Karen Khachatryan Image by: Yeremyan Projects

Karen Khachatryan: I have been inspired by Armenian sun-soaked flavors

Over the past few years, the Armenian gastronomic mosaic has been completed with new colors thanks to the unique and unprecedented restaurant Renommée in Armenia, opened in 2021 at 91 Buzand street, representing the author’s cuisine of “Yeremyan Projects” company.

Soon the restaurant will present a new author's set menu, and we talked with Karen Khachatryan, the chef of the restaurant, about the concept and peculiarities of the dishes.  

Renommée will be presented with a new conceptual author's set menu. What is it about and how did you come up with the idea?  

The new set menu with its conceptual approach fully represents the Armenian author haute cuisine. It reflects the evolution of our culinary traditions and reveals the gastronomic perspectives of Armenian food products. Haute cuisine is characterized by culinary traditions reinterpreted and revealed with new insights. Our goal has been to use local products and while working with them to find ways of enabling them to keep their "pure taste" and bring out their best sides. We have created a cuisine we would like to be represented with in the world.  The new set is called “Sunburst Armenia”. I have been inspired by Armenian sun-soaked flavors and the heritage of our traditional Armenian cuisine. Our new set is unique, as it is created from local, seasonal fresh products absorbed with the taste and warmth of the Armenian sun, which provide infinite possibilities of creativity.

Surely, we have products flavored with the vivifying sun, which are of high quality, have unique taste characteristics and healthy properties also thanks to our soil and water. Hence, the flavors that can be obtained from Armenian products in haute cuisine are particularly exceptional.

The idea of "Sunburst Armenia" has been existing since January. Every new gastronomic trip bestows life and wings to the ideas. In April, I had a business trip to the 2-star Michelin restaurant Ramón Freixa in Madrid, and upon returning from there, what I had in my mind was reflected in the new menu by 99%.

What new masterpieces of modern Armenian culinary art are you going to surprise your guests with this time?

Our new set is quite comprehensive and includes dishes for guests with diverse preferences.  I’ll try to spell out briefly without giving the details. We shall have two sets consisting of 12 and 8 dishes. Seafood lovers will discover the Armenian fish world, as the dominant ingredients of the menu dishes are whitefish, river trout and trout. Meat lovers will find interesting and various experiments with quail and lamb that were not included in our preceding menus. We have used many culinary techniques from our classical cuisine. There are ingredients in the set that have taken a completely different form and content, for example, eggplant.

Karen Khachatryan Image by: Yeremyan Projects

We used products well known to all of us - mountain thyme, various types of mushrooms, sea buckthorn from Sevan Lake basin, apples, apricots, almonds and other fruits, vegetables, greens, which are all the goods of the Armenian nature.

We will present visually attractive dishes, and many of them will get their final look right in front of the guest. As for the wine pairing, it will consist entirely of Armenian wines. The dishes in this set will tell about themselves and our culinary heritage. Guests will taste familiar and unknown flavors that will make them recall special feelings and memories.   

How do you choose the products?

We are very meticulous in the selection of each product and its suppliers and feel responsible in this regard. We grow and cultivate a number of ingredients in our own fields. In other cases, we cooperate with the best local farmers and producers. Dairy and meat products are produced in our “Yeremyan Projects” farms: one of the most important goals of our agricultural projects is the control of the entire chain and quality of food production, through which an uninterrupted supply of quality food to the restaurants is ensured. As for the other products, they are selected by me, together with our team, and the special dishes are created with selected products. The products of this set have been selected based on the same principle, but the reliance is on ingredients found in season, with which the author's dishes will be lighter and refreshing.   

When will the new set menu be available for Renommée guests?

The set will be available at the beginning of August. This is an awesome responsibility for us, we have set a benchmark and we must keep and surpass it. Before presenting the new set menu, we have significant work to do with the whole team, from the culinary team to the service personnel. Each set menu has its own requirements, principles and nuances of serving.

In order to learn, skillfully master them and provide service worthy of Renommée, the restaurant will be closed for a very short period of time, about a week from July 27, before the presentation of the new menu. It is a common practice in haute author cuisines all over the world. In the meantime, the personnel will get prepared for serving the new set menu through trainings. The restaurant already has its loyal local and foreign guests who eagerly await our news. We should present ourselves to our guests in the best possible way.

Culinary art lovers and haute cuisine connoisseurs in every corner of the world are seeking for inimitable tastes, unique handwriting and new colors and we want to be a new destination for them. Renommée continues to pursue the same ambitious goals. We should have our own place in the global gastro map, in the list of the world’s best restaurants and make Armenian modern author's cuisine recognizable, since we have a lot to convey having a country with rich nature, creative mind, and principles, approaches inherited from the national cuisine. 

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