Tbilisi Hills Restaurant Latvian Chef Arthur Linkevich on New Collaboration & Future Plans

Tbilisi Hills Restaurant, one of the most popular eateries in the city, has a new chef, Arthur Linkevich, from Latvia, promising even more exciting and varied dishes for its guests.

Arthur has impressive and long-term experience in the kitchen, helped by his innovative spirit and ability to create distinguished dishes every day.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to the Tbilisi Hills Restaurant chef to find out more.

Food enthusiasts in Georgia will be glad to hear about a new experienced chef like you at Tbilisi Hills Restaurant. Tell us about your background.

After three years of culinary college, I moved to capital of Latvia, Riga, and got straight into fine dining level restaurants. In my second year I was accepted at the best restaurant in Latvia: Restaurant Vincents, Chef Martins Ritins. I spent almost two years there and decided to go higher and bigger.

A friend of mine invited me to England to a classic local steak restaurant, but it wasn’t for me, and after 6 months of heating spinach in the microwave and cutting 30KG potatoes every day for French Fries, I started to look for Michelin restaurants online. I got the offer to work in a two-Michelin star restaurant in Marlow, the UK, with chef Tom Kerridge. And there began the long journey of my work in Michelin restaurants. The English weather wasn’t for me and soon I moved to the south of France to another restaurant with stars.

The last 5 years in France I spent in top restaurants on the south coast which had been awarded 1, 2 and 3 Michelin stars, and I had the chance to work with great chefs like Christophe Dufau, Ronan Kervarrec, Arnaud Faye, Jean-Remi Caillon, Jerome Fitour and Arnaud Donckele, who was awarded Chef of the World in 2019.

What made you become a chef? What does this profession mean to you?

It may sound corny, but since I was a little boy I loved to cook. And I spent days with my mum and grandmother in the kitchen cooking.

After joining a proper kitchen, I realized that more than just cooking, I love all the rest of the kitchen life too: the busy service, adrenaline rush, angry chef that reminds you of an American general from the movies, who is asking you to give the best you can give him like its your last service.

And when the service is done and the chef praises you and all the guests are happy, and you can say it was a good day and you gave great service, nothing could be better.

How did your collaboration with Tbilisi Hills start? What changes did it bring to your life?

My collaboration came by coincidence, because after years in France, my wife and I decided to spend some time in my home town, and when I got another good offer for work, COVID changed the plan and we got stuck there. After the first wave of Covid, I opened a fine dining restaurant in my town and enjoyed a good summer season. And then came the second wave and slowly all the tourists started to disappear. I realized the season was over and I needed to do something. At that moment along came my friend offering me Tbilisi Hills. And two weeks later, I was here.

It hasn’t changed anything in my life because the Georgian nature is like in France, and I adapt really quickly to new places, so I feel like I’ve lived here for years. The people are amazing and open-minded here. I’m really enjoying Georgia, and I think we’ll be here a while yet.

Give us your impressions about Tbilisi Hills Restaurant. What distinguishes it from other similar profile facilities?

Like I said earlier, I adapt really quickly, and for me it’s just another challenge. The people here help me in all my needs and it’s one big joy to be here.

The kitchen boasts high level equipment and creative-strong cooks to create new tastes and food journeys for our guests, and the restaurant has good management and good front house workers who enjoy their jobs.

What kind of menu awaits visitors to the Restaurant? Do you have a signature dish?

I’m working on new menu with my new team, and I’ve already made some changes. By end of the month, we’ll have changed it completely. I’m lucky my cooks have some knowledge of European cuisine, and I’m teaching them new techniques and sharing my experience with them.

Each of the dishes on the menu will be signature dishes, because I will mostly use Georgian local products and transfer them into French-English cuisine… Step by step, I’m trying to taste new products and find alternatives to European ingredients, for example classic capers in beef tartare replaced with jonjoli.

Have you tasted Georgian dishes? What are your impressions about the local cuisine?

Me and my wife love to try new food. She’s my assistant and kind of a restaurateur. If I make a new dish, she has to be the first to try it; if she can’t try it at least she helps me with dish presentation and tells me how it looks. So every single day off, we try to go to local restaurants and try new tastes. And lots of them are really good. The most delicious dishes are simply made, and the best is always simple.

What are your future plans related to working here in Georgia, along with the Tbilisi Hills team?

All my youth, I spent traveling and exploring new places, even when I met my wife and our little boy was born, we continued traveling and changing homes. And after thousands and thousands of kilometers driven by car and flown by plane, we decided to find a new home and settle down for longer.

And Georgia is a great country to start a new chapter in. And I’m very lucky to be in a big project like Tbilisi Hills, with its ideas and plans we can do great things!

26 November 2020 19:40