Condé Nast International and Lexus’ first creative collaboration is now on its second episode of the four-part film series aptly titled “Journeys in Taste”.
The series of episodes can be viewed from local Lexus channels – Lexus South Africa website as well as the Lexus South Africa You Tube Channel. Journeys in Taste is a celebration of the craft and vision of the world’s most innovative tastemakers.
The series of short films documents the visionary journey of culinary luminaries from around the world - including chefs who embody a spirit of adventure, innovation and dedication to their craftsmanship.
The parallels between crafting the finest luxury automobiles and an exceptional culinary experience are what inspired Lexus to embark on this project. In its own way, each film reflects the thoughtfulness, craftsmanship and imagination that go into creating every Lexus vehicle to deliver an amazing experience.
“At Lexus, creating a unique sense of taste is something that we strive for in the design and crafting of our products. The Condé Nast partnership has allowed us to tell that story in a way that is relevant to our brand and engaging for the audience,” commented Spiros Fotinos, Global Head of Brand and Marketing Lexus.
The Journeys in Taste four-part series kicked off in December featuring the first talent - Chinese winemaker, Emma Gao. The new episode profiles a renowned chef from Moscow, Russia whose name is Vladimir Mukhin.
A well-known name in the country’s culinary scene, GQ travelled to Moscow to meet Mukhin as part of this four-part documentary series.
After growing up in the small town of Yessentuki, in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains, Mukhin moved to Moscow, where he worked his way from dishwasher to executive chef, eventually arriving at the White Rabbit, a restaurant that over the last seven years has gained a global reputation for its experimental Russian recipes and ingredients – including, traditional "Borodinsky" black bread made with birch bark.
Coming from more than five generations of chefs, Mukhin is uniquely positioned to propel the age-old recipes of his homeland firmly into the future. “I went to Moscow to find new inspiration,” says the 33-year-old, who spent his formative years working alongside his father. “I wanted to find a different style, I wanted to find my style,” he adds.
Though it was his grandmother who taught him how to cook, it is culinary memories of her cooking that resonate most strongly in his own restaurant, where even today - you’ll find honey cake made to her traditional recipe alongside Mukhin’s own cutting-edge interpretation of the well-loved Russian dessert.
Reinvention has long been a watchword for the chef, who describes his cooking as an ongoing evolution of a by-gone Russian era, before the soviet years took hold: “I get a lot of good energy from my past,” he says. Working exclusively with Russian ingredients, Mukhin grows much of his own produce and is supplied by only a handful of farmers from across his vast native land.
“The White Rabbit is a story about Alice in Wonderland,” he says of the award-winning restaurant, where it’s not unusual to be served garlic infused dishes for dessert. “It’s like magic - you have a sense that you don’t know what’s going to happen next.” Even the interior, designed by MK 17, is a contemporary translation of an antique decorative style. Set on the top of a skyscraper on Smolenskaya Square, it’s modeled after a historic Russian chamber. With its panoramic views of Moscow and opulent Lewis Carroll-inspired decor, to dine there is to enter into a fairytale. Those lucky enough to be seated each at the chef’s table, experience delicacies only previously enjoyed by Russian royalty – not least, swan’s liver.
Mukhin’s pioneering approach has won him a coveted place on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants award for the third year running. “It’s not about the glory,” he notes. “It’s about inspiration. It’s not a job – it’s a way of life.” This intense focus and attention to detail, driven by a desire to constantly raise the bar is entirely simpatico with the ethos of the Lexus ES F SPORT - where performance is effortlessly married to high-end craft. It’s no coincidence that as Mukhin traverses the nocturnal streets of his adopted city, that he should compare his kitchen to a fine-tuned machine.
Each short film is published across ten international editions of Vogue, GQ and Condé Nast Traveller and the Lexus network.