30 January 2019

People say every morning starts with a cup of coffee. Sometimes it begins with cooking classes for the participants of  St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy 2019. On Wednesday, January 30, Aryna Sabalenka and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova as true housewives donned aprons and toques to cook pelmeni (Russian dumplings with meat) and vareniki (Russian dumplings with cottage cheese) at the popular restaurant by Ginza Project «Mansarda» with a splendid view on St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

«I think when I come home I will say: “Let’s cook dumplings”, – said Aryna Sabalenka looking at the table set for the cooking class. Alexander Monakhov, the chef of the restaurant “Katusha” started his class from the enigmatic history of the meal mentioning there are lots of Russian families with their own cooking recipes of dumplings. Actually, the cooking process unites people. There was a nice and friendly atmosphere at the culinary master-class. Everyone was rolling out the dough, putting the filling inside and then molded the dumpling to the tune of jokes and wits. It was obvious from the outset true cooking pros were working on those Russian pelmeni as they were keen to stick religiously to the recipe. Both girls would ask the chef every now and then whether the dough they made was thin enough. And Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova also got some advice from her mother who also took part in that master-class and was also making dumplings praising her daughter occasionally for her superb cooking skills.

After two big trays were filled with pelmeni and vareniki the tennis players went to the kitchen to boil them up. It was obvious none of the girls has ever been to a professional kitchen before and yet they didn’t look lost and attacked their cooking in style. After boiling the dumplings for a couple of minutes the two apprentices served the dumplings for us all to sample. The correspondent of the tournament press-service was also lucky to try the dumplings chez Aryna Sabalenka and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. Finger-licking good!

“My impressions are great. First of all, it was very funny to cook together with Aryna [Sabalenka] and secondly it don’t get to cook too often myself as I travel a lot and mostly stay at hotels. Maybe I will use this recipe in the future as I like cooking.  I think it is a very creative process.  I always do it thoughtfully and soulfully”, – Anastasia said after the cooking class. And added that when she recently came from Australia she cooked Russian cottage-cheese based syrniki and occasionally would also bake an apple pie.  When Nastya was asked to compare her favorite sport with a meal, she began to speak in metaphors: “Tennis is like spaghetti Bolognese as you have to eat it using a spoon rolling the spaghetti which takes you long… It is also the case with a  tennis match. Sometimes you can eat everything fast, sometimes – not really…Everything depends on you”.

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