Sven Elverfeld, with 3 Michelin Stars, belongs to the kings of the kitchen
“It infuriates me when a bad chef gets their hands on perfect product, which is unfortunately often the case today.”
Awarded with three Michelin stars, Sven Elverfeld is one of the kings of the stove – and one of the few who have a lot of staying power, because in 2018 this is the 10th time that the Aqua restaurant in Wolfsburg has received this highest of all awards. As time goes by, 3 stars are becoming a bit normal and a touch of routine.
Do you enjoy the award the same way you did when you earned your first star?
Every honor from the Michelin Guide is a great and emotional moment. The first star was certainly a milestone, because I was nobody, “an unwritten piece of paper” just when I had applied for the restaurant Aqua in Wolfsburg.
Was the “unwritten piece of paper” ambitious?
Ha – of course yes! In my head it was all clear and set up: there has to be a star. – But I didn’t mention that in my application at that time.
The first star came. Does that make a Chef addicted to stars?
My absolute personal career goal was one star. The recognition increases the desire to cook and I felt free to experiment, which was obviously crowned with success. But all other stars after the first one were not earned by the same motivation.
We are often at events where highly decorated guest chefs are on site. In our case, it was an event with you and Thomas Kellermann, who at that time had a star with the restaurant at Burg Wernberg. To be honest with you, it is not always very clear to food enthusiasts the “why, who and how” in regards to the star process.
I agree with you: some decisions are not objectively explainable. Well, guests decide with their subjective opinion and their personal taste, what they like and what they do not like. Stars can pique curiosity, but when and in which way you satisfy a guest is a completely different matter, every guest comes with a different taste.
Let’s take a quick look at the gourmet menu with Thomas Kellermann – could he surprise you with something?
Sure Thomas often surprises me. At the event you’re talking about it was the cherries served with the deer. Food pairing of the very highest quality.
The deer was indeed excellent!
It was of the highest quality, the supplier was very well selected. In addition, the cooking time was right. The entire handling of the meat was just perfect. For example, it infuriates me when a bad chef gets their hands on perfect product, which is unfortunately often the case today.
You mean, we all talk way too much about products, regionality and sustainability and then missing the last crucial point?
Yes definitely, the kitchen is the place where the mistakes happen. Especially if an inexperienced chef thinks the right piece of meat will do it. Wrong cut, improperly prepared, carelessly combined – a great product quickly turns into a culinary catastrophe.
Do good Chefs need their own personal suppliers?
Of course, that is indispensable for top gastronomy. I have my own hunter and also many producers who provide and deliver exactly the quality that I want and I need. But that is a process you grow together, in a professional way especially when you follow the same idea of quality. That kind of relationship does not come overnight.
Nowadays a top chef has to be open for everything and at least try. Is there a culinary ‘no go’ for you?
Kidneys. Not because I don’t like them, more because there are just a few chefs that know that kidneys have to be put in milk beforehand. So that’s a dish I would never order if it’s on the menu.
Did you learn pastry – are desserts your passion?
Pastry chef and cook, firstoff. But to come back to your question: every dish is my passion and gets all of my attention. As a pastry chef you learn to work very filigree. That is the reason why my plates look like they look today.
If you look at some chefs it seems that the media presence is larger than the competence.
I am sure that in the 2 to 3 star category, guests will no longer relieve the chef of a constant presence in the media and neither reward nor approve of it.
One last and very personal question: what food could a woman seduce you with?
It just has to be good, and then the product on the plate is minor matter. Salad, Pasta, Meat, Fish. Above all, it is more important to me that my partner has a passion for food. Someone who chews the whole evening on only a lettuce leaf, well no, that wouldn’t work for me.
Thank you very much, Sven!