Chocolatier and Sculptor: Meet Igor Melnikov, Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Moscow

Published on : Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Igor Melnikov has been appointed Pastry Chef at Four Seasons Hotel Moscow in 2021. For 15 years, Igor has been perfecting his confectionery skills, and has become an international chocolate expert, as well as a coach of the Russian national team of world skills in confectionery art acknowledged with a series of awards, including a bronze prize at the international competition World Chocolate Masters 2017.

A professional chocolatier, Igor Melnikov expertly handles chocolate, embodying it in an endless variety of shapes and flavours with the help of more than a dozen techniques, including airbrushing and 3D confectionery design. From 2018 to 2020, Igor worked for the international chocolate company Barry-Callebaut as a brand ambassador in Russia and the CIS for Callebaut and Cacao-Barry, and also regularly held numerous seminars together with the world champions of confectionery and chocolate art in France, Belgium and Greece.

Igor’s passion is impressive chocolate sculptures: from magical plants and fantasy figures to a real futuropolis, which earned him the winner’s title for the Best Chocolate Sculpture in Russia nomination according to the World Chocolate Masters. Igor Melnikov often shares the pictures of his sweet art objects on his personal page.

Essential elements for Igor in crafting desserts are: preserving the maximum taste of natural ingredients, as well as intertwining various textures and seasonal flavours. The new collection of desserts at Four Seasons Hotel Moscow presents all of them. Paris-Brest has become Igor’s masterdish – for a spin on a French classic, Igor Melnikov took a chocolatier’s approach: layers of custard dough and a whipped nut ganache crowned with Belgian chocolate lace, made even more heart-warming with a pour of hot cocoa. Also, Hotel guests can try: lemon saber with meringue and pineapple-bergamot sorbet, almond biscuit with berries and Greek yogurt, signature honey cake, chocolate-raspberry tart, pistachio dacquoise, mini-tatin with vanilla chantilly cream and other desserts.

Igor’s interest in the art of cooking originated from early childhood. As a kid, he used to help his family to create their favourite sweets: first, he went to pick wild berries in the forests of Kamchatka, and then with his mother and grandmother he prepared aromatic blackberry, blueberry and honeysuckle jam, homemade pies and puffs. He prepared his first dessert on his own at the age of 7 and then began to actively attend pastry workshops. And already at the age of 17, his dessert – a tartlet with a lemon curd – for the first time entered a restaurant menu.

For six years from 2013 to 2018, Igor worked in Vladivostok as a pastry chef in premium hotels and restaurants. He recalls with nostalgia the picturesque nature of the Primorsky Region, which was reflected both in his memories and dessert recipes. For example, he has made a form for one of his desserts out of a stone collected by him at the shores of Cape Tobizin.

Today Igor Melnikov is happy to devote his free time to exploring the Russian capital, and his favourite sites in Moscow are Tsaritsyno Park and Moscow City complex. “A new dessert recipe can sometimes be born in just 30 minutes, or it can take several weeks before other ideas come up. I am constantly discovering new textures and compositions, and I find my inspiration in art, architecture, surrounding nature, art houses and even graffiti,” says Igor Melnikov.

The first result of Igor’s Moscow journeys is a cake made of chocolate biscuit, sea buckthorn cream, apricot jam and decorated with pieces of gold leaf: inspired by the shape of the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral and dedicated to the 460th anniversary of this iconic landmark of Moscow.

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