russian awards and ratings.

Zarkov: They say that already in 2020 Michelin enters the Russian market. Although, for example, the arrival of Gault & Millau did not particularly affect.

- Is greater involvement of international experts able to stimulate the Russian restaurant industry?

Zarkov: The White Rabbit restaurant in The World's 50 Best got several more restaurants: Semifreddo, Pushkin, Chaika, Komm got into the first 50 and someone else. The main thing is how you use this opportunity and how you continue to work with it further.

Sysoev: The Moscow industry in terms of atmosphere, service, design and quality is either at a level or a level higher than in Europe. If we talk about cities such as Yekaterinburg, Rostov, Kazan and so on, then foreign tourists do not come there. And guides are needed primarily for tourists. In Russia, if you did not get the first place, then "everything is bought." If received, then they quickly forget about it. We do not have a rating institute as such.

- The co-founder of Caviar is the restaurant holding WRF, how independent will the IKRA Awards be?

Tarakanova: It is important to understand that the IKRA Awards are not a prize for the sake of the prize. All these restaurant ratings and awards, in my subjective opinion, are ...

Zarkov: I already called them shit ratings, do not look for words.

Tarakanova: And I try so hard to euphemize. Yes, in fact, all of them are a subjective, non-systematic assessment of some authoritative persons. In fact, this is an editorial choice of a separate group of people, not implying an expert criterion and evaluation by this criterion. Three people gathered:

- Well, Vasya, which restaurant do you like more?

- This one for me.

- Yes, I also think that he is the coolest, there are many people there.

We never wanted to do such things, because it is stupid, uninteresting and nobody needs.

Zarkov: Ksenia is a little disingenuous. When the "Caviar" prize was conceived, I went to her and said: "Ksyusha, only come on under one condition: from the first to fifth places - mine." She says: "Yes, agreed."

Tarakanova: What are you handing me over all the time? In fact, the IKRA Awards are not a prize for the sake of the prize. When we talk about the fact that Russia really lacks an institutional, reputable project that would be authoritative and could, by attracting experts, create ...

Zarkov: Value!

Tarakanova: Yes!

Zarkov: For example, in the form of a queue to a restaurant.

Tarakanova: This is a consequence and the result of this value. Therefore, the IKRA Awards is not a rating, but rather an attempt to move the gastronomic industry and approach it comprehensively. When we make dinner in the framework of the festival, this is not dinner for the sake of dinner, but a synthesis of different disciplines. By attracting different experts, creating the right nominations and criteria with a transparent expert evaluation, we create value.

Zarkov: Actually, this will not be a prize about restaurants or chefs. We do not want to be the twenty-fifth rating from the first to the twentieth place, realizing that the first five are mine.

Tarakanova: We will talk about B2B initiatives and innovations, about B2C, about production of products, logistics, regional development and the hospitality industry as a whole. These are not only restaurants, but a bunch of different areas of business. Many projects need help and acceleration.

- Which task is more important - to encourage or motivate?

Sysoev: More motivation, but the IKRA Awards are not about the restaurant industry, it is more about trends. This is a kind of Nobel Prize. Look for the best, show why they are the best, to motivate other people to do similar things.

Zarkov: To motivate is to create dissatisfaction with the existing reality, and to encourage is about satisfaction. But we do not motivate or encourage, but rather draw public attention to existing initiatives and projects that are underestimated by society.

Tarakanova: When we say that we are developing the gastronomic industry in Russia, this is not an empty phrase. We really do this, and the IKRA Awards helps us with this. The work, of course, is ungrateful, and we should not be engaged in this, but the state.

- Let's talk about restaurant forums and educational programs. What are the current trends? Will you scale up Caviar Talks?

Tarakanova: We have already increased the scale by moving to Moscow. There are two halls in the CDC, one is reserved for the gastronomic program, which we conduct together with our partners, Simple. In the second room our master classes and lectures will be provided. The capacity of one hall is 120, and the second - 700 seats, more than 800 people can simultaneously be in space.

Sysoev: In any case, the number of participants will increase due to greater availability. It’s easier to fly to Moscow, there are more hotels in Moscow, in Moscow people are ready to receive knowledge.

- Do you plan to bring foreign experts like last year or just chefs for master classes?

Tarakanova: Since last year we have done significant work on the bugs.

Zarkov: Last year, we overestimated the importance of foreign experts for our entrant. But there is no prophet in his own country, so we’ll bring some wedding general.

- Last year, you brought to Caviar really significant experts from The World's 50 Best and Gault & Millau, did this find a response among the people who attended their lectures?

Tarakanova: We asked almost everyone who was last year what we liked the most. As a result, they received the answer that the most anticipated was a speech by Novikov and Rappoport, but no one appreciated the performance of Justina Adamchuk, because no one knew who it was. In fact, we brought the entire international gastronomic elite. Need networking? You are welcome! But people do not fully understand why they need it.

Sysoev: People just came to ski, go to dinner and have fun. Education is not about that. What will the acquaintance with the founders of The World's 50 Best Rankings give you if, roughly speaking, you are a resident of Perm who came to listen to Novikov or Rappoport. People who have already caught their bird of luck by the tail and who are examples of how to do projects. Many people want to repeat the success of Novikov, and few people understand what it means to be the first in the world.

- What does Boris Zarkov think about this?

Zarkov: And I think that at the IKRA Awards the first five places are mine, and at IKRA Talks I will be talking for two days.

Tarakanova: That would be very good.

Zarkov: Maslow said that if a person has nothing to eat, nowhere to sleep, he lacks respect, love and does not receive aesthetic satisfaction, then the first thing he will think about is how to satisfy hunger. Ksenia and I swung at the highest human needs for knowledge and self-actualization, but they still need to first satisfy the hunger with applied knowledge. Give direct tools.

Tarakanova: We, of course, do not descend into the condo story.

Zarkov: Yes, we definitely won’t tell you how to keep a VK account. I was at one lecture, in front of me a very respected person told me how to do this for 600 people.

Tarakanova: We do not go into the format of narrowly specialized projects, such as Gastreet. But at the same time we want to be useful to the audience.

- Let's return to the issue of the readiness of our society for the use and implementation of knowledge in life.

Zarkov: You must always start with yourself.

Zarkova: And from the younger generation! For example, we are currently negotiating with orphanages to conduct master classes there from White Rabbit Family chefs in the context of career guidance for children. In their opinion, the two most unpopular professions are a painter and a cook. We want to change this stereotype, showing that being a cook is cool and you should not be afraid of it. On the example of our chefs, one of the children may well take a step towards meeting his fate.

Photos: Ikra.

Watch the video: Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid: Boris Zarkov, Founder of the WRF holding (December 2019).

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