According to tradition, teams from the relevant departments of the Faculty of History and Philology and the Department of Oriental Languages of the Faculty of Theology made up the bulk of the participants (5 out of 8 cuisines represented!). Apart from them, there were also students from the Departments of History and Teacher Training of the Faculty of History and Philology, the Faculty of Church Arts, and a team from the Faculty of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics.
The panel of judges was: Archpriest Konstantin Polskov, Vice-rector for Academic and International Work, Chairman; Father Filip Iliashenko, Vice-rector for Social and Missionary Work; Tiziana Gualtieri, Head of the International Projects Department; and special guest Donato Parisi, founder and co-owner of Parisi&Co, a restaurant chain operating a cheese manufacture and importing Italian products into Russia.
The presenter of this year’s contest was Prof. Andrei Andreev of STOUH’s Faculty of History and Theology and the Faculty of History of Moscow State University. Prof. Andreev is a specialist in the field of 18th–19th centuries Russian-German university relations, and an experienced traveler and connoisseur of different cultural traditions of many European regions.
The geography of the regions represented was unusually wide. Out of the Eastern cuisines, Japan, Korea, and Arab countries were represented. Students prepared dishes that were unusual for Russian sense of smell and taste: moti cakes made of rice flour, mandu dumplings with stuffed cucumbers, salted tea with milk, and a drink called jallab, which the oriental philologists made right in front of the guests using edible incense! The authenticity of the recipe and method of preparation was guaranteed by the careful training the students received from Mikhail (Mamduh Kurdi) Zerikli, a teacher of Arabic languages at STOUH.
An inter-faculty team led by Tatiana M. Nekhorosheva, a postgraduate student of the Department of History and Philology, was geographically close to us. Last year, this team presented the cuisine of China, and this year, they introduced the evening’s guests to the cuisine of Kazakhstan. The choice of cuisine was not random: one of the participants (Pelageia Ismagilova) came to STOUH from Kazakhstan, and another, Yuliia S. Poskina, is painting a church in Kazakhstan. Team captain Tatiana Nekhorosheva spoke about the significance of the contest for her: “Ulken rahmet! Thank you very much! Thanks to this contest, I plunged into the culture of Kazakhstan for two weeks, finally visited the pavilion about this country at the Moscow Expo, learned some interesting recipes both in theory and in practice, learned a few Kazakh words and their etymology, and got a conception of the general historical way of setting the table. It is unlikely that, in my daily life, I would have thought of evaporating and drying milk and ayran for a few hours almost to a stone. Now I will have not only impressions of the event and the experience of cooking Kazakh dishes, but also wooden tableware and two Kazakh tea sets, which did not come on time, but, apparently, will arrive in a few days. Once again, my sincere thanks to the organizers, participants and guests, and of course to my beautiful, wonderful co-workers!”
The Italian team also demonstrated their culinary skills. Under the careful guidance of Professor Maria Desiatova, the students of Italian prepared a theatrical and musical presentation of the cultural, linguistic and gastronomic peculiarities of the Valle d'Aosta region, and surprised us with a chocolate mousse with liqueur served with the famous savoiardi cookies.
Another team from the Department of Romance and Germanic Languages has been taking turns representing the regions of Great Britain each year. This time it was Scotland. The person most actively involved in preparing the team for the competition was Associate Professor Lev V. Pisarev, the Head of the Department of Romance and Germanic Philology.
A special surprise of the competition was the team from the Department of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, who presented dishes of their beloved native country of Russia (Ural Region). The mathematicians delighted the youngsters with dunked apples and folk dances, and received a well-deserved award in the nomination for the preservation of national and historical traditions.
Finally, the third team from the Department of Romance and Germanic Philology, representing Spain, won the grand prix. The students, guided by our senior lecturer Olga Mar, outdid themselves: they roasted a Spanish suckling pig, and the faculty’s Spanish theater actors staged a performance titled Étude de la gastronomie in the original language!
The gift for all participants and guests of the contest this time was a masterclass in Italian cuisine with Alessandro Simioli, the chef of the restaurant “+39”. Alessandro showed all the stages of cooking aromatic pasta with zucchini. Of course, all the spectators were invited to taste it right away.
Besides the wide geography of the cultures represented at it, this time around, the way the contest was organized was also interesting. Since last year, the Department for Social and Missionary Work has been involved in organizing it along with the International Projects Department. “This time, that Father Filip and his colleagues took on a substantial share of the organization. In connection with this, there have been a number of changes that have greatly improved the organization of our competition. This year, it was very cleverly devised in that the contestants performed in threes. While on previous occasions everyone tasted everything at once, this time there was a country presentation first, followed by a tasting of a particular cuisine. I thought it was very successful,” said Father Konstantin Polskov, the Chairman of the Organizing Committee.
On behalf of all the participants and students from STOUH, I would like to thank the organizers for their work each year on this wonderful event, which is one of the University’s ‘calling cards’. “Father Georgii Orekhanov’s idea lives on, continues to live and develop, which I am very happy about!” concluded Father Konstantin. “And we can’t help but rejoice in it together!”
Results of the 4th STOUH International Cooking Contest
Audience Favorite – the team of the Department of Romance and Germanic Languages of the Faculty of History and Philology, Italian cuisine of the Valle d'Aosta region
Best Buffet Snacks – team of the Department of Romance and Germanic Languages, Scottish cuisine
Best Pastry – team of the Department of Romance and Germanic Languages of the Faculty of History and Philology, Italian cuisine of the Valle d'Aosta region
Best Dessert – inter-faculty team, Kazakh cuisine
Best Hot Meal – team from the Department of Oriental Christian Languages and Eastern Churches, Faculty of Theology, Arabic cuisine
Best Presentation – team from the Department of Slavic Languages, Faculty of History and Philology, Korean cuisine
For Innovations in National Cuisine – team of the Faculty of History and Philology, Japanese cuisine
For preservation of national and historical traditions – the team of the Faculty of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, Ural cuisine
The Grand Prix of the 4th STOUH International Cooking Contest was awarded to the team of the Chair of Romance and Germanic Languages, representing Spanish cuisine.
Text: Valeria Fatianova, 4th-year student of the Faculty of Theology
Photography: Sergei Pronin, Ekaterina Erdokesko