5 Questions with Maud Joseph

 


 

We asked Maud Joseph, head of the CCI France Ukraine (Chambre de Commerce et L’Industrie Franco-Ukrainienne), organizer of the competition Made by Women in Ukraine and author of the Pink Guide Restaurant series in Kyiv and Odesa, five questions about gastronomy, difference between dining experiences in France and Ukraine and her future plans.

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1. What inspired you to create a restaurant guide in the first place?

 

When I arrived in Kyiv eight years ago, I was surprised that bookstores didn’t have any local restaurant guides. For me, gastronomy is an essential part of the travel experience — it is as important as visiting museums and other cultural landmarks. So it became an impetus to create my personal compilation. The main idea was to have a source which you can use to select a place for any given situation: a family outing, dinner with friends, work meeting or a date.

 

2. What are the key differences between Ukrainian and French dining out experiences?

 

In Ukraine people tend to put higher value on the decor of a restaurant, which isn’t the case in France. French venues are smaller in size, so you end up unwillingly eavesdropping on your neighbor’s conversation. In Kyiv and Odesa restaurants tend to be more spacious, so you have some privacy to yourself. Also, music plays a major part in the Ukrainian restaurant experience — live performances, DJ sets and jazz bands provide an entertainment aspect to dining, which I truly enjoy. 

 

3. What stereotypes about French cuisine are false?

 

That it’s a greasy and overall archaic cuisine. Nowadays French chefs opt for a seasonal menu with locally-sourced vegetables and other products, which are familiar to everyone.

 

4. Would you give your personal recommendation of five restaurants in Kyiv for different occasions?

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Bassano

 

Bassano is an excellent Italian restaurant with a stunning view of the St. Nicholas Cathedral. I like that they have a seasonal menu and an extensive wine list. Additionally, all of their desserts are top notch. You could pick any with your eyes closed and all of them would be good.

 

Good for:

 

— business lunch 

— get-together with friends in the evening

All rights belong to Maud Joseph

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All rights belong to Maud Joseph

Nam
 
Nam is a Vietnamese restaurant with a lush interior, reminiscent of a colonial building circa 19th century. The star chef, Hector Jimenez-Bravo, brought back the taste of my childhood [Maud has Vietnamese roots] with dishes like Pho soup, curry prawns, spring rolls and fried rice. Nam has an excellent business lunch proposition as well – they serve generous portions and bring them to you in no time at all.
 
Good for:
— business lunch

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Frou Frou
 
Frou Frou is a French restaurant with sophisticated interior and excellent service. I tried practically all of their dishes, but my favorites are beef tartare with avocado and truffle oil and scallops tartare for appetizers, and for the main course – duck confit with potato purée and parmesan. In terms of dessert, their soufflé is exceptional. In addition, they have a cozy bar located on a floor below with furniture upholstered in red velvet.
 
Good for:
— dinner-turned-drinks evening – without leaving premises of the restaurant

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Chef’s Table 

 

I consider Chef’s Table one of the best recent additions to Kyiv’s plethora of restaurants. Restaurant was founded by chef Volodymyr Yaroslavskyi. He likes to experiment with extravagant products, such as oysters and crab meat. Located on the second floor of GoodWine, it offers a tasting menu comprising six courses, which I sincerely recommend.

 

Good for:

— lunch after grocery shopping

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Citronelle

 

Citronelle is the oldest establishment on this list. It  was founded ten years ago and already then French expats were recommending it to each other whenever they felt nostalgic for home. Incidentally, Citronelle’s chef, Robin Casnabet, is French too. He successfully preserves the authenticity of French cuisine. For lunch I usually go for a roast beef salad and pasta with prawns, and in the evening I prefer sea bass with tomatoes and olives baked in foil and for dessert – “Opera”, which combines coffee and chocolate.

 

Good for:

— authentic French cuisine

 

5. Apart from Kyiv and Odesa, can we expect any other additions to the Pink Guide series?

 

Yes. I plan to gradually investigate other big cities in Ukraine. I already bookmarked several addresses in Lviv, Kharkiv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Dnipro. My ultimate goal is to create a Best Restaurants in Ukraine guide.

 

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You can purchase “The Pink Guide Best Restaurant Kyiv & Odesa” here.

Translated and edited by Anna Shevetovska

13.01.2022

All rights belong to Maud Joseph