Dumplings, cabbage rolls and potato pancakes: how an immigrant popularizes Ukrainian cuisine in the USA
Vareniki, cabbage rolls, potato pancakes and other Ukrainian dishes are little known to Americans. An immigrant from Ukraine undertook to change this, who created her own catering company in Connecticut and popularizes the cuisine of her homeland. This is stated in the video "Voices of America".
Olesya Mikhailenko is a successful entrepreneur who has her own catering company in Connecticut. She staked her business on Ukrainian cuisine and is trying to popularize dumplings, borsch, potato pancakes, cabbage rolls among Americans. After all, they have a very indirect understanding of Ukrainian cuisine, so they often attribute these dishes to Polish or Russian cuisines.
“When I invited my American friends and treated us to our national dishes, they told me:“ We have never tasted Ukrainian cuisine. What's so famous about you? " I say dumplings, and they: "Show me ... A, pies?" I sighed and concluded: no, this will not work, we need to acquaint people with our cuisine, ”says Olesya Mikhailenko, owner of a food-to-order company.
Artur Petrevich was born in Belarus, but he immigrated to the United States with his parents as a very young boy. He is Olesya's regular client. This time he ordered traditional Ukrainian treats for his girlfriend's birthday.
“She is American, but she loves different cultures and is not indifferent to sweets yet. In addition, the current trend is more homemade food. It's all natural, you just breathe it in when you open it. This cannot be compared to shopping in a store, ”says Artur Petrevich, Olesya's client.
The businesswoman comes from Khmelnitsky. She arrived in the USA four years ago with one suitcase and decided to tempt fate overseas on her own. She says that from childhood she loved to cook.
“My culinary interest ... My very first memories when I was eight years old. A neighbor baked shortbread cookies, and the way she made them interested me so much that while my parents were in the field, I came and, although the whole kitchen was in flour, I made these cookies, ”recalls Olesya.
But her parents did not share her passion for cooking as a profession. Once in the USA, Olesya realized that this was her chance to finally master her favorite profession professionally and start her own business. The first step was getting specialized education. A talented and hardworking student was immediately noticed. She managed to pass the selection and get an internship at once in two fashionable restaurants in New York, which have one and three Michelin stars.
“Every week we had a task: kitchen workers, chefs, prepare a dish on their own. I decided that I would like to acquaint the people working there, my employees, with Ukrainian cuisine. I cooked something every week. And once, when I brought a Kiev cutlet and a herring under a fur coat, they just had a brain explosion from these tastes and from the sight, ”says Olesya.
After such a reaction, she realized that her main mission in the United States was to popularize Ukrainian cuisine. Training and internships allowed her to gain knowledge not only in cooking, but also in the development of the restaurant business. Now she is working on opening a network of Ukrainian dishes. The next project is a full-fledged restaurant.
“I'm looking for a room now. I want it to be simple, fast; so that people can run in on the go or come to dinner; for children to buy something tasty or to take with them for lunch. That is, this is my goal so that more people can afford goodies, ”says the author of Ukrainian dishes.
Oksana is Olesya's regular customer, she loves Ukrainian cuisine very much and complains that the nearest restaurant is only in New York, so she is looking forward to the businesswoman opening her establishments.
“For example, tomorrow is my birthday, and I will celebrate it in an American institution, because ours is not here. And as Mrs. Olesya will have restaurants, we will gladly be the first clients, ”Oksana summed up.
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