Bartenders and chefs from Belgium and France have won a global competition to find creative pairings of cocktails and food with Mamont Vodka.
Two teams, each made up of a bartender and a chef, were awarded the prize of an opportunity to take part in a circumpolar expedition in search of a great mammoth, presumed extinct.
The winners were chef Arie Visscher and bartender Dries Botty from Josephine’s in Antwerp and a second team of bartender Maxime Hoerth of MH Bar Consulting and chef Juan Arbelaez of Plantxa in Paris. The competition was so tight that the judges decided to have two winners.
The Mamont Mission II competition global grand finale in Moscow featured nine teams from France, Belgium, Russia, Switzerland and the UK after four heats held in London, Paris, Tbilisi and St Petersburg.
The UK was represented by two teams: bartender James Fowler and chef Paul Reed, both of The Larder House in Bournemouth, and bartender Chelsie Bailey of The Milk Thistle in Bristol and chef Todd Francis of The Ox in Bristol.
The teams were challenged to create food and a cocktail that captured Mamont’s Siberian heritage, both of which had to include the vodka as the primary ingredient.
Maxime and Juan from team Sliyaniye in Paris were chosen for their true encapsulation of Mamont’s ethos of “Choose Adventure”. They invited the judges to try their food and cocktail while sat in a tent listening to a soundtrack that took the judges’ minds to faraway places, demonstrating a highly creative spirit.
However, the judges said that all the finalists displayed hugely creative, well executed entries that encapsulated the spirit of Mamont Vodka’s roots in adventure.
Leading Russian bartender Slava Lankin, who was one of the judges, said: “The French team Sliyaniye took our hearts with their show – it was so adventurous! There are a couple of things they needed to work on with the cocktail and food pairing element, but overall their presentation was fantastic.
“The Belgian team was very balanced in terms of presentation, cocktail, food, the pairing. Other teams were very good in some elements, but this team stayed very consistent throughout. They also helped each other and worked together, which is very important in this competition.”
The judging panel also included Michelin-starred chef Jerome Coustillas and explorer David Hempleman-Adams.
Tamara Mazur, Mamont Vodka global brand ambassador, said: “This is the second year the Mamont Misson competition has run and the level of the entries has been exceptional. The teams turned a simple food and cocktail pairing into a really great show.
“It’s a second year that a French team has won, so the Russian teams need to improve since Mamont is a Russian vodka!
“We chose two winners in the end as we could not choose between the great show from Sliyaniye, and the fantastic pairing from the Belgian team. During the discussion, our judge David offered a second place on the expedition as he felt they really couldn’t choose just one winner.”
The other global finalists in the grand finale in May were: bartender Guillaume Le Blanc of Dirty Dick in Paris and chef Denny Imboisi of Jules Verne Tour Eiffel in Paris; bartender Arthur Frolov and chef Anton Abrezov of Taste to Eat in St Petersburg; bartender Nikita Burkov and chef Denis Davydov of Bar Speakeasy in Russia; bartender Nikolai Kiselyov and chef Alexei Ermakov of El Copitas Bar in St Petersburg; and bartender Faizul Hoque Sheikh and chef Nathan Dallimore of Alice Choo in Zurich, Switzerland.
Dries Botty and Arie Visscher
40ml Mamont vodka
40ml Dolin, dry infused with pink peppercorns and samphire
A pinch of dried yoghurt powder smoked with birch smoke
Olive oil infused with bergamot zestes to garnish
Dish: Salad of king crab with birch, avocado and lemon verbena.
Maxime Hoerth and Juan Arbelaez
Made with Mamont Vodka and smoked citrus-infused caviar, the recipe has not been released, but Maxime provided this description instead: “The idea behind this cocktail is to do a tasting of the flavours that best represent Siberia. This exciting journey will bring you to Russia and to discover this magical and mystical place that at the same time scares and enchants us. Presented in three Russian Dolls to remind us of the origin of this silky and delicate vodka which showcases the heritage of the vodka.”
Dish: Three Russian sashimi dishes traditionally prepared to allow you to discover the flavours of Siberia