Born in Moscow in 1959. Graduated from Moscow Law Academy. This diploma was followed by the diplomas of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and National Automated Clearing House (NACH) investment institute. Alexander Rappoport is one of Russia’s most prominent experts in the field of corporate law, and he has held top management positions in the leading investment banks in the US, including Auerbach Grayson, Robert Fleming, Inc., Chase Securities, JP Morgan Chase. In his current incarnation he is the managing partner of Rappoport and Partners law firm and the co-founder of Rappoport’s Restaurants holding. Alexander collects postage stamps and does a lot of charity work.

Restaurateur is one of the few professions that you cannot learn in school. Each restaurateur was brought to this career through a certain chain of events, and it’s different for everyone. I am a lawyer by education and career, and I was drawn into the restaurant business through my work and my passion. I always had a passion for cooking and feeding any bystander. My client Arkady Novikov was closely acquainted with this passion of mine. And when he closed the Biscuit restaurant and there was a certain creative pause, he suggested I become his partner and think about what should be done in Biscuit’s place. That’s how the Meat Club restaurant was born and my story in the restaurant industry began. Since then, I have opened quite a few restaurants, and I hope that I have learned some things about this business and about my place in it. There are many wonderful and successful restaurants that have no concept. The food is delicious, there is a certain atmosphere, but there is no concept. That’s not how I do it. I am about understanding the restaurant’s concept, building it, and bringing it to life. I really like restaurants with a short and graceful menu, just a page, five to ten items on each side. But that’s not how I work. I love abundance since childhood, and I try to bring it to life in one form or another in my restaurants, starting with the menu. People often chide us for having menus that are too long. I don’t understand such a reproach. If people had told me: “You know, your menu is so long, which is why you are unable to make many of the things on the menu tasty” — that I could understand. But if we manage to make the menu in a way that the guests like, there is nothing bad about a long menu. I like long menus, I cannot do short ones. I like glamorous restaurants, I like to make an impression. Whatever it is. Starting with the menu — how it looks, what it contains — and ending with the tastes as such, with the interiors. I like it when a restaurant has me saying “Wow!” Creating a calm interior and a calm menu — I guess that could be a good thing, but that’s not how I do it. There are certain things that I cannot do. Before, I would try anyway, but now I know that you should calm down and do the things that come out well. Polish the things that haven’t been finished. Stay in the niche that you chose for yourself. The only measure of a restaurant’s work is the financial performance. Is that good or bad? It’s probably not perfect. But there is no other measure. There is a story of a famous Russian lawyer Fedor Plevako. He has done an excellent job defending the case of one woman and she had asked him: “Mr. Plevako, how can I thank you?” To that, Plevako had answered: “Madame, since money has been invented, this question has become irrelevant.” I have known many people who said: “I don’t need any money, I have plenty as it is, I simply want a restaurant to bring me pleasure.” It’s not important for them whether they earn money or not. It doesn’t work that way. But here’s a catch: you can engage in any other business for money only. But to go into the restaurant business, you also need a certain passion. You really must love the food, the groceries, the cooking — it’s impossible otherwise. I never hid the fact that applause is very important to my ego. Sometimes, the applause is even more important that the financial performance, and my partners aren’t always happy about it, but they are pretty graceful, nonetheless. I call it the applause; you may call it the awards. They are important for emotions, they are important for the ego, they are important for the chef, and they are important for the restaurateur. If you work, it’s important to gain recognition. Plus, the awards — regardless of their objectivity — are a natural, organic restaurant marketing. But the most important thing in the restaurant business are not the good finances and the awards, but the taste. If you have everything else, but there is no taste in the restaurant, it’s a tragedy. The lack of taste is really a shame.

Guide restaurants with Alexander Rappoport participation