MasterChef-9 winner Sergey Denisov: The military dug a trench and found elite white truffles

MasterChef 9 winner Sergey Denisov: The military dug a trench and found elite white truffles

Sergey Denisov was born in Batumi, but always said that his home is in Ukraine. Someone remembers him as the winner of the culinary reality show “MasterChef-9”, someone went to his menu in restaurants in the capital, and someone says thank you that thanks to him he did not remain hungry during the war.

We talked with Sergey Denisov about how brave, strong and delicious our Ukraine is.

Let's try to sell truffles from the military at auction

– Sergey, you told in your stories that the Ukrainian military were digging a trench and found a white truffle. Tell me more.

– A few days ago, my acquaintances military guys in the Lviv region were digging a trench and stumbled upon truffles. At first they didn't know what it was until one of them, who is the cook, looked and said it was a truffle. They sent them to me, I examined everything, sniffed, tasted – and this is really an elite white Ukrainian truffle.

MasterChef 9 winner Sergei Denisov: The military dug a trench and found elite white truffles

Our military found a gastronomic treasure while digging trenches. Photo: Denisov's personal archive

– For those who do not understand how rare this phenomenon is in our country?

– Truffles are not uncommon in Ukraine. Truffle can be found in the Carpathians, Lviv region, Kiev region and Vinnytsia. The fact is that in Ukraine they are listed in the Red Book. But the sale is legal.

– You plan to put it up for auction. How much money can you get for such a lot?

– Yes, I will try to put it up for auction, but this is a very difficult question. If it does not come out to sell in Europe, then I will exhibit in Ukraine. Now my friends are looking for an expert in Europe who can make an assessment. In total, you can earn several thousand euros for such a truffle. But there is also a story – this truffle was found by the military, and they, so to speak, want to sell it or exchange it for equipment. Therefore, you can earn even more. But on the condition that we can put it up for auction.

If the auction fails, we will somehow sell it piece by piece here. Either make creams with white Carpathian mushrooms, cheese and white truffle, or partially sell them in low weight (the weight of the found truffle is about a kilogram).

MasterChef 9 winner Sergey Denisov: The military dug a trench and found elite white truffles

This is what an elite Ukrainian truffle looks like. Sergey Denisov will try to sell it at auction to help our guys. Photo: Denisov's personal archive

Food will help us raise funds and tell our story

– On July 6, you are hosting a Charity BBQ dinner in Belgium. What will this event be? What will you cook?

– Yes, on July 6 we will have a charity event in the town of Sint-Truiden near Brussels under the patronage of the representative of Ukraine in the EU Vsevolod Chentsov, the Ukrainian Embassy in Belgium and the Honorary Consul of Ukraine in Belgium Chris Beckers. All funds are collected for the SaveUkraineEU Foundation.

We organize our charity event in a 5-star hotel located on the territory of an old castle, there is a Michelin restaurant there. We will cook a barbecue and raise money in support of Ukrainians and Ukraine. There will be a grill menu – pork ribs, sausages, potatoes, mushrooms, vegetables. There are a lot of people gathering. Over 200 tickets have already been sold and the sale continues. We expect 400-500 people, and maybe more. Then we plan similar events in Normandy and London.

– What is the ticket price?

– If I'm not mistaken, 35 euros per adult.

< p>– Is this your first such event since the beginning of the war abroad?

– Abroad – yes, because I volunteered here in Kyiv. Since the beginning of the war, we have opened volunteer kitchens, cooked for the National Guard, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and people who need our help. Also packed kits with food and essentials. And now, when the situation in Kyiv is more or less stable, many people have joined us, so I'm already entering the international level.

– Do people in Europe go to such events? Are they popular?

– Yes, it's quite popular. And it's very cool that food will help us raise some funds and tell about our misfortune, that it exists, that it is not invented. Many of my comrades have also trained abroad – Yevgeny Klopotenko, Vladimir Yaroslavsky, Hector Jimenez-Bravo, Olya Martynovskaya. The support from Europe is enormous.

– And what do Europeans like most of Ukrainian cuisine?

– When I worked in Europe, I saw that they really like our borscht. Pancakes were very popular in France. They also have their own Maslenitsa – however, they call this holiday “Fat Tuesday”. Therefore, in France, I made our versions of pancakes and pancakes with cherries, homemade cheese, they liked it. Dumplings also love chicken Kiev.

– Do you have a favorite Ukrainian dish? Now there are many new forgotten dishes. By the way, you offered elderflower lemonade, which for some reason everyone forgot about here, but it grows everywhere.

– Yes, we are used to doing something, as they do it somewhere, but we forget what grows in every garden. For example, I picked elderberry flowers near Kyiv. Many do not know that elder flowers are very healthy and taste like flowers. That is – you can taste the smell of flowers! It's delicious – why not! We make many drinks from flowers – rose, jasmine. Right now, jasmine suits me – there will be jasmine drinks soon.

And my favorite dish is sour cherry dumplings.

MasterChef 9 winner Sergey Denisov: The military dug a trench and found elite white truffles

Elderberry Lemonade – useful and tasty! The chef advises to try. Photo:

I was already under shelling, I already went through everything…

– Returning to volunteering in Kyiv. I saw how you carried sacks of potatoes and other products from the first days of the war. Did you even count how many people you fed?

– How many people – hard to say. Someone took several servings, and someone, on the contrary, one serving for 3-4 people. We had quite large portions – 350-440 g, plus soup. Everything was measured in kilograms, tons. Every day we gave out 500-600 kg of food and 500 liters of soup.

– Where did you get the funds? Is this your own, donations, did any of the vendors help?

– I never collected anything. At first I used all my means, and then we teamed up with other guys, and I was already cooking. Andrey Kozlenko helped a lot, he is a professional poker player. Andrey made contributions for 200 thousand hryvnias, with which we bought food, hygiene products and medicines, and delivered them to Irpen, Vorzel and Bucha.

– You used to work as a brand chef of the Oi, Mamo, Tse Bulo in Tbilisi restaurant chain. Is there a job now?

– That job is gone. I work for myself. I have a few projects of my own.

Winner &laquo

Sergey Denisov went to the kitchen from the first days of the war to feed the military and everyone in need with meals. Photo:

– What helped you not to get confused on February 24 and stand at the stove?

< p> – I'm a Donetsk dude, I was already under fire. I've been through all this before.

– But you had to survive both the beginning of the war in 2014 and its new phase.

– It happens. Such a fate.

– What do you want to do when we win? What are you dreaming about?

– I want to go to the sea. Somewhere in Asia.

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