June 02, 2012
A gathering of Michelin-starred superstars in Wolfsburg shows off the new German cuisine
It shouldn't come as a surprise that the annual gathering of Germany's greatest chefs takes place in the shadows of a car-manufacturing complex. The Volkswagen power plant, a brick structure breathtaking in its rough romanticism, is directly visible from the window of Sven Elverfeld's kitchen, which is the kitchen of the Michelin-three-starred Aqua Restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg. Since 2000, when he became Aqua's chef de cuisine, Elverfeld has invited a select group of fellow chefs to participate in his autumn "kitchen party," an informal name for what has become one of the culinary events of the year. Its ascent mirrors the progression of German cooking over the past decade and the arrival of the Neue Deutsche Schule, the new school of young German chefs who turned away from the formality of French cooking, and the excesses of Spanish modernist techniques, to examine their own heritage. The new-school cuisine isn't purely German, though it might playfully reference such old-school staples as sausage, sauerkraut and spaetzle. Its ingredients are both local and international, but at its core is a sensibility and technique that is quintessentially Germanic: precise, creative and unflamboyantly excellent.
For the 250 diners who are lucky enough to get reservations, the kitchen party is an opportunity to not only meet Germany's greatest chefs, but to hang out in the kitchen, look over chefs' shoulders and, if they are brave enough, offer some advice from their own cooking experience. For the chefs, it's a chance to share camaraderie while also quietly checking out the competition. …
Click here to read more in the Summer 2012 issue of The Ritz-Carlton Magazine