Emailing Egor Rodichkin, Group Executive Chef The Riverland Group, I was struck by old adage “if you want something done, you should ask a busy person.”
His passion for his work and support of the industry are evident in his words and actions. He happily responded to our Mount Zero Hero profile questions, 48-hours prior to boarding a plane and amidst overseeing the kitchens of the Riverland Group
And somewhere in that mix, a Mt. Zero Olives Talk & Taste session at Pilgrim was confirmed for July 20, 2017.
Put that in your diary folks!
A self-described “gypsy” Egor was born in Russia, grew up in Brazil and immigrated to Australia in his mid-twenties.
As a child Egor spent the Russian summers with his grandmother, who lived on a small block of land and grew an array of organic fruit and vegetables. He remembers her as an exceptional cook and someone who certainly influenced his love and passion for cooking.
When his parents moved the family to Rio, Egor became close friends with a family who owned and ran a French restaurant. It was there watching all the action in the kitchen, that he first developed the dream of owning a restaurant.
After working in business management and project management in Brazil for a few years, Egor decided to pursue his passion for food, an adventure which brought him to one of the most food obsessed cities in the world – Melbourne.
Today Egor manages some of the kitchens of The Riverland Group which includes Riverland Bar, The Boatbuilders Yard, Pilgrim, The General Assembly, Wye River General Store and newly open Bang Bang RC in Elsternwick.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our Mount Zero Hero questions this month Egor.
What are your career highlights to date?
I think I am currently living the highlight of my career! Overseeing a large, multi-site operation is quite challenging. Combining passion for food with business has been really rewarding, especially when you are able to retain and work with good people.
What is your favourite menu item and why?
I must say it is Paella. It’s a great peasant dish that certainly brings people together. I learnt the recipe 15-years ago from a lovely old lady called Carmen. I rented a room in her house in Madrid for a couple of months when I was on a university exchange program.
She was extremely generous; I am not sure if she ever made any money from board! We would go to the Mercado de San Miguel every Friday and she would buy all the ingredients and then spend the afternoon cooking for all those staying at her house.
My version today includes a drizzle of Mt Zero Picual Olive Oil over the finished dish – it makes a huge difference.
If you want to try my style, The Boatbuilders Yard will cook it up for large groups. And if you want to learn to make your own - drop in and see Paulo at Casa Iberica in Fitzroy. He will sort you out with all the right ingredients and the cooking utensils, to master the art at home.
Where do you source your produce?
Running a multi-site business sometimes means that procurement is price driven but we try to keep our focus on sustainable produce and we cherish our relationships with local producers.
We have a fantastic relationship with Sevens Creek Wagyu from Strathbogie, who run a paddock to plate business. Peter Bouchier is our man for quality pork, and the boys from Pacdon Park in Echuca are fantastic.
Pilgrim Bar is one of the few venues in Melbourne to offer a 100% Australian drinks menu with all beer, wine and spirits locally made. We are currently working on aligning the food offer with this concept, developing partnerships with smaller producers to offer our customers a unique experience.
The most heard feedback from your regular customers?
Most of our customers are unexpectedly surprised by the menu, especially at Pilgrim. We have kept a very low profile and it is a hidden gem.
Do you have a favourite kitchen tool?
Well, I’m not sure about the tools, but my kitchen-hands are amazing!
What would you be doing today if you weren’t in the food business?
I’d probably be in procurement or project management, outside of the food industry these are two areas of work that I like a lot.
What is a word (or two) you would use to describe Mount Zero Olives?
I would use “heritage”- in the sense of skilled, learned craftsmanship.
We ask each of our Mount Zero Hero’s to add to our ever growing “Foodie’s Bucket List.” What would you add?
I would add three things:
- My grandmothers baked sturgeon with new potatoes and freshly picked dill for a little bit of nostalgia.
- Japanese fish markets for produce excellence.
- Basque country for a great time.
Do you have any special plans or dream projects planned for 2017?
2017 is the year of consolidation for us, one where hopefully many of our bright ideas will take off! There is only a certain amount of things you can keep scribbled on a napkin!
One special event your readers might be interested in a Talk & Taste session at Pilgrim where people get to meet the producer, and taste their product.
On Thursday 20 July we will feature Mt. Zero Olives. It will be an intimate dinner for up to 24 guests who will try an array of Mt Zero products across 3 courses of shared plates - matched delicious with wine.
Thanks Egor – we’ll see you there!
To purchase tickets visit: