People 2 minutes 18 March 2019

What I Think About My 4-Hands Partner: Maxime Gilbert And Anatoly Kazakov

The duo talk about their upcoming collaboration and what they think of each other.

On March 21 and 22, two-Michelin-starred French restaurant Écriture in Hong Kong will play host to one of Moscow’s leading restaurants, Selfie, by chef Anatoly Kazakov. The 10-course tasting menu co-created by the two chefs will feature the ingredients-focused signatures of both restaurants.

For Écriture, that means the premium Japanese food ingredients that Gilbert favours in his classic French cuisine. Located on the penthouse floor of Central's H Queen’s, Écriture marries haute French gastronomy with exceptional Japanese produce. Gilbert’s mastery of the two has put Écriture on the map — the restaurant took home two Michelin stars in the MICHELIN Guide Hong Kong Macau 2019 within the first year of its opening.

RELATED: The First Day I Got My Michelin Star: Maxime Gilbert Of Écriture in Hong Kong

The interior of Ecriture (Pic: Ecriture)
The interior of Ecriture (Pic: Ecriture)
Flying the flag for dining destination Russia is Kazakov, one of the rising vanguards in Moscow’s vibrant restaurant scene. He helms hip Moscow restaurant Selfie together with renowned chef Vladimir Mukhin under the famed restaurant group White Rabbit Family. Selfie’s menu spans the unique geography of Russia’s 15 regions, shining the spotlight on local, seasonal produce and Russian culinary traditions. Pork from Kursk, halibut from Murmansk, veal from Bryansk, asparagus from Tver and truffle from the Crimea play starring roles in Kazakov’s dishes.

For the two evenings, Gilbert and Kazakov will join hands to create a special four-hands dinner menu at Écriture, bringing a slice of Russia to Hong Kong.
Anatoly Kazakov helms one of Moscow's hottest restaurants, Selfie (Pic: Selfie)
Anatoly Kazakov helms one of Moscow's hottest restaurants, Selfie (Pic: Selfie)
Here, we chat with the duo about their upcoming four-hands collaboration and what they think about each other.

What do you think about four-hands collaborations in general?

MG: I think it is a very interesting way to discover other chefs and the universe. As chefs, our work takes a lot of time from us and we do not have much time to travel, so in a way doing a four-hands dinner is like taking a little trip for the entire team. Sometimes, it is also a way to bring on chef friends that we’ve known for a long time. Above all, it’s a lot of fun.

AK: These collaborations are an amazing experience for everyone, guests and chefs alike. It is not just a set of dishes from two chefs, but the opportunity to create a balanced dinner by chefs with different styles, philosophies, techniques and products. For me, it is always an opportunity to talk about my country and its culture through my food.
Pigeon, Jerusalem Artichoke, Pine Cones and Grated Lingonberries (Pic: Selfie)
Pigeon, Jerusalem Artichoke, Pine Cones and Grated Lingonberries (Pic: Selfie)
How do you usually select your four-hands partner?

MG: I would say that it needs to come from both sides. Our visions and cuisines need to match well and be complementary. It is also good to have visiting chefs that have not come to Hong Kong before. It is important that the dinner must be a discovery for our guests.

AK: I never look at ratings and regalia. I look at the style of food and if it is close to my heart, it makes me want to scream: “I want to cook something with it!”.

What do you think about your four-hands partner this time?

MG: I am really excited and the team is as well, because we have never worked with Russian chefs before. Lately, there are more and more Russian chefs under the spotlight. They have such a huge country and so much to tell in their cooking and traditions. It will be such a journey of discovery for us and I can’t wait for them to arrive.

AK: This is French haute cuisine meets Japanese charm.
French haute cuisine meets Japanese perfection at Ecriture (Pic: Ecriture)
French haute cuisine meets Japanese perfection at Ecriture (Pic: Ecriture)

Please tell us more about the menu you’re presenting together.

MG: It is a menu that we built together by integrating their dishes first, one that reflects their vision and cuisine. There are some very attractive and interesting dishes that will be featured. On my side, I try to respect their flavours and integrate dishes from Écriture that will match perfectly.

AK: It will be based on the menu of my restaurant, featuring the seasonality of a particular time in the Russian regions.

Do you have any tips for guests to enjoy this collaboration to the fullest?

MG: Book as soon as possible as we have a very limited number of tables and won’t be able to accommodate everyone. The best table that we have, at least for me, is the chef’s table, available only to two lucky guests that will be able to sit right next to the chef and enjoy his cooking and stories all the way through the dinner.

AK: Do not compare chefs with each other, enjoy your meal and set a great mood for your dining companions.


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