What is like to be a pastry chef in Russia? I had the chance to interview Aleksandr Donskov, a talented pastry chef specialized in beautiful choux pastries. He lives in Vladivostok, in a peninsula surrounded by the sea of Japan, better known as the gold horn due to its location in the most Eastern part of Russia. It’s named the gateway to Asia, located between China and North Korea. It takes 7 days to get from Moscow to Vladivostok by train.
This vibrant port city is visited by nationals and international tourists. The activities are endless, like swimming in the shores of the sea of Japan, strolling down the local markets, museums and science centers, and -of course- eating. Aleksandr Donskov has become the great ambassador of his city in the world, thanks to his establishment named Vspyshka, founded in 2015, and éclair as his flagship product. ‘I was born in Vladivostok and lived there whole my life. Starting my own pastry café is a big fortuity. We accidentally found the place and tried to do what we could. And we gained more and more experience. There was no business plan or long-term strategy. Everything was accidental. Now, thanks to the time and the experience, my team and I can say that we have reached our goal. We have integrated a sweet culture in our city and shown how can small pastry look like. Our pastry is now one of the tourist places in the city, isn’t it great? People from all over the world write us and want to visit us’, proudly explains the chef.
‘Anyone can write me, and I’ll share with them everything I know. I love people who are crazy about everything they do – workaholics. If they come to me, I always support them.’
At the age of 28, Aleksandr Donskov decides to turn his life around and turn his passion into a profession, ‘I became a confectioner and instantly realized that it was what I loved and wanted to do every day. I studied a lot and was never afraid of experiments. Also, my designer degree helped me a lot in the creation of éclairs’, he adds.
‘And why are the éclairs your main focus?’ we asked him.
‘The éclair is a pattern for me, and I can perform my ideas through it. I’m sure that this pattern is endless. I elaborated my first éclair 7 years ago. Then I wanted more than it and worked a lot to create new shapes and tastes.’
Chef Donskov combines his daily activity in his workshop with teaching classes, something he enjoys as much as creating new éclairs, ‘it is great to share my own experience and knowledge and feel that people come to you and trust you. That inspires me a lot. I like to show them my philosophy and the way I work. Anyone can write me, and I’ll share with them everything I know. I love people who are crazy about everything they do – workaholics. If they come to me, I always support them.