Masterchef S02 ep2 : Armen Petrossian, Restaurant Petrossian, [Paris]
Interview with Armen Petrossian
Petrossian bought these priceless Caviar pearls to the west after the Bolshevik revolution and simply continue to do so.
Petrossian: Petrossian is the most known brand in caviar in luxury food in the world.
Petrossian: When you buy caviar you buy the story, you buy a vision of the world. It’s so much an
icon of the must have, you cannot class it in the food, it’s something out of the food, it’s something
like nothing is like caviar.
Petrossian: My father and uncle started the business in 1920 and they have been the first ones to
present the caviar to France.
Petrossian: They escape the Armenian holocaust and they went in 1915 to Georgia in … but it was
part of Russia at that time, and after they went to Tavriz and then to Tehran and then to France and
why France they had learned French at home, at school, so they were speaking fluently French.
Petrossian: Was not only caviar, it was caviar plus the smoked salmon, the first smokery in France
was created by them, so they created a lot of import of other products so we had a huge business.
Petrossian: The first import they gave the money to the French Russian Embassy in cash and they
wait eight months to get their caviar and their confidence was so much that also they got an
exclusive right for practically 70 years.
Petrossian: When we started to do the business they went to see S… and he tasted the product and
he said oh, you know, it’s not bad I will try and help you but you know I don’t think that will be a
future for us.
Petrossian: My father he’d started his business without knowing anything about his way, it happens
that my mother, family, was in caviar for a hundred years.
Petrossian: The fish was in Russia was a special right given by the Tsar and this right was given to
only five families and one of these five was my mother’s family.
Petrossian: In 1815 there was a product called pressed caviar and this caviar was very salty, very,
very wealthy and people were starting to eat that, the first one to eat caviar according to books was
Ivan the Terrible, don’t forget at that time the caviar was salted around 13%, today we are
speaking about 3-4% which is a little, very little but at that time we’re speaking about the product
for preserving purpose, it has been obliged to be very, very salted.
Petrossian: When I was 18 I wanted to be a doctor, after that I thought to be in the banking
business, then in the economics, so when I get my diploma I was very proud and I came to my
father and I say yes, I will start with a bank, he said no, you will start in the shop. I say why, I will
learn you how to work he say, okay fine, let’s try it and you know he knew what he was doing. He
was giving me the poison in my blood, the caviar poison, the caviar passion so I started in the shop
and then, in this shop here and with my aunt at that time.
Petrossian: No one egg, of no one sturgeon is alike. Every one is different 90% of the people will
maybe not notice. Certainly there is the big difference like the fish by itself, the Beluga is one fish,
the … is another fish, the sevruga is the first fish and others you can, there is 27 species but only
six are commercialised now, so but each one of these fish types has his own characteristic, but
don’t in each of these one species then you have a lot of different levels of taste, of flavour, of
perfume and that’s the difficult part and that’s our business is how to sort it, how to age it, how to,
it’s like we are buying raw material and from this raw material we are making the Petrossian
Petrossian: I have been trained by my father and I train my sons, just to have this special taste
about the caviar and to be able to recognise where what, what is what and the evolution of the
caviar because what thing is very important is that the fisherman is doing his job, he’s taking the
caviar from the fish, he’s putting that in an original tin and for me it’s the wine bar, then you have
steps and these steps are practically an every day work because the evolution of the caviar cannot
be predicted, so one fish will make a special evolution so it’s like something like that going up and
down after, so you have to forecast, but it’s a forecast that you do in your taste, in your palate, you
see how it can be the evolution the aging process develops the aroma and over one period of time
it goes down so you have to make and all the caviars are different.
Petrossian: The evolution process can be anywhere from two months to eighteen months, the
average will be maybe eight, nine months. You can compare that to aging a meat or aging a wine.
Petrossian: The aromas are developed by the time and by the way they are kept. It’s not, you
cannot do that in your refrigerator because first you don’t know and second your refrigerator will
not do it at the right time, so it’s not only like this put that on the side and wait the time, it’s to
control it practically every week, to control the evolution of the caviar and see how these steps are
Petrossian: The people who are chic, who are, who know how to, will not eat the caviar like kilos
because it has no interest, the interest is to eat the caviar often and to eat the caviar in the good
Petrossian: I just will give you a small story that was related in the book of Mr Rubenstein who
was a pianist yes, he was very a lot of humour in this person, he knew very well my father and my
uncle and he one time he came in the shop, just in when it was the busy season, and he took a
blouse, white blouse you know like a waiter and he started serving caviar to customers. And a lot
of people even didn’t recognise him so he was serving and speaking with my father and just
serving caviar and one lady say, oh Master, you serving caviar and he said, oh yes, you know what,
I don’t gain enough money with playing piano, I have to work a little.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Armen Petrossian, Restaurant Petrossian, [Paris]