Alena Kabetkina

Three adjectives to define yourself.
Curious, thoughtful and unsatisfied.


Your favourite dish, both Russian and Italian.
Russian: it is syrniki, a sort of pancakes made with a tvorog, a specific milk product, close to very young fresh cheeses, but it stays on a more acidic side. It is a typical breakfast meal, served with smetana (sour cream) and varenie (jam but with big chunks of fruits or berries). It is typical comfort food and my mom makes the best syrniki in the world.
Italian: stuffed Fiori di Zucca. Very simple, very clean flavour, doesn’t need any spices or sauces. But I love strong flavours as well, such as a combination of acciughe e burrata.


What did the experience at ALMA represent for you? What is ALMA for you?
ALMA is the people creating a warm atmosphere. For me, ALMA and its community are the third home and the third family. It was great to spend this significant period of life together with fellow students: the diversity of our international group made of people with different background and mentality and the feeling of a team significantly supported us. I miss the girls, and our one guy and Ludovica, the assistant, who helped us to build the team and made every day better.
Aside from skills and techniques, I have learned a lot about myself. By the end of the program, I found myself more confident, concentrated and even more purposeful than the first day we entered the lab door.


Why would you recommend ALMA?
ALMA is a great place to take the next career step. Our group was taught by three different chefs: every week we were working on one kind of pastry products, such as modern cakes, bread, gelato, etc. Thus, we have got an opportunity to acquire various points of view and techniques, and figure out which kind of pastry we prefer to work with. However, the in-school period is not only about techniques and recipes but also about delving into the Italian culture and traditions to understand better the gastronomy.

Next, the personal approach: the student office, professors and chefs respect the personality of the students and do their best to find the perfect place for the stage. Last, but not least, I love the library. It is a perfect place to find some inspiration.


Tell us about your stage experience with the Alajmo family.
I was honoured to have my stage with chef Massimiliano Alajmo at his three Michelin restaurant Le Calandre. The restaurant is famous for the chef’s cuisine style, and working with Massimiliano’s desserts changed my mind. The combinations of ingredients and techniques are truly unique, the final result is always outstanding, elegant and flavourful. In the end, all the hours and burns were generously rewarded with the skills and knowledge. I left the restaurant highly impressed by the culinary talent of the chef and inspired by his team, I’d rather say the family. It would be difficult to go through intensive working days without being supported by every single person in the kitchen and the chef. Before the beginning of the stage, I was nervous and afraid of mistakes and imperfectness, those are unacceptable in the three-starred restaurant. The chef and Le Calandre team made me feel comfortable and confident even during the busiest days and services.


What do you recommend to a pastry chef who graduates from ALMA and would like to enter into this world?
Well, I did not graduate for so long ago, but I strongly believe we all should believe in ourselves. If you take it seriously there is not a space for doubts. As well, anything is impossible for a patient and passionate person. Next, it is not a good idea to take seriously people who try to break you down. I have heard a lot of offensive stuff from my older relatives and people who think I am too sensitive, too unexperienced, too whatever but I have never really listened to them. This kind of opinion can but it also makes you stronger. In the end, the only thing that matters is your goal, so believe in yourself and do what you want to do. This last piece of advice was given to me by one of the school chefs, and it works perfectly!

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