What are the constant and changing elements of German cuisine
Before Günter Rönner was the executive chef at restaurants Korff and PUR he already had 10 years under his belt running the kitchen at akazienhof in Duisburg and had gained nationwide attention. There he attained 16 Gault Millau points, 3.5 F in Feinschmecker and was counted among the top 250 restaurants in Germany.
How would you describe your cooking style and the philosophy behind it? Do you have a motto?
I cook a modern German cuisine. I cook with sustainability in mind. My philosophy is: “I want my dishes to affect and move my guests.” I want the clientele to take a journey with my food and leave the day-to-day behind them.
Which easy recipe could you outline (ingredients, method), that represent your work that are users should try out?
- Red Perch / Fennel / Sour Cream
- Fennel in slices and sauteed
- Fennel sliced thin and marinated for a salad
- Mix the green fennel tops with sour cream and season with salt and cayenne pepper
- Sear and cook the Perch serving it with a saffron beurre blanc
Which of your latest creations would you like to share with us?
Black-feathered chicken with chanterelle mushrooms and smoked Foie gras.
Which current trends do you see in today’s culinary world? Do they affect your work your inspire you in certain ways?
I definitely get some inspiration from new trends but I always have a focus on my own style.
What would you do as a chef if money were not an issue for a whole year?
My own restaurant, with product sustainability as the focus.
If you were to write a cookbook, what would it be about?
How did you start off as a chef? Did you attend a formal school?
I got my start in cooking because my father had told my that everyone needs to eat so being a cook has great job security. 🙂 I quickly realized it was the job for me.
What will you never forget from your first year as a chef?
Nothing that stands out, everything I experienced was very intense.
A lot of careers start with very hard times, where sometimes people think about giving up. Was there such a moment in your career, and if so how did you overcome that? What would you do differently today?
There are always moments where you think about if everything is going in the right direction…? The vibe in the kitchen, the working hours, and the relatively low pay in the beginning. I overcame those moments and still persevere when I see how creative you can be in this line of work and the appreciation I get from my guests. I wouldn’t do much differently, outside of falling for false promises of potential employers which has happened twice.
Which situations helped you the most in your development as a chef?
My first jobs in star-level gastronomie, especially working together with my kitchen chef (2-stars) in the Rist. Da Gianni Wolfgang Staudenmeier.
What are the best and worst aspects about cooking professionally? In what ways does the job change you as a person?
Pro: The creativity, the feedback from the guests, working with wonderful products and accomplishing a lot throughout your workday.
Contra: Low pay starting out and the working hours.
To be a chef, do you ever find out it’s a blessing or a curse? What do people often totally get wrong about the job of a chef?
That is the best thing about the job, learning new things, so… blessing!!!
There is the idea that the job is extremely hard to the point of life-depriving, or on the other hand it’s so easy they can just do the same at home.
What does your work mean to you and what advice can you share to the younger generation thinking about becoming chefs?
For me, my job is a “calling” and there is nothing more beautiful than that. For the younger generation I’d say: You will rarely find a job more creative and exciting than the job as a chef.
What is the make-up of modern German cuisine? Which ingredients, recipes and techniques show the soul of your work?
Modern German cuisine has a focus on regional and local as foundational blocks for its dishes with a light and modern interpretation i.e. taking classical German dishes and reimagining them. A perfect example: Sven Elverfeld, Tafelspitz (Boiled Top Round) from Müritz lamb served with Frankfurter green sauce, potatoes and boiled eggs. Here I definitely see these techniques in the background.
How were chefs seen throughout society in earlier times and how does it differ to the current situation?
German chefs weren’t very known earlier, but that has changed due to advantages that came about (thanks also to T.V. cooking shows that I don’t like very much). The view of cooks was pretty bad earlier in the community. I was just laughed at for my career choice in the early eighties for thinking of learning something like that. Today, you can get a lot of exposure media and social media, and when we started getting our first Star chefs (Witzigmann etc.) you started to see a shift in public perception for the better.
What are the constant and changing elements of the German cuisine?
The foods we work with are a constant in the German cuisine. The approach to the dishes are the changing element.
Not just other cultures but also new and alternative ingredients influence the cuisine of a country. Which ingredients influence the German cuisine?
We see a direction moving heavily towards ingredients straight from nature. More and more we see chefs becoming closer with nature (which I like) and getting their ingredients right there. Chefs are sitting down with local producers and helping improve the products.
Which lesser-known spices, vegetables or devices do you use and why?
I believe there is nothing that others don’t use already…
What is your view on fusion cuisine?
I think it’s also a great direction. Everyone needs to find their style and as long as it makes sense and tastes great for the guests, if that holds true then all is fair.
The concept behind slow food is good, but in larger restaurants or hotels it’s not often feasible due to time constraints regarding guests. Where do you see a solution?
For that you need a complete change of thinking with the public and I don’t see that happening soon…
In your opinion what is the best street food?
As an innovative chef you need honest feedback. Where do you get that?
First and foremost from my guests and also my critics and colleagues.
Where would you like to work as a chef in the world?
Japan or Asia in general.
A healthy diet and an understanding of nutrition: Is there a tendency to teach this approach to young people in Germany and even perhaps establish it as a school subject?
It’s already started with some well-known chefs (Stemberg or B. Freitag) giving lectures at schools. It’s still at the beginning stages however.
A lot of cooks are interested to work in Germany. Do you have any tips or recommendations for them?
What do you value in the kitchen when it comes to technology?
Since I am a chef that isn’t in a busy mechanical wonderland, the devices just need to be of good quality. I’m old-school, I don’t resist the modern technology but I still cook classically.
Which ingredients and products do you use the most?
I’m not tied to anything specifically, they just need to be high quality and as much as possible from the region.
How important is the team?
The team is the most important, and it all depends on loyalty, personality and expertise. I have worked together with my sous-chef for 7 years and I can blindly trust him with anything. I also trained him myself. Training up staff personally is very important for me these days.
Which values count for you while working in the kitchen?
- Quiet during service
- Accuracy while working
- Produce as little as possible waste
Thank you Günter and we wish you success in your future projects.
Welcome to restaurant PUR – Essen & Trinken. Good food is culture and that is what we want to give to our guests. Our executive chef Günter Rönner conjures sophisticated compositions, which he delivers together with his team at the highest level. At his previous place of employment he was awarded the „Gault Millau“ with two out of four possible chefs hats and 16 from 20 points making him one of Germany’s best Chef de Cuisine. www.pur-krefeld.de
Are you a chef with ambition? Would you like together with Günter Rönner? Send your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org