The Spanish avant-garde – the golden generation

No one has had such a lasting influence on the world of cuisine as the first generation of great Spanish chefs: men such as Arzak, Berasategui, Roca and above all Adrià. The new generation are on par with them. They are setting trends, inspiring others and are being imitated. Their most important representatives are to appear at this year’s CHEF-SACHE. They are friends, they take a similar ecological and regional approach to cooking and they belong to the golden generation of chefs from the 1970s. Quique Dacosta, born in 1972, Eneko Atxa, 1977, René Redzepi, 1977, Virgilio Martinez, 1977, Mauro Colagreco, 1976 and also Kevin Fehling, 1977.

Trip to Tomorrowland

Quique Dacosta, Spain
No. 41 / 50 Best, ★★★
From his restaurant’s roof terrace in Dénia you can look over the fertile coastline, the nearby hills and the blue Mediterranean Sea. 95 percent of all products that are used in the kitchen come from the region of this surrounding panorama. Octopus arms dangle on a clothes line, drying in the sun. The local fish market supplies the legendary red prawns and rice cultivated on marshy fields. And it is in this restaurant, once known as “El Poblet”, that the career of the wonderfully gifted chef also began. The kitchen boy that worked his way up to become owner and world-class chef. Today the restaurant bears his name. El Poblet was reborn, in nearby Valencia where Dacosta also manages two bars in addition to this restaurant. Visually, Dacosta’s dishes are simple. Upon tasting, however, unimagined depths and often a play with unexpected flavours are revealed. His current, grand set menu “Tomorrowland” comprises almost 30 elements and is flawless signature cuisine, without any similarities to the dishes of other chefs.
See article number THIRTY in Port Culinaire

The new Basque revolution

Eneko Atxa, Azurmendi, Spain
No. 26 / 50 Best, ★★★
As a newcomer to the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, Eneko Atxa sprang straight to 26th place and also received the “sustainability prize”. And for good reason. That’s because the whole concept of his restaurant is organic. The grand hilltop crystal palace captures almost all the scenery of the Basque region. Regional materials can also be found inside. Wood, stone and steel – the latter as a homage to nearby industrial Bilbao. It’s geothermally heated; the sun provides the energy. Situated on the roof is a greenhouse, and in front is a garden – a reflection of the agricultural produce. With a glass of Cava, the guest takes a leisurely stroll before the meal and finds the first culinary delights in the greenhouse. And thus the stage is marvellously set. In the huge kitchen – the heart of life here just as in a Basque farmhouse – Eneko experiments with revolutionary and innovative techniques. He plays around with different methods and temperatures, without ever forgetting his heritage and its produce.
See article number TWENTY-FOUR in Port Culinaire

New Andes cuisine, an unrelenting ascent.

Virgilio Martínez, Central, Peru
No. 15 / 50 Best, ★★
This year, with 35 steps forwards, the main restaurant was named “the highest climber” in the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Martínez thereby overtook the legendary “Astrid y Gaston” by Acurio with regard to the critics’ favour and now forms the pinnacle of new Peruvian cuisine. Whilst Gaston Acurio takes a predominantly European approach, Martínez seeks authenticity with his country. As persistently as no other, he researches the biodiversity of his country together with scientists in his Mater Project and makes typical, native American dishes available to his metropolitan guests. This results in the extraordinary being served. The dry coast of the Pacific provides blue and red maize, marimo that grows in damp grass or mountain shrimp and fish from the rain forest of the Amazon basin that look like they come from another planet. The menu comprises delicacies like these. It follows the geography of the country, where each course represents a particular region. Such ideas could definitely be applied in our countries too.
See article number TWENTY-NINE in Port Culinaire

The case for the uncomplicated

Mauro Colagreco, Mirazur, France
No. 11 / 50 Best, ★★
Mauro is an Argentinian by birth, with unmistakable Italian roots. His wife is from Brazil. He came to France to expand upon his cooking techniques. Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse became his mentors. He is now a restaurateur in his own right. On the Côte d’Azur, just a stone’s throw away from the border with the Italian Riviera, spread over three tiers, his restaurant nestles atop a hill overlooking the blue sea and offers a breath-taking view of the coast. These are precisely the surroundings that give distinction to Mauro’s style. He never wanted to do Argentinian cuisine. The emphasis in his menus rests on what the nearby ocean has to offer and what the gardens of the region provide. Fruit and vegetables flourish in a special microclimate. Nowhere else in France it is warmer, and the neighbouring Mediterranean Alps supply plenty of fresh water. Much comes from Mauro’s enchanted garden, where local fruits or crops grow on stone terraces, exotic plants brought back from the chef’s travels. Everything arrives fresh each day and as little as possible changes on the plate. Product variation –cooked, fried, sweetened or made crunchy – you won’t find that at Mauro’s. His cuisine is to be uncomplicated and the actual flavour of the food is given centre stage.
See article number THIRTY-ONE in Port Culinaire

Harsh, mellow, natural

Kobe Desramaults, In de Wulf, Belgien
No. 1 OAD Liste 50 Best of Europe, ★★
In the land of wolves and hares, and in the heart of the expansive, lonely fields of Belgium close to the French border lies the country’s most uncompromising avant-garde restaurant. Here you’ll encounter a gastronomic concept that holds great, revolutionary potential. In “In de Wulf” everything is different. The dining area here is missing the conventional luxury of other gourmet restaurants. Simple wooden tables set without fine table linen and wooden flooring underfoot. Outside, a beautiful rural garden with an oven. The guests are served in a befitting modern-rustic manner. From this, the style of the cuisine may be discerned. Kobe consistently adheres to the Nova Regio philosophy and puts it into practice in a minimalistic form. Pork rind chips with bacon, served on jute, celeriac in a baked salt crust or pain brûlé, maroilles – a baked bread with maroilles cheese. “Our cuisine is sometimes harsh, sometimes mellow, but always natural”, says the young, 34-year-old chef whilst describing his own work.
See article number TWENTY-FOUR in Port Culinaire

From nature to high-energy cuisine

Jonnie Boer, Librije, Netherlands
No. 29 / 50 Best, ★★★ / ★★
To fully understand Jonnie’s cuisine, you need to have traversed the watery landscape around his hometown Giethoorn with him. Here an outdoorsman shows his in-depth knowledge of the local flora and fauna. From the boat, he rummages around in the marshes, collecting all sorts of plants and roots for his kitchen. Together with other regional produce, they form the core of the distinctive Boer style. In his greenhouse he cultivates wild plants and various vegetables. The fermented and attenuated concoction of which creates the aromatic foundation for many dishes. Jonnie Boer is one of the great pioneers of the much-hyped fermentation technique today.
“Many colleagues after achieving their third star continue to cook as they did before, they simply aim to maintain the standard they’ve achieved. I also attempted to do that for two years, just to earn money. But then I realised I wanted more. I always want to achieve new feats!”, says Jonnie Boer whilst explaining his motivation to create striking new dishes. Another Jonnie emerges in the famous, open kitchen with the chef’s table in the basement of the time-honoured Librije monastery. Hard rock accompanies the work. High energy cooking is called for. Another facet is the entrepreneurial spirit that Jonnie and his wife Thérèse show time and again. In addition to Librije, they run a shop, a hotel with a second restaurant and are also responsible – as of spring 2014 – for food and drinks at the new Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam. Last but not least, they are also organising CHEFS®EVOLUTION with Port Culinaire.
See article number NINETEEN in Port Culinaire

The green wonder of the world

Andree Köthe,
Essigbrätlein, Germany★★★
“Finally!”, a ripple of voices murmured throughout social media as we announced that Andree Köthe would take the stage at CHEF-SACHE. In Essigbrätlein, one acts humble and reserved. For a long while there was no homepage and the restaurant was missing the usual “bells and whistles” of other top establishments. Even the historic building in the old part of Nuremberg did nothing to reveal the incredibly innovative cuisine with its particular focus on vegetables that is served to guests. Nothing comparable can be found anywhere else in the world. Behind this are two excellent chefs that have been working as a team for a good 17 years, Andree Köthe and Yves Ollech. The Essigbrätlein’s vegetable dishes have two focuses of research.
Firstly, they are engaged with rediscovering forgotten ingredients like the sweet pea. And secondly, they are also exploring the parts of common vegetables that normally go to waste. Hence, they use the large leaves of Brussels sprouts, not the leaf buds (florets), or also the stems of romanesco broccoli. A kitchen with virtually no waste. How wonderful!
See article number TWENTY-EIGHT in Port Culinaire

The intention to create perfection

Joachim Wissler, Vendôme, Germany
No. 12 / 50 Best, ★★★
On Joachim Wissler’s homepage you can find the following principles: Creativity – the drive behind all thoughts and attempts to change things. Flawlessness – the attempt to create perfection. Willingness to experiment – the courage and freedom to attempt things that only become meaningful after being completed. Curiosity – the persistence to learn, experience and understand new things. Authenticity – distinctiveness and clarity as the most important criteria for both the new and the tried and tested. Tradition – the preservation of knowledge as the foundation for the future.
These statements perfectly describe Wissler’s work and philosophy. And they are realised in his grand, gourmet menus, which can surprise even the most frequent Vendôme guest from time to time.
See article number TWELVE in Port Culinaire

Exceptional talent

Christian Hümbs,
Pâtissier des Jahres 2014
Haerlin, Germany, ★★
For many gastronomy critics, he is the most talented of young pâtissiers. Together with Sebastian Zier at Restaurant La Mer on the island of Sylt, they form the legendary top duo who have earned two Michelin stars and a whole host of other awards in an impressively short space of time. His aromatic menu broadens the pâtisserie across all courses. It includes his great, innovative contribution to the new pâtisserie, moving in part away from the sweet, creating a savoury and salty ensemble. From herbal notes through to rustic and seasoned flavours, here everything is possible. Hümbs’ creations tell a story and bring up experiences. They tell of seasons or of a stroll through the green landscape. And they do this with great depth and copious layers of tastes and flavours in each course.
Hümbs is currently working as chef pâtissier at Haerlin the gourmet restaurant in the Hamburg hotel Vier Jahreszeiten, together with chef Christoph Rüffler. And Haerlin is now a candidate for a third Michelin star.
See article number TWENTY-FIVE in Port Culinaire

What the hell is networking?

Discussion with talk host Ralf Bos
If you take a closer look at the success of internationally renowned restaurants, it becomes clear that elaborate strategies in marketing management have had a role to play. As well as teamwork among friendly chefs and active media relations. When a chef like Gaston Acurio posts on Facebook, he soon gets several thousand likes. The rise of whole regions recently can also be traced back to the formation of clusters in media technology. “New Nordic Cuisine” or “Cocina Novoandina” are good examples. Now, what role does networking play in the success of a restaurant or the restaurants of a given region? What tools can be used effectively? What is the role of social media, conventional media or bloggers? The popular entrepreneur and food scout Ralf Bos discusses these questions together with his guests Prof. Dr. Ingo Scheuermann, Thomas Bühner and Sebastian Wussler.