Ukrainian celebrity chef Yevgen Klobotenko has clashed with Russia over Borsch soup, while also declaring that this popular dish of beetroot and cabbage is part of Kiev’s cultural heritage.
“I do not like the term Borsch War, but this is really the case,” said the 33-year-old young man, a graduate of the French cooking school “Le Cordon Bleu,” told AFP.
Dish in the Heritage List
The chef, who is popular on social media, took the soup inside a saucepan to a meeting at the Ministry of Culture in October to persuade it to propose the inclusion of this dish on UNESCO’s Intangible World Heritage List, which includes French gastronomy and pizza as made in Naples.
The ministry did not resist this offer, announcing the preparation of a file for UNESCO, which will close the door for nominations in March 2021. This initiative represented a blow to Russia, whose relations with Kiev had deteriorated to the lowest levels in seven years.
“Borsch is a national dish in several countries, including Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova and Lithuania,” the Russian ambassador to the United States wrote in a tweet. A short while later, the Russian government described Borsch as one of the most popular and delicious Russian dishes, on its official Twitter account.
According to the Ukrainian version, eaters bearing this name were mentioned for the first time in 1548, in the notes of a European traveler who bought a share of them in a market in Kiev, and this soup arrived in Russia at a later period with the arrival of the Ukrainians.
Ukraine, which was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, and whose large Russian population is proficient in Russia, remained largely within the political and cultural sphere of its powerful neighbor, even after the collapse of the Union in 1991.