Alexei Vasilchuk: Well-known Russian restaurateur speaks about harmony in family and business. Secrets of success
Inna Novikova, General Director of Pravda.Ru, had an interview with Alexei Vasilchuk, co-owner of RestArt restaurant holding that owns such popular restaurants as Chayhona No. 1, Ploveberry, OBED BUFET, Live Kitchen, Project 354 and many others. Mrs. Novikova sat down with Mr. Vasilchuk to talk about love to God and people that can not be fully cognized or improved, about children who "should not have childhood," about spiritual harmony, secrets of success, plans and dreams.
Alexei Vasilchuk believes that the main goal of human life is to open the heart to God and people, because everything is interconnected. "The goal is to grow spiritually. Achieving earthly wellbeing and success is a mediocre thing," he said.
"Today we are on the 86th floor at 354 Exclusive Height restaurant for an interview with Alexei Vasilchuk, a co-owner of Rest-Art restaurant holding. You are a very positive person, you have six children, and they are all completely different, aren't they?"
"They are, absolutely."
"What do you think your prime objective as a parent is? Do you want to help every of your kids to find their way, or do you want them to continue your business?"
"For me - for me and my wife - the prime objective is to teach our children to love other people around them, to teach them to work. Of course, we want to teach them how to love God, which is natural for an Orthodox family. I always bring Taras Bulba as an example to my children. I have a dream to party at my great-grandchildren's weddings. This is not because I want to live a hundred years, but because I would like to see the future of my generation, I would like to see them become decent people. This is the most important objective. It does not matter whether they will be rich or poor and so on. Of course, it is important to teach children to work. I believe that children should not have childhood in the conventional sense of the word. Childhood means acquaintance with the world, but unfortunately, modern upbringing has changed. Today, parents try to give their children everything, but this is a wrong thing to do."
"The father has always been considered the head of the family, the breadwinner and support for others."
"He is not only the breadwinner, but also the center of the family. The father of the family is like god, this is very important, but in modern-day families priorities are changing. Many people want their children to be happy, they want kids to have everything - parents want to cherish their children."
"And then a child grows to believe that everyone owes him everything, but he owes nothing to others."
"Indeed, this is the reason why children grow selfish. One needs to explain children the difference between the good and the bad, one needs to explain what God is to them. We often talk for a long time. The relationship between parents inside the family is extremely important. However, in most long-lasting families, people often forget about love and think of it as attachment to each other.
"In today's Orthodoxy, unfortunately, the notion of humility is distorted. People are taught to be patient, to accept things. One does not need to be patient, one only needs to love. Love is a lot greater than patience. One should do things and do not expect anything in return. What do people want in their families? They always expect something from each other - 50x50. One does not need to divide, one needs to love at 100% and do at 100% - this is when everything changes."
"In the past, especially in villages, the father used to play the role of the head of the family. He was the center of everything. Every child had a lot of work to do. People had to live that way to survive. Today, life is different. How can one entrust something serious to a child? How can we show our children that life is a very complicated thing at the time when children do not see it because they live comfortably?"
"There are many ways to do it, some sort of additional education or sport could do it. I am convinced, though, that children need to work on themselves from early childhood. They need to learn how to step over themselves, how to overcome their I-don't-want-to's, to overcome their own ego. This is the most important thing.
"At the same time, parents should not terrorize their children, like they do in the army. Children need to feel love, but they should understand from early childhood that their mission is to work. It doesn't matter what they become - it is most important for people to find their place under the sun, to be happy and to work. Yevgeny Leonov said once that a happy person is the one who rushes to work in the morning and then home in the evening."
"There must be harmony."
"Yes, there must be harmony. If we talk about love, love for what you do, for the people around you, it will pay you back this way or other. We propagate giving more, and I know for myself that the more you give, the more you get, although you do not put such a goal for yourself.
"Seraphim of Sarov said: "Save yourself, and thousands will be saved around you." If you show your example that it works for you, that you are happy, people will look and see that this is a good example to follow. Moreover, in my opinion, Russia is the only country that has a great core, and this is our Lord."
"Any restaurant works on the basis of pretty much one and the same mechanism. First of all, there is delicious food, beautiful interior design, a nice atmosphere - this is what's most important. Can one expect anything new here from the point of view of the technological development?"
"It depends on the concept of cooking and the level of servicing. It changes taste qualities greatly. A few years ago there was no such thing as sous-vide. This is like a boiler, when you cook something for a long time at a low temperature. There's also cold smoking technology, combi steamers and so on. There is quite a variety of modern technologies, but of course, not all innovations are good for restaurants, because the most important thing in the restaurant business is the soul - the soul that the chef puts into what he makes, the soul that the waiter puts into how they serve. It is the person, who makes all this work, who gives all this to others - this is what's most important, and this can never be automated."