July 02, 2021

From MMA to Crème Brûlée


From MMA to Crème Brûlée
Cheesecake is becoming an increasingly popular dessert in Russia.  Photo by Chinh Le Duc via Unsplash

In 2020, MMA fighter and ex-police officer Azamat Kabaloev was training full time with ambitions to rise to the top of his sport, then a knee ligament injury put this dream on pause and forced him to find an alternate occupation while he focused on healing. In an interview with the website, "This is the Caucasus," Kabaloev recounts how his journey from the MMA octagon to the kitchen counter.

Kabaloev has always enjoyed cooking, especially as a professional athlete, and he took a particular interest in the foods he prepared and ate, to make sure that he was giving his body the proper nutrition it needed to perform. When he was unable to train, he needed something to do and decided to take up baking as a form of entertainment and as a mental challenge.

He fell into cheesecakes as his craft of choice, both because they are a relatively healthy dessert and can also be complicated to create. He looked up recipes on YouTube and began to experiment. When friends and family encouraged him to sell his incredible homemade cheesecakes, he approached a local coffee shop and created a partnership.

He calls his confectionary business "New York Cheesecake," but insists that the focus is not on making a profit, but on sharing healthy, high-quality, and low-cost food with others. In the future, his goals include developing a unique cheesecake recipe, opening a cheesecake coffee shop, and, of course, getting back into MMA fighting when he is fully healed.

You Might Also Like

A Celebratory Cake
  • May 01, 2020

A Celebratory Cake

А фestive Napoleon Cake that is plenty complex to offer lots of stress baking relief.
An Immigrant's Story, with Cake
  • November 25, 2020

An Immigrant's Story, with Cake

Polina Chesnakova's family moved from Russia to Georgia, then from Georgia to Ukraine, and to the US. A cookbook author and cooking instructor, Chesnakova keeps her family traditions alive through cooking and baking, and inspiring others.
Milk Foam Pancakes is Only the Beginning
  • April 07, 2021

Milk Foam Pancakes is Only the Beginning

Traditional Yakut meals get a second chance thanks to local museum. Tuyara, museum employee and part of the program to bring back these recipes, shares her story.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
Jews in Service to the Tsar

Jews in Service to the Tsar

Benjamin Disraeli advised, “Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” With Jews in Service to the Tsar, Lev Berdnikov offers us 28 biographies spanning five centuries of Russian Jewish history, and each portrait opens a new window onto the history of Eastern Europe’s Jews, illuminating dark corners and challenging widely-held conceptions about the role of Jews in Russian history.
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

Life Stories: Original Fiction By Russian Authors

The Life Stories collection is a nice introduction to contemporary Russian fiction: many of the 19 authors featured here have won major Russian literary prizes and/or become bestsellers. These are life-affirming stories of love, family, hope, rebirth, mystery and imagination, masterfully translated by some of the best Russian-English translators working today. The selections reassert the power of Russian literature to affect readers of all cultures in profound and lasting ways. Best of all, 100% of the profits from the sale of this book are going to benefit Russian hospice—not-for-profit care for fellow human beings who are nearing the end of their own life stories.
Marooned in Moscow

Marooned in Moscow

This gripping autobiography plays out against the backdrop of Russia's bloody Civil War, and was one of the first Western eyewitness accounts of life in post-revolutionary Russia. Marooned in Moscow provides a fascinating account of one woman's entry into war-torn Russia in early 1920, first-person impressions of many in the top Soviet leadership, and accounts of the author's increasingly dangerous work as a journalist and spy, to say nothing of her work on behalf of prisoners, her two arrests, and her eventual ten-month-long imprisonment, including in the infamous Lubyanka prison. It is a veritable encyclopedia of life in Russia in the early 1920s.
Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
PO Box 567
Montpelier VT 05601-0567

802-223-4955