Thomas Kellermann – A Rising Star

Thinking about Germany one might have in mind pittoresque castles in a remote landscape above in the hills stemming from medieval years. Most of them are ruins (like Burg Schwarzenberg where Jonnie Boer performed some magic recently), some can be visited but very seldom they shelter a culinary treasure.

At Burg Wernberg, that’s different – since the Conrad family has leased the Burg from Wernberg in 1992 and opened the Hotel Burg Wernberg in 1998 after extensive renovation. Jürgen Benker was the first chef de cuisine and Christian Jürgens the second. Jürgens began to further developed his potential at the Burg and is now regarded as one of the next potential three star candidates. After Jürgens signed to the Althoff Group in mid 2008 Conrad could “persuade” Thomas Kellermann from the Vitrum in Berlin to become the new chef de cuisine at the Burg.

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Burg Wernberg

One has to admit that Kellermann’s new domain is not so central when looking at a map of Germany. It is rather very near the Czech border but this could be a very nice trip from Nuremberg especially around Christmas time (about 40 minutes by car). After almost seven years in Berlin it was time for Kellermann to go back to “his” region and nearer to the skiing areas…

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The Frankfurt Files (II): Großfeld – Gastraum der Sinne

Ha, this is not a Frankfurt restaurant strictly speaking, you might say and you are right. Großfeld’s Gastraum der Sinne is located in Dorheim, a part of Friedberg about 20 minutes from Frankfurt. But, my files files intend to give you some orientation on your journey to culinary delights when you are in and around Frankfurt. Maybe the “around” enlargement is due to the fact that in Frankfurt itself good fine dining is rather rare.

So, after King Kamehameha Suite I will this time report a very good experience especially as it is a new and relaxed concept for a Michelin starred restaurant in Germany. Not a bistro in the strictest sense but the atmosphere is close. Clearly, it is more upscale than the Bistronomias but in a way it tries to transport the same vibes…

The Restaurant

Finding this place is not as difficult as getting to Mugaritz or Extebarri but it is not too easy. Unlike for the former two a solid navigation will do. Be sure to bring a rather small car as parking space is limited.

Interior of a German Michelin Starred Place? YES!

Interior of a German Michelin Starred Place? YES!

From the outside it reminds me a bit of Amador as it seems to be a normal residential buiding, yet not as old and timbered as in Langen. The interior is much different then: you have basically one large room painted red equipped with bistro-like furniture. The service brigade is young and not as polished as usual making it overall a very pleasurable atmosphere. As I frequently hear it really takes away the fear of the unknown for people new to starred restaurants. A look around on a normal day affirms this as the average age is much lower and people are dressed up more casually. I stress that as it is important to attract new and younger people to our beloved restaurants which is accomplished here.

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Sackmann – The Third Power in Baiersbronn

The pittoresque village of Baiersbronn is a gourmet treasure – in-midst of the Black Forest you can find seven Michelin stars – three for Harald Wohlfahrt at Schwarzwaldstube in the Hotel Traube Tonbach, three for Claus-Peter Lumpp at the Bareiss (promoted in November 2007) and one for Jörg Sackmann in the Restaurant Schlossberg in the family-owned Hotel Sackmann. More than in Bergisch-Gladbach which hosts two three star chefs (Nils Henkel and Joachim Wissler) and, well, I haven’t done the math, maybe with nearly the same stars per capita ratio as in San Sebastian. Quite remarkable.

Interestingly, before Lumpp was promoted it seemed that he was “stuck in the middle” between the perfectionist Wohlfahrt who was regarded the best German chef until this year (now he is tied or shortly behind Wissler) and the progressive, immensely talented, creative and sometimes ingenious Sackmann. After the third star Lumpp seems to be freed from the pressure of being espoir for two years and offers solid three star cooking. Sackmann, however, is meant to be worth two stars and was praised by Jürgen Dollase, the premier German food critique, in a October version of his column in the Frankfurter Allgemeine. The report made it very clear that the diner would be served “exciting taste experiences”. Moreover, Sackmann was part of the “delegation” which presented “the new German cuisine” at the very important congress of Lo Mejor as part of the German Panorama.

Enough for me to plan a little trip to Baiersbronn and reserve a table at Schlossberg to refresh my knowledge of Jörg Sackmann’s cuisine and to examine whether the cuisine is really underrated.

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