A Michelin Star’s Story

Artur Kazaritski, Chef

Artur Kazaritski’s daily work life at Kadeau, a two Star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen, is a rigorous process. His work requires long hours, plenty of hard work, impeccable attention to detail and an ability to keep cool under extreme pressure.

Country of Origin: Estonia
Country of Residence: Denmark
Year of Birth: 1990
Talent: Artur Kazaritski

By Christian Baya & Paul Bijkerk

Artur Kazaritski looked at me nervously from across the camera. This was strange considering that the man's passion and talent stemmed from working in some of the most renowned kitchens on the planet. I had met up with him at his current employment residences, Kadeau — a 2 Star Michelin restaurant in the heart of Copenhagen. Dressed in a white shirt and an impeccably white apron, I could have mistaken the chef as some type of scientist.

Artur’s Beginnings
Armed with my pen and a menacingly large camera, I read off the list of names and associates that his CV had to offer. Not only was Artur an acknowledge speaker of Nordic cuisine in his home country, but he also worked in an array of Michelin restaurants spanning, Japan, Norway, California, Italy, Finland and finally Denmark. It might therefore seem surprising to learn that Artur’s upbringing was rather humble, if not solitary to the average person. 
Growing up in a small village in Vaivara in South-East Estonia, Artur was raised in a family that was considerably self-sufficient. His mother a shop assistant and his father, a sailor and chef on a ship got by on a fairly stable life. When asked about his initial interests in food Artur grinned for the first time. “My family and I grew up in what you would call the countryside, I loved it, we used to grow a lot of our own food in the garden, and when I was 7 my mum would let me make my own pancakes in the kitchen. I think that freedom to grow and cook the produce really started making me interested in food”. This seemingly precocious interest was however not the determining factor behind Artur’s rise to culinary heights. One singular individual made more of an impact on his career than any other.

A boy who wants to be like his father

Artur’s father’s approach to work ethic and family security left an unrivalled impression on Artur at an early age. As a sailor and a chef, Artur’s father was accustomed to regimented routines that created a startling sense of determination within Artur and his family. “Yeah, I have a pretty good relationship with my dad now” Artur said carefully, “but before it was pretty strict in that he was the dad and I was his son. He had these strong hands on us, he kept pushing a lot, he pushed on us not being lazy, and he hated when we were sitting by the computer and playing games, he couldn’t stand it, he could get really mad. He also always wanted me and my brother to improve. He is definitely a man with a strong mind”. At this point Artur chuckled silently to himself, to which I immediately inquired. “Well most days my dad would just get out of bed at like 5 o'clock in the morning and do some morning aerobics in the forest with whatever he had on. He’d then take a cold shower have breakfast and then go to work at like 6. So yeah, I definitely think my brother and I have been inspired by his determination and belief in himself”.

Fortune favours the brave

“When I was young, I was always inspired by how well my dad could prepare a dinner for us”, started Artur, unphased by my lack of an inquest. His portrayal of his dad’s ability in the kitchen and its positive effects on him and the family was however heartwarming. It seemed almost like a no-brainer that Artur had decided on a future in cooking. This began properly at Sillamae Vocational School in Sallamae . From there Artur realised that to improve he had to move from his happy life in Estonia. Considering Artur was just 19 at the time, it seemed important to me to ask how he dealt with the move, considering the precariousness of the vocation itself. He looked at me with a slight melancholic look, “well the biggest sacrifice was definitely my family, at a certain point I was considering to going back because it’s still something in my heart, but for me the biggest challenge is only yourself, because you have to make sure you want to do it for yourself and that is something you want to do in the future, and you don’t waste your time. You have to sacrifice plenty of you own time and sacrifice time with your friends and family”. At that moment the interview paused briefly, at which point I asked whether having his own restaurant was the motivation for the future. Artur smiled, ‘my dreams are my secrets, but discovering new things, discovering new ideas, improving myself - this has always been my motivation’. Artur’s work history around the world however came to an abrupt ending in 2015 whilst working at the 3 star Michelin Restaurant, Geranium, under the famous Danish chef, Rasmus Kofoed.

Life in Denmark

On a night out at a local Bodega (Pub), the young chef met a Danish girl that would soon become his girlfriend. “My girlfriend was one of the reasons why I decided to stay here, otherwise I would probably have moved back to Norway. But now I think of it, Copenhagen is the perfect size, it shouldn’t be bigger like London, Paris or New York - it’s great because everything is so close by, so if I want something social and active I can find it, and if I want something quiet it’s here.” His answer was short, simple and very much to the point - so much so that I felt that the Estonian was attempting to close the topic of conversation. ‘What about the Danes, what’s your opinion of them’ I asked. I could see his eyes beginning to roll back at the mention of the topic, and before I knew it, the Estonian was already staring up in the air as if waiting for someone else to answer the question.
Artur’s opinion of the Danes was not entirely unfounded, although rare, the Estonian took a slightly critical tone but was happy to recount his own experiences. “I don’t know man, I think they’re definitely easy going and friendly people, but it’s not always easy with them, for example when I would go to a shop during my first month in Copenhagen, the first thing I noticed was how important it was for the Danes that I learn Danish."

Voices of Europe
Voices of Europe

Artur Kazaritski at geranium. Copyright © Flavours of Estonia.

Voices of Europe

Artur Kazaritski at geranium. Copyright © Flavours of Estonia.

An Iron Discipline

Artur’s daily work life at, Kadeau, is a rigorous process. His work requires long hours, plenty of hard work, impeccable attention to detail and an ability to keep cool under extreme pressure. It was in this description that I realised that Artur was actually describing what he enjoyed rather than what was expected of him. It seemed to me all too obvious that his free time would therefore be the exact opposite. I was wrong. Artur was doing a job he loves and using his free time in almost exactly the same way. He explained how Copenhagen's active environment and surrounding areas provided a near-perfect training ground to do an Iron Man. To give you an idea, the Ironman Triathlon requires a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride and a 26.2 mile marathon. “The intensity of the iron man is great, I’ve done 36 weeks of hard training in which I spend 10 hours a week on trainings, and then maybe 1 year in total with almost no drinking. If I had a beer now, I would probably be drunk’ he said smugly. He was definitely a guy who was motivated by a cause, but despite my fear in sounding ignorant, I just had to ask him the question that I had never understood, ‘why would you put yourself through an iron man?’ It was a good question I thought, and one that others would also ask. He stared at me blankly, almost dumbfounded by the question itself. “Well I grew up in a sporty family, we did a lot of skiing so I grew up training and always doing something - for me going to a gym is not interesting, I never feel that I’m improving. But this feeling of competition and being faster than someone else, this is what’s really cool, I feel better more energetic, more powerful.

Kadeau being Artur’s current employer, is a 5 year old restaurant situated in the heart of Christianshavn, Copenhagen. Founded by 3 old friends from the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea, the restaurant celebrates its concept and origins by decorating its interior design by featuring a lot of the islands own vegetation and look. Guests who have booked a reservation at the restaurant are encountered the same way as one would at a private dinner party. The guests ring the doorbell at which point a waiter will answer and usher them to their tables. The spellbinding bronze open plan kitchen is one of the first rooms they pass whilst entering the restaurant, at that time they are allocated an area that allows them full view of the kitchen and the garden. The space is quite unique considering the centrality of where Artur works in relation to his guests. In many cases, it reminds me of a jazz setting whereby the guests either have the choice to watch the entertainment emancipating from the corner or on their own social group. Either or- one is intrigued by the restaurants Feng Shui feel and island approach.

Christian Baya & Paul Bijkerk

This project has been a collaboration between Christian Baya & Paul Bijkerk. Paul has been working as a copywriter for most of his life, but is more commonly acknowledge for his wealth of knowledge within photography and digital production. Paul met his Danish girlfriend in Rotterdam and like Artur decided to stay with her in Copenhagen. Therefore it seemed most opportune to ask for not only Paul’s technical support, but also his own experiences in staying in a new country.