Artem Grebenshikov was studying aeronautical management at St Petersburg State University, when he decided to find a part-time job in a restaurant to pay for his studies. And then, something truly unexpected happened: he discovered a passion for cooking, and became, at the age of 20, the chef at the best restaurant in Vyborg (a small town close to St Petersburg. Combining what he learned at university with his great gastronomic intuition, he began creating a model of the ideal restaurant in his head, dreaming of his own establishment where all these ideas would come together.
But before finally opening his own restaurant in May 2018, the Bourgeois Bohemians (or BoBo, as everyone now calls it in St Petersburg), he was honing his culinary skills at the Erarta Café, located in the Museum of Contemporary Art. There, he created a special tasting menu for each exhibition, inspired by an artist’s style and specific works. For a long time, these art exhibitions were a source of inspiration for Artem, influencing his culinary philosophy. He cultivated a skill to bring about synergies between flavours and visual art forms, thus establishing his own style. Everyone applauded his intelligence, avant-garde ideas and sophistication, the combination of which has made this chef extremely famous. It is why his restaurant, BoBo, has become so well known, becoming, almost immediately after it opened, the best establishment in St Petersburg, according to numerous ratings.
Artem creates relatively complex, sophisticated dishes, but above all, they are delicious. He attaches huge importance to the actual taste of the produce, to the genuineness of its nature. So, to enhance its true essence – the soul of its taste – he contrasts it with nuances from other ingredients. For example, he adds a few drops of juniper oil and a pinch of coffee to a venison tartare, as these enhance the musky aroma of the meat. This dish is served with spring onions and almond mayonnaise that highlight the woody notes of the juniper.
In his new restaurant, Artem works with his brother, Alexei, a gifted pastry chef, who trained with the world’s greatest master confectioners and chocolatiers: Jordi Bordas, Andrés Lara, Arnaud Larher, Alexandre Bordeaux, Julien Dugourd and Wielfried Hauwe. Alexei creates light, fresh desserts, eschewing sugar as much as possible. His ‘star’ dessert is made with raspberries, beetroot, coconut and sudachi. This light, refreshing combination of textures brings an excellent dinner to a perfect close.
The impressive aesthetics of Alexei’s desserts complete the picture created by his brother. Thanks to this attractive and complex combination of local produce, fused with Nordic touches and French techniques, both have become the embodiment of St Petersburg’s nouvelle cuisine.
The two brothers also mentor young chefs to participate in the WorldSkills championship, training the Russian national team that won first place in the 2019 world championship.