Yury Manchuk has been in the restaurant business for more than 15 years, in which he’s had time to grace several top-ranking Moscow and St. Petersburg restaurants with his cooking; and not just those - he’s also held the position of chef in several New York and London establishments. These days, Manchuk heads his own gastro-cafe, Charlie, in St. Pete, where he’s created a distinct 1920-30s American atmosphere.
What surprises do you have in store for Charlie visitors?
I do quirky textures with everyday ingredients and employ them in daring combinations. We’ve got other tricks up our sleeve as well - like the 1 kg portion of syrniki, an all-day breakfast, served with sparkling wine, and others. During the summer, we also offer a cruise aboard a yacht on the Neva.
Can you comment on your affinity for cornmeal porridge, and porridge in general, on the menu?
We boast eight different types of porridge on the menu, there is one from hemp and linen as well. There is also the usual wheat kind with tomato sauce and tuna mousse - we call that one the Hangover Porridge. And of course, two cornmeal kinds. In essence, it’s an Italian polenta, a bit like the Caucasian mamalyga. We serve it Russian-style, with strawberries, cherries and burrata sauce, to give it that creamy flavor. We mix the burrata with khalva and sunflower seeds.
How would you describe modern Russian cuisine?
Still good, as it’s always been. Russian cooks have taken all the good parts of the French cuisine and transformed them. Thanks to modern technologies, we’re continuing to develop it.
What are your plans for the future?
Aside from world conquest [laughs]? To take Charlie to new heights, to other cities and countries. One objective for the near future is opening up a Charlie in Miami.
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