Vladimir Mukhin

Vlad Mukhin is a Russian chef, the vice-champion of the S. Pellegrino Cooking Cup (2013), chef of the restaurant “White Rabbit” in Moscow.

His “White Rabbit” entered the list of 100 best restaurants in the world in 2014 rising rapidly from its 71st place in 2014 to 23rd in 2015. In 2016, at the award in New York, “White Rabbit” took the 18th place in the ranking, becoming the first Russian restaurant in the top twenty. In 2017 “White Rabbit” is 23rd again.  

Vladimir Mukhin is purporting to become a reformer, if not a revolutionary, adjusting the basics of contemporary Russian cuisine.  Some would think he is young and reckless, but his broad experience in different restaurants makes him even more skillful and wiser than some lads being twice as old as he.  

He is experimenting with traditional Russian products like borodinsky black bread, meeting in his cooking more sophisticated ingredients like caviar in order to create innovative dishes. Standouts include rabbit and mini cabbage rolls in foie gras with potato crisps and truffle juice as well as roast suckling pig and Black Sea oysters.

Known as much for his use of local, seasonal ingredients as for his charisma, Mukhin is making international waves and recently appeared in the 2017 series of Netflix’s Chef’s Table.  

Mukhin comes from a long line of cooks. He began his career in 12, practicing at the very same kitchen with his father. He studied cooking in his University, getting apprenticeships in various restaurants of Moscow. Mukhin did really well there, therefore became the chef of Bulochnaya cafe in 2003.  

“White Rabbit” had already been famous in Moscow by the time they invited Mukhin to become their chef. They desperately needed someone to contribute fresh ideas into the long-dormant cooking of Moscow. Together they began to grow as fast as possible in the cooking art world. Now both Mukhin and his restaurant are the most promising phenomena happening to Moscow’s fine cooking.  

Traditional borscht recipe (Mukhin hasn’t shared his signature recipes yet):  

Ingredients for Borscht with Meat:

(This list looks lengthy but the ingredients are simple)  

1 lb Beef: sirloin, stew meat, or whatever kind of beef you like, really (bone-in or boneless *see note)

14 cups cold water

1 Tbsp salt + more to taste

2 large or 3 medium beets, washed, peeled and grated

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp tomato sauce, or paste (or 3 Tbsp ketchup)

1 Tbsp butter

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 carrots, grated

2 large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced into bite-sized pieces

1/2 head of small cabbage, sliced

2 tomatoes, peeled and diced (**see note)

2 bay leaves

1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley + more for garnish

2 cloves garlic, pressed

Garnish: Sour cream and fresh sprigs of parsley or dill.

How To Make Borscht with Meat:

Wash meat in cold water, cut into 1″ pieces and place in a large soup pot with 14 cups cold water and 1 Tbsp salt. Bring it to a boil and remove the foam crud as soon as it boils (if you wait, it will be hard to get rid of the crud as it integrates into the broth and you’d have to strain it).

Lower the heat, partially cover and cook at a low boil 45 minutes – 1 hr, periodically skimming off any crud that rises to the top.  

Grate beets on the large grater holes (the food processor works amazingly well). Place them in a large heavy-bottom skillet with 4 Tbsp olive oil and 1 Tbsp vinegar and saute for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to med/low and add 1 Tbsp sugar and 2 Tbsp tomato sauce Mix thoroughly and saute until starting to soften, stirring occasionally (about 10 min). Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same skillet (no need to wash it), Saute onion in 1 Tbsp butter for 2 min. Add grated carrot and saute another 5 min or until softened, adding more oil if it seems too dry.

Once the meat has been cooking at least 45 min, place sliced potatoes into the soup pot and cook 10 min, then add cabbage, sauteed beets, onion & carrot, and chopped tomatoes. Cook another 10 minutes or until potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork.

Add 2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp pepper, and more salt to taste (I added another 1/2 tsp salt).

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