Anatoliy Galkin

Anatoliy Galkin

Kremlin chef
Country: Russia

Anatoly Galkin: Kremlin Chef and Culinary Memoirist

Anatoly Nikolaevich Galkin is a renowned Russian chef and author, known for his expertise in the secrets of Russian cuisine. Born into a military family, Galkin's passion for cooking was inspired by his grandmother, who worked as a cook at Stalin's dacha in Kuntsevo. She shared stories of the lavish feasts and traditional Russian and Georgian dishes prepared for Stalin and his guests, sparking Galkin's interest in the culinary world.

Anatoliy Galkin

Galkin pursued his culinary education at a vocational school of public catering and subsequently served as a chef for the top command staff in the military. After his discharge in 1980, Galkin received an unexpected invitation to the Kremlin personnel department. Following a rigorous selection process, he began working in the Kremlin kitchen, where he prepared meals for Leonid Brezhnev.

Anatoliy Galkin

Impressed by Brezhnev's simplicity and affability, Galkin honed his culinary skills and service etiquette. Within three years, he was promoted and transferred to Mikhail Gorbachev's dacha. Galkin formed a close bond with the Gorbachev family, catering to their preferences for various dishes, including multiple types of porridge for breakfast. Raisa Gorbacheva, known for her strict diet, particularly enjoyed Galkin's perfectly brewed coffee.

Galkin's culinary creations impressed not only the Gorbachevs but also foreign dignitaries. After Gorbachev assumed the role of the General Secretary of the Soviet Union, Galkin became his personal chef, often working long hours to fulfill the demands of his prestigious position. In order to improve his knowledge of international dining etiquette, Galkin embarked on a six-month internship at Buckingham Palace, where he astounded the meticulous British staff with his innovative dessert of stuffed pine nuts and cream-covered strawberries. Queen Elizabeth II herself was so enamored with Galkin's creation that she granted him a personal audience and gifted him a silver service set.

Upon returning to Russia, Galkin's expertise in Russian cuisine and his experience in catering to foreign guests made him highly sought after. He catered to notable figures such as George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher, who all praised his traditional Russian dishes. Galkin's work also involved meticulous menu planning, adherence to dietary requirements, and ensuring the safety and quality of the food served.

In 1991, after Gorbachev's resignation, Galkin briefly continued working in the Kremlin kitchen. However, due to a strained relationship with President Boris Yeltsin, who was wary of former members of Gorbachev's team, Galkin decided to leave Russia and pursue opportunities in the United States and Europe. His culinary talents were recognized by celebrities such as Brad Pitt, who lauded Galkin for his borscht.

In late 1999, Galkin returned to Russia and received a new offer from the country's leadership. He was appointed as the Brand Chef, tasked with developing new recipes and approving menu concepts that aligned with the changing dietary preferences of the nation. The focus shifted towards healthier options, emphasizing vegetables, fruits, seafood, and fine cheeses. Nevertheless, Galkin ensured that traditional Russian dishes remained a highlight of the menu for both domestic and international guests. His innovative dishes, including his signature "Kremlin scrambled eggs" and champagne-lime cocktail with mint and ice, received high praise.

Galkin firmly believes in the importance of preserving and promoting Russian culinary traditions. While acknowledging the influence of Western and Eastern cuisines, he insists that successful culinary endeavors often stem from embracing one's own heritage. He remains a proponent of Russian cuisine, considering it a hidden treasure for chefs and restaurateurs worldwide.

When it comes to cooking for his own family, Galkin humbly admits that he never steps foot in his own kitchen as his wife's culinary skills surpass his own.