Yevhen Klopotenko

Last updated

Yevhen Klopotenko
Євген Клопотенко
Ievgen Klopotenko 01.jpg
Klopotenko in 2021
Born (1986-11-23) 23 November 1986 (age 37) [1] [2]
Kyiv, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union
Education Le Cordon Bleu
Culinary career
Cooking style Ukrainian cuisine
Current restaurant(s)
    • 100 Rokiv Tomu Vpered
    • Inshi

Yevhen Victorovich Klopotenko [lower-alpha 1] (Ukrainian : Євген Вікторович Клопотенко; born 23 November 1986) is a Ukrainian celebrity chef and restaurateur. His work focuses on traditional Ukrainian cuisine. Since 2019, he has run the restaurant 100 Rokiv Tomu Vpered  [ uk ] in Kyiv, which features pre-Soviet Ukrainian dishes.


Klopotenko won MasterChef Ukraine in 2015 and then studied at Le Cordon Bleu. In 2017, he led the Cult Food project to improve school meals in Ukraine. He has documented Ukrainian regional styles of borscht; his work led to the dish being listed as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage for Ukraine in 2022. He has supported the Ukrainian effort in the Russian invasion of Ukraine and his restaurants have given free meals to refugees.

Klopotenko has written two cookbooks in English. He starred in a 2023 documentary about borscht, titled Borsch: The Secret Ingredient.

Early life

Klopotenko was born in Kyiv in 1986. [3] In 1991, he spent time living with his grandmother in England, near Manchester, where he was introduced to more diverse food. [4] [5] His parents taught him to cook borscht and scrambled eggs, which he credits for his early interest in recipe development. [5]

Klopotenko learned about global cuisine on the internet, and he was inspired to become a chef after watching Gordon Ramsay in Kitchen Nightmares. [6] [7] In his twenties, Klopotenko traveled to Italy and gained an interest in Italian cuisine. He worked at a Mexican restaurant in the United States, at a McDonald's franchise in Germany while on a university program, and at various restaurants in Kyiv. [5] [3] Before becoming a professional chef, he sold homemade jam. [8]


Klopotenko experienced breakout success when he won MasterChef Ukraine in 2015. He then studied at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. [4] He created a TV series titled Odyssey that featured Ukraine's culinary traditions through historical figures. It ran for three seasons. [3]

Klopotenko was inspired to revive traditional Ukrainian food after realizing that, besides borscht, salo, and varenyky, people were unfamiliar with Ukrainian dishes and mostly ate food introduced during the Soviet era. [9] [3]

Klopotenko at a UNICEF healthy eating workshop in 2023 Healthy eating workshop with Yevhen Klopotenko at Spilno Christmas 5U5A1937 (52629871242).jpg
Klopotenko at a UNICEF healthy eating workshop in 2023

In 2017, Klopotenko began an effort to improve school meals, called the Cult Food project. [5] Ukraine's school meals had been subject to Soviet-era regulations since 1956, which forbade spices besides black pepper. [10] [9] He took four years to develop a menu that was healthy and featured both Ukrainian and international dishes. It became the national standard on 1 January 2022. [10] He has collaborated with First Lady Olena Zelenska on childhood nutrition campaigns. [11] [12]


Borscht is Klopotenko's signature dish. [13] In 2020, he created a YouTube series called The Secret Ingredient featuring people across the country making borscht. [3] He considers borscht a unifier for Ukrainians. [10] [4]

Klopotenko is a proponent of recognizing borscht as a Ukrainian, rather than Russian, dish. He has described it as his "cultural frontline" [9] and said in a 2020 interview with AFP, "I don't really like to call it a war for borscht, but in fact that's what it is." [14] In 2018, he began a campaign for UNESCO to list borscht as intangible cultural heritage. The effort was partly in response to tweets by the Russian government saying borscht is "one of Russia's most famous and beloved dishes." [9] [3] Along with Maryna Sobotiuk of the Ukrainian Ministry of Information Policy, he assembled a team of culinary historians and ethnographers who document recipes from 26 regions of Ukraine. In October 2020, they submitted to Ukraine's cultural ministry their findings, including five liters of borscht, and the ministry approved the listing of borscht as Ukrainian "intangible cultural inheritance." [15] On 1 July 2022, UNESCO fast-tracked a decision to list it as intangible cultural heritage in need of safeguarding. [14] A representative of Russia's foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, responded that Ukraine was xenophobically refusing to share the dish. [4] [3] Ukraine's Minister of Culture Oleksandr Tkachenko posted on Telegram, "Victory in the war for borsch is ours!" [14] [8] UNESCO stated that its decision "does not imply exclusivity" but that Ukraine's application was prioritized due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine threatening the country's tradition. [14]

Klopotenko's documentary, Borsch: The Secret Ingredient, features his travels from 2018 to 2019, where he spoke to people across Ukraine about their recipes. It was produced by Natalka Yakymovych  [ uk ], who received $149,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development and additional funding from the Kyiv-based studio Film.UA. Its footage first aired in 2019 on 1+1 as a series of short episodes and as a documentary on the Independence Day of Ukraine of that year. Film.UA planned for a theatrical release in Ukraine, which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Netflix acquired the rights and pivoted the film's focus to Ukraine's cultural identity during the Russian invasion. It was released as an 80-minute film on Netflix on 30 March 2023. [8] [16]


The exterior of 100 Rokiv Tomu Vpered 100 rokiv tomu vpered 01.jpg
The exterior of 100 Rokiv Tomu Vpered

In March 2019, Klopotenko opened 100 Rokiv Tomu Vpered  [ uk ] (transl.Fast Forward 100 Years), a restaurant in Kyiv's city center focusing on reviving pre-Soviet Ukrainian cuisine. [6] It was cofounded by Inna Popereshnyuk  [ uk ], a cofounder of Nova Poshta. [5] To study historical dishes, he referred to mentions of food in Ukrainian literature, such as Ivan Kotliarevsky's Eneïda; Ukraine's first cookbook, Practical Kitchen by Olha Franko; and the 1913 book Food and Drink of Ukraine, written by multiple people under the pseudonym Zinaida Klynovetska. He then traveled to learn about Ukraine's regional cuisines. [9] The restaurant's ingredients are locally sourced. [8]

When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, 100 Rokiv closed for two days, then operated as a military canteen. [6] By April, it produced 1,000 meals for the army per day. [12] The restaurant reopened in July. [13]

In March 2022, Klopotenko opened a pop-up bistro in Lviv called Inshi (transl."Others"), which offers free meals for refugees of the war. [3] [17] When Klopotenko noticed the volume of refugees passing through Lviv, he acquired a former cafe building and opened the restaurant five days later. The restaurant lists its free options as "menu two" and avoids referring to its customers as refugees. The free menu is funded by paying customers, donations, and Klopotenko's own money. [12]

In April 2022, Klopotenko began catering for diplomats and other VIPs on the national rail service, Ukrzaliznytsia, in an effort to gain their political support. The first he served was Boris Johnson, whose identity was kept secret from him; others included Olaf Scholz and Bono. In November, he hosted a series of dinners in the United Kingdom to raise money for victims of the war. [7]


In October 2021, Klopotenko released an English-language cookbook with seventy recipes, including varynyky, holubtsi, deruny, and several borscht recipes he found across the country. [8]

Klopotenko's second cookbook in English, The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen, was released on 15 May 2024 in the United Kingdom and the United States. It is published under the imprint Voracious worldwide and Robinson in the United Kingdom. [18] He called the book a "love letter to the diverse culture and foodways of Ukraine." [19] It received reviews by Booklist [20] and Publishers Weekly [21] and a starred review from Library Journal. [22]


In 2021, Klopotenko was included in the 50 Next ranking by The World's 50 Best Restaurants, the first Ukrainian to be listed. [10] [23]

Public image

Klopotenko is Ukraine’s most famous celebrity chef. [4] [3] [13] He is known for his fashion, with unruly curly hair. [4] For his enthusiastic public appearances, he has been called "Ukraine's Jamie Oliver". [3]

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shaped his image as an ambassador defending Ukrainian culture. [13] He was one of the people featured in Time when it listed "Volodymyr Zelensky and the Spirit of Ukraine" as the 2022 Person of the Year. [24] [25]


  1. Also transliterated as Ievgen

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Borscht</span> Eastern European sour soup

Borscht is a sour soup, made with meat stock, vegetables and seasonings, common in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. In English, the word borscht is most often associated with the soup's variant of Ukrainian origin, made with red beetroots as one of the main ingredients, which give the dish its distinctive red color. The same name, however, is also used for a wide selection of sour-tasting soups without beetroots, such as sorrel-based green borscht, rye-based white borscht, and cabbage borscht.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jamie Oliver</span> English chef and restaurateur (born 1975)

Jamie Trevor Oliver MBE OSI is an English celebrity chef, restaurateur and cookbook author. He is known for his casual approach to cuisine, which has led him to front numerous television shows and open many restaurants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Russian cuisine</span> Culinary traditions of Russia

Russian cuisine is a collection of the different dishes and cooking traditions of the Russian people as well as a list of culinary products popular in Russia, with most names being known since pre-Soviet times, coming from all kinds of social circles.

A celebrity chef is a kitchen chef who has become a celebrity. Today, chefs often become celebrities by presenting cookery advice and demonstrations, usually through the media of television and radio, or in printed publications. While television is ultimately the primary way for a chef to become a celebrity, some have achieved this through success in the kitchen, cookbook publications, and achieving awards such as Michelin stars, while others are home cooks who won competitions. In South Korea, a celebrity chef is referred as a cheftainer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beef Stroganoff</span> Russian sautéed beef dish with sauce

Beef Stroganoff or beef Stroganov is a Russian dish of sautéed pieces of beef in a sauce of mustard and smetana. From its origins in mid-19th-century Tsarist Russia, it has become popular around the world, with considerable variation from the original recipe. Mushrooms are common in many variants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ukrainian cuisine</span> Culinary traditions of Ukraine

Ukrainian cuisine is the collection of the various cooking traditions of the people of Ukraine, one of the largest and most populous European countries. It is heavily influenced by the rich dark soil from which its ingredients come, and often involves many components. Traditional Ukrainian dishes often experience a complex heating process – "at first they are fried or boiled, and then stewed or baked. This is the most distinctive feature of Ukrainian cuisine".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pampushka</span> Ukrainian sweet or pastry

Pampúshka is a small savory or sweet yeast-raised bun or doughnut typical for Ukrainian cuisine.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chicken Kiev</span> Chicken dish associated with Russian and Ukrainian cuisines

Chicken Kiev, also known as chicken Kyiv, is a dish made of chicken fillet pounded and rolled around cold butter, then coated with egg and bread crumbs, and either fried or baked. Since fillets are often referred to as suprêmes in professional cookery, the dish is also called "suprême de volaille à la Kiev". Stuffed chicken breast is generally known in Russian and Ukrainian cuisines as côtelette de volaille. Though it has disputed origins, the dish is particularly popular in the post-Soviet states, as well as in several other countries of the former Eastern Bloc, and in the English-speaking world.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chef de cuisine</span> Manager of a kitchen

A chef de cuisine or head chef is a chef that leads a kitchen and its cooks. A chef patron or executive chef is a chef that manages multiple kitchens and their staff.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">José Andrés</span> Spanish-American chef

José Ramón Andrés Puerta is a Spanish and American chef and restaurateur. Born in Spain, he moved to the United States in the early 1990s and since then, he has opened restaurants in several American cities. He has won a number of awards, both for his cooking, and his humanitarian work. He is a professor as well as the founder of the Global Food Institute at George Washington University.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sorrel soup</span> Cold vegetable soup of Eastern Europe

Sorrel soup is made from water or broth, sorrel leaves, and salt. Varieties of the same soup include spinach, garden orache, chard, nettle, and occasionally dandelion, goutweed or ramsons, together with or instead of sorrel. It is known in Ashkenazi Jewish, Belarusian, Estonian, Hungarian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Romanian, Armenian, Polish, Russian and Ukrainian cuisines. Its other English names, spelled variously schav, shchav, shav, or shtshav, are borrowed from the Yiddish language, which in turn derives from Slavic languages, like for example Belarusian шчаўе, Russian and Ukrainian щавель, shchavel, Polish szczaw. The soup name comes ultimately from the Proto-Slavic ščаvĭ for sorrel. Due to its commonness as a soup in Eastern European cuisines, it is often called green borscht, as a cousin of the standard, reddish-purple beetroot borscht. In Russia, where shchi has been the staple soup, sorrel soup is also called green shchi. In old Russian cookbooks it was called simply green soup.

Ching-He Huang (Chinese: 黃瀞億; pinyin: Huáng Jìngyì; Wade–Giles: Huang2 Ching4-i4;, often known in English-language merely as Ching, is a Taiwanese-born British food writer and TV chef. She has appeared in a variety of television cooking programmes, and is the author of nine best-selling cookbooks. Ching is recognized as a foodie entrepreneur, having created her own food businesses. She has become known for Chinese cookery internationally through her TV programmes, books, noodle range, tableware range, and involvement in many campaigns and causes.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ettore Boiardi</span> Italian-American chef (1897–1985)

Ettore Boiardi, also known by the Anglicized name Hector Boyardee, was an Italian-American chef, famous for his eponymous brand of food products, named Chef Boyardee.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Teremok</span> Russian fast food chain

Teremok is a Russian fast food chain that primarily specialises in traditional Russian dishes such as blini, pelmeni, kvass and borscht. Founded in 1998 by Mikhail Goncharov, their menu was adapted from the recipes of Goncharov's mother.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chloe Coscarelli</span> American vegan chef

Chloe Kay Coscarelli is a vegan chef and author.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Culinary diplomacy</span> Type of cultural diplomacy

Culinary diplomacy, gastrodiplomacy or food diplomacy is a type of cultural diplomacy, which itself is a subset of public diplomacy. Its basic premise is that "the easiest way to win hearts and minds is through the stomach". Official government-sponsored culinary diplomacy programs have been established in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Lebanon, Peru, Israel, the United States, Cambodia, Japan, and Nordic countries.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hector Jimenez-Bravo</span> Colombian-Ukrainian chef

Héctor Ismael Jiménez-Bravo is a Colombian-born Canadian and Ukrainian chef, businessman, television presenter and culinary arts lecturer. He is currently based in Ukraine, holding Ukrainian citizenship and serving as a judge on shows such as MasterChef Ukraine, Ukraine's Got Talent. He is the founder of Bravo Restaurant Group Company and is a recipient of "The World Master Chef" award.

Olia Hercules is a London-based Ukrainian chef, food writer and food stylist. In response to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine she initiated a programme of fundraising, for individuals and for UNICEF.

Marianna Ihorivna Dushar is a Ukrainian anthropologist and food writer, who specialises in the culinary heritage of the Halychyna region in central Europe.

Cafe Ohlone, also called ‘oṭṭoy, is a restaurant in Berkeley, California at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology. It was founded by Ohlone chefs Louis Trevino and Vincent Medina as a pop-up in 2018, and as a semi-permanent café in 2022. It features a seasonal menu of California Indian cuisine and is the world's only Ohlone restaurant.


  1. "Клопотенко рассказал правду, почему до сих пор не женат в свои 36 (видео)". RBC Ukraine. Retrieved 10 July 2024.
  2. "Клопотенко знайомить з традиційною кухнею Вінниччини - 20 хвилин". (in Ukrainian). Retrieved 10 July 2024.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Steavenson, Wendell (16 April 2022). "In war-weary Ukraine, a hunt for the real meaning of borscht". Financial Times . Retrieved 11 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Hirsch, J. M. (26 February 2023). "Borsch without a 't': Kyiv chef uses food to reclaim culture". Associated Press . Retrieved 11 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Petrov, Volodymyr (1 September 2020). "Restaurateur tries to revolutionize Ukrainian food culture". Kyiv Post . Retrieved 11 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. 1 2 3 Baur, Joe (24 February 2023). "Vegetarian borsch with vushka (dumplings)". BBC Online . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  7. 1 2 Freeman, Colin (14 November 2022). "'It's like a World War Two movie': The Ukrainian MasterChef feeding visiting VIPs". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 Raczkiewycz, Mark (19 March 2023). "Ukraine's 'Borsch', a Movie more about Nation than Cuisine Makes it to Netflix". Kyiv Post . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Higgins, Charlotte (28 October 2022). "'It's my frontline and I won': the chef putting Ukrainian cuisine back on the map". The Guardian . Retrieved 11 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  10. 1 2 3 4 Hryniuk, Liudmyla (6 December 2021). "Ievgen Klopotenko, Ukraine's star chef". Ukrinform . Retrieved 11 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. "UNICEF and Ukraine's First Lady help teenagers adopt healthy eating habits" (Press release). UNICEF. 21 May 2024. Retrieved 14 June 2024.
  12. 1 2 3 Steafel, Eleanor (10 April 2022). "The Ukrainian MasterChef fighting Putin from his kitchen". The Daily Telegraph . Retrieved 14 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. 1 2 3 4 Williams, Holly (20 November 2022). "How Ukrainian chef Ievgen Klopotenko defends his country: With food". CBS News . Retrieved 11 June 2024.
  14. 1 2 3 4 Kassam, Ashifa (1 July 2022). "Ukrainian borscht recognised by Unesco with entry on to safeguarding list". The Guardian . Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  15. Stern, David L.; Dixon, Robyn (21 October 2020). "Ukraine seeks U.N. cultural status for beloved borscht. A culinary spat with Russia could be brewing". The Washington Post . Retrieved 12 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. Stall-Paquet, Caitlin (27 February 2023). "Borsch is a soup like no other: A chef travels across Ukraine to sample dozens of distinctive recipes". CBC Documentaries . Retrieved 13 June 2024.
  17. Campbell, Joseph (29 March 2022). "Ukrainian celebrity chef serves up free meals for refugees". Reuters . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. Fraser, Katie (12 January 2024). "Robinson serves up Klopotenko's celebration of Ukrainian food". The Bookseller . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  19. Raczkiewycz, Mark (30 April 2024). "Ukrainian Celebrity chef Kolopotenko releases second English-language recipe book". Kyiv Post . Retrieved 13 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. Jacobs, Barbara (15 April 2024). "The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef". Booklist . Vol. 120, no. 16. p. 4. EBSCOhost   176425526 via EBSCOhost.
  21. "The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef". Publishers Weekly . Vol. 271, no. 22. 3 June 2024. ProQuest   3062257100 via ProQuest.
  22. Charles, John (1 April 2024). "The Authentic Ukrainian Kitchen: Recipes from a Native Chef". Library Journal . Vol. 149, no. 4. p. 34. EBSCOhost   176135952 via EBSCOhost.
  23. "50 Next - Ievgen Klopotenko - Empowering Educators 2021". The World's 50 Best Restaurants . 2021.
  24. Vick, Karl; Serhan, Yasmeen (7 December 2022). "The Spirit of Ukraine". Time . Retrieved 14 June 2024.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. Radford, Antoinette (7 December 2022). "Volodymyr Zelensky is Time Magazine's 2022 Person of the Year". BBC News . Retrieved 14 June 2024.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)