What is a vision? Apart from its medical meaning it could be a long-term goal (in management – where does my company want to be in 10 years?), an inspirational experience (in spiritual terms) or a hallucination (a vivid conscious perception in the absence of a stimulus).
Now, infamous German food critique Jürgen Dollase collaborates with important German chefs to elaborate seminal menus which should open up a new world for all senses: the Gourmet Vision series to appear in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung in loose sequence. In describing its objective Dollase points out that “besides technical mastery it is the magnetism of a new idea, of the unknown, the very touch of discovery and novelty which transfers us into a state of pure ‘degustation’ ” (some kind of culinary frenzy, I suppose;-)). So, it is likely that he refers to a rather spiritual experience. I will come back to that.
The new Gourmet Vision has a well-known protagonist: Christian Bau. Dollase approached him to work on a “Japanese” menu as a natural continuation and culmination of Bau’s already taken path (already obvious in the last 18+ months or so).
Where is the Vision?
So, I went to Schloss Berg immediately. To see what new dishes Bau had produced. To see how far Bau can go without giving up his so carefully developed style. To see whether it has sustainable elements which might be able to show us a glimpse of future cooking.
After a couple of meals last year at Christian Bau’s Schloss Berg I followed Trine’s example of taking a break to see how the cuisine develops over some time. But, sooner that I thought the idea came up to show very good friends of mine real three star cooking and somehow Schloss Berg appeared as the perfect venue (honi soit qui mal y pense…)
The interior of the restaurant has been completely refurbished in January while they were closed and now really fits to the more contemporary and modern cuisine of Christian Bau. I particularly liked the new chairs which had been exclusively made for the restaurant. You can exit without having to move the chair by just turning the upper part… Very comfortable…
A Reflection of Bau's Cuisine
Is any press good press? Hard to say…
In the yesterday’s NYT travel section Gisela Williams has written about “A Wellspring of the New German Cuisine“. Wow, I thought, after the article on Amador, the recent developments in the German restaurant scene are getting more attention. Given the mission of my blog I can only welcome that;-)
Gisela starts out with my favorite theme – on the one hand Germany is only second to France when it comes to three star restaurants (nine as of this year’s Guide Rouge) and on the other hand “the land of sauerkraut and spätzle, it seems, is finally getting little culinary respect”. Well said, quite true, but needs to be changed… She then continues by describing that old and young chefs are creating a new German cuisine ( “parsing their Teutonic heritage for new flavours, rather than reciting French or Spanish techniques for haute effect”). D’accord…
Looking back, I always had great dinners at Schloss Berg but my recent experience clearly exceeded my high expectations by far. All in all, previously it was a classic french cuisine ingeniously delivered, beautifully assembled with an emphasis on creating a unique broad flavourful picture. In January this year we still had some variations (of langoustine, foie) which had been delicious but sometimes too complex and overloaded. What a difference now…
But first things first – for those of you not yet familiar with Christian Bau and the restaurant Victor’s at Schloss Berg some facts…
Born in Offenburg in the northern part of the Black Forest Chistian Bau is still very rooted to this beautiful part of Germany (Baden – I have to admit I am also from Baden but does not affect my judgement;-)). It is said that people from Baden are modest and passinonate about what their doing something I would also ascribe to Christian Bau.
During a six week internship (or stage) at the Hotel Götz Sonne Eintracht at the age of 14 he was so fascinated by cooking that he came back at 16 to start a three year apprenticeship. In the hotel kitchen he acquired a classic fundament for his cuisine – solid craftsmanship which today is rare in a “normal” hotel kitchen… Maybe more importantly Christian met his future wife Yildiz at Götz…
Yildiz & Christian Bau