Kevin Fehling is an absolute exceptional talent. His subtle and delicate creations bear a unique individual signature that has been steadily perfected over the years. With Prodigy, a retrospective of his work will be released this fall. Thomas Ruhl puts the dishes in the right light in his usual professional manner and equally provides the reader with a private look behind the scenes of the Belle Epoque in Travemünde, which has been awarded three stars.
Fehling’s development is impressive. In just a few years, he cooked his way to the international top. Already in 2008, after only three years in Travemünde, the Guide Michelin awarded first one star, quickly followed by the second and since 2013 Kevin Fehling is Germany’s youngest three-star chef. And the northernmost in the world as well. His craftsmanship is considered perfect and the style of his open-minded and internationally based cuisine is unmistakable. He works out his ideas in an original and flawless way.
Prodigy presents itself far less as a practical cookbook than as a documentation of Kevin Fehling’s current development and, based on 65 dishes from the last 18 months, allows an exciting look at the philosophy and complexity of modern (three-)star cuisine.
I am pleased to find detailed descriptions of some of the Belle Epoque classics I encountered during my last visit to the area. A complex, challenging culinary experience that not only encourages enjoyment, but also discussion and, in some cases, the decoding of the thoughts behind it. Thankfully, the book helps with precisely this decoding, provides instructions and tells one or two little anecdotes.
You can tell from the layout that part of the briefing was to translate Fehling’s modernity and avant-garde into the book. It’s well-intentioned, unfortunately not really well done. The typography, in particular, seems to be trying hard without being easy to read, the central axis sentence is difficult to follow, and the headlines seem more flawed than skillful due to the extremely different spationing. At the same time, it is also a beautiful metaphor that shows that striving for avant-garde is only possible if you master the craft perfectly.
That’s just a touch of criticism, though, because I’m not concerned with the typography and layout of this work, much more with the content. And they’re on point. In addition, the many excellent, deliberately reduced staged photos by Thomas Ruhl compensate.