“David began his career in France, graduated from the prestigious culinary school. Pursued an internship in many famous restaurants. In 1987 received the grand prize of the France Championship of Pastry arts. Then continued the career in a restaurant at the Paris 5-star hotel “Royal” as a sous-chef confectioner. Worked in Switzerland and Latin America and was the owner of a restaurant in Costa Rica. In the late 90’s arrived in Moscow. Finally he’s here for 27 years…”
We met with David Desseaux, the chief consultant of restaurants of the luxury company Mercury, the author of “When the Foie gras meets caviar”, and a permanent member of the club of best chefs of the world Escoffier, in Moscow’s exclusive restaurant Cristal Room Baccarat, of which he is co-owner.
Was it hard to move to Moscow?
Very hard! The first time I did not know a single word in Russian, the language is very hard for me, like from another planet. And the culture is markedly different from the French. So, I had to get used to a lot of stuff and to learn a lot.
What do you think about the food culture in Russia?
In Russia there is a very rich cultural heritage in literature, music, art, but not in the kitchen. Most Russian people eat just to eat. And we in France get a huge pleasure from food and enjoy quality products. I think the average family budget on food in France is three times higher than in Russia. Andthis is a great indicator of food culture.
Do you think something has changed during your stay?
Prior to the first crisis I could feel a huge change. The middle class had been actively visiting more good restaurants than there was the fall. After the2002-2003 years again there were favorable changes. Even people who could not afford a good restaurant specially set aside money to at least afford it once a month. For me it is very nice, and it’s a great indicator of food culture. But then came the crisis, and now in Moscow, there are thriving cafeswith average quality food. There people do not realize what they eat.
Are you trying to adapt the kitchen to the Russian public?
Of course! If the French people want to eat one way, then Russian in another! We are constantly trying to adapt the best cuisine to local tastes. Also, I like to communicate with guests, to know their preferences. I have customers that never look at the menu, and rely only on my taste. And it’s very nice! But at first nobody trusted me (laughs).
What do you think about the luxury restaurant segment in Moscow? Do you think that it is presented at a decent level?
Good restaurants in Moscow with good food – this is luxury, because all the high quality products, with delivery from France, Italy, Argentina, etc., have a very high cost. But that’s not all! A very important approach, the hands, from which these products become culinary masterpieces. Therefore,we are very careful with our approach when hiring and training staff.
In the luxury segment interior and service are also very important. And in Moscow, all of this is presented at a very high level.
How would you rate the service of Moscow’s restaurants ?
I can say that in good restaurants in Moscow service is better than in many good restaurants in Paris. Now has come a new young generation of waiters who took over the experiences of European colleagues, who understand and love their work. They know what service is. That, I couldn´t say before.
Do you select the products for the restaurant on your own?
All the products I control myself personally. I want to know what we serve to the guest. Twice a week we get delivery by air with fresh products from France, the most succulent fruits from Chile…
Let´s imagine that a person is in Moscow for the first time, and is in Cristal Room Baccarat. Which dish would you recommend to try?
To understand what we are, I would suggest to try our signature dish Foie gras, seafood platter, and then stewed meat. And our sommelier will help to choose the best wines.