Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Cooktank 14 – Theme Asia

The star eatersCookTanks are a regular format for culinary exchange between top chefs, trade media and science. New recipes, innovative products and cooking techniques are the focus, but also the challenges of the industry and inspiration for the next generation are important points of the regularly held series of events. Vijay Sapre, editor of Effilee once coined the phrase, “The last CookTank is the best Cooktank.” Never was this quote more true than on this Monday at Bonn’s Yunico.

The theme of the day was reduction to the essentials. The focus was on the diverse food culture of Asia and its most important protagonists from German-speaking countries. The attendee list reads like a who’s who of leading chefs with this focus. Actually only Sarah Henke and Tohru Nakamura were missing to make the setup really complete – both were unfortunately prevented. In any case, an exceptional and impressive line-up of experts in Asian-inspired cuisine, which, by the way, is one of my absolute favorites.

A detailed video at the end of the article, gives the talks of Tim Raue, Christian Bau, The Duc Ngo and Eddie Dimant almost completely.

Christian construction

Christian Bau, head chef at Victor’s Fine Dining by Christian Bau, Perl-Nennig, was the reigning Chef of the Year and recipient of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the culinary heavyweight at the stove. He shared a sneak peek of a current dish from his three-star restaurant’s menu: blue fin tuna (torro and akami), mushrooms, avocado and a kojyu vinaigrette. Umami is in the foreground here. A plate that not only looks complex, but also is due to the large amount of components and preparations. Without, however, overtaxing the guest. “In the end, it’s the enjoyment and the experience that counts”. This applies not only to individual dishes, but has always been the motto of the host. But of course, the variations of Spanish tuna also offer enough depth of content and culinary excitement – many small details like the nori seaweed or tapioca pearls fried as tempura complement the sensational fish in different ways of preparation and still add texture and structure. Fabulous! All the details in the video.

Tim Raue

Tim Raue traveled from Berlin. Since always one of the most important and prominent representatives of the Asian-influenced style in Germany and currently listed at number 48 on the Worlds 50 Best List. Under his direction, his Berlin headquarters has been serving cuisine strongly influenced by Cantonese since 2010. However, the further development or adaptation of the dishes is always particularly important to him. His thoroughly edgy nature is also always evident in the dishes. Intense and powerful aromas, a strong play with sharpness and acidity are the hallmarks. And, of course, can be found in his dish Hong Kong Gai Lan and oyster. The oyster is only lightly poached and is combined together with a very intense homemade oyster sauce (based on Beeftea, tamarind, green chili and dried oysters) and a piece of Gai Lan. Accompanied by tapioca pearls with lime juice and rice vinegar and its secret ingredient: a pickled ginger, made according to a recipe from the Araki in London. This is perfectly in line with the theme of the day and is at the same time complex, deep and above all sensational. In stark contrast to Christian Bau, Raue carries out his philosophy: He does not cook primarily for the guest, but for his own demands. “When a plate goes from the passport to the guest, I have to be happy. What the guest or the critic makes of it, I don’t have to give a damn about”. Good advice for all creatives who are always exposed to third-party criticism. This is the only way to be immune from taking them too much to heart….

Christian Sturm-Willms

The host for today, Christian Sturm-Willms, cooks star-level Japanese-influenced cuisine at Yunico. At the restaurant, diners can choose from three different menus, ranging from classic Japanese fare to more creative compositions and bold ideas like today’s Hamachi, Daikon, Nattō, Kombu and a sorbet from Wonderleaf, an alcohol-free “gin.” Nattō is not a particularly accessible ingredient to the Western palate. Here, the fermented soybeans are only discreetly incorporated as a powder. This avoids the typical stringy consistency unfamiliar to Western palates. An exciting plate with many components and a clear statement about the current state of the restaurant’s creativity – and a pointer to the direction in which the journey will continue in the future.

Yoshizumi Nagaya

Of course, Yoshizumi Nagaya cooks the Japanese cuisine of his homeland in the restaurant of the same name in Düsseldorf. This, however, without great dogmas and without renouncing European products and influences. He served the first course of the day, a very tender and extremely flavorful hosho maki of kuruma mackerel with eggplant.

The Duc Ngo

A total of 11 restaurants now run under the direction of The Duc Ngo in Berlin. With over 400 employees, this puts him roughly on par with Tim Rau in terms of immense team strength. The culinary cosmos of the restaurateur with Vietnamese roots includes 893 Ryōtei, Kuchi, Madame Ngo, Cocolo Ramen, Golden Phoenix and, most recently, Funky Fisch. I first encountered his cuisine many years ago at Shiro-I-Shiro, which with its modern Asian cuisine was one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Berlin at the time. For the CookTank, he brought a very personal dish: a classic Korean bossam, modified with Berliner Eisbein and numerous fermented sauces. Classically rolled in a lettuce leaf, seasoned with kimchi, oysters and fermented shrimp sauce and ideally eaten in one bite.

Eduard Dimant

Eddie is part owner and chef at Mochi in Vienna. Classic Japanese ramen is the restaurant’s concept and, unsurprisingly, its contribution to the event. Very exciting are the explanations of the Exilberliner about the classical production technique of ramen. Served was shio ramen with walleye, chicken, cheek and egg. By the way, for 40 liters of broth first boil forty kilos of chicken carcasses. In a second step, on the second day, another forty kilos of carcasses are added to the stock. This explains the secret of this intense basic taste. According to Japanese tradition, the other components are first mixed in the guest’s bowl, different sized ladles help with the dosage. The exact procedure can also be found in the video.

Max stick

Max Stock, Entremetier at the Hotel Alpin Spa Tuxerhof, has drawn two cards at once for the day: On the one hand, he is the winner of the wild card that the star eaters have offered. His grilled Wagyu heart with sorrel emulsion garnered the most of the votes in the Facebook poll. On the other hand, he also pulled what he himself calls the “ass card” at his first big presentation in front of colleagues, because the wood sorrel leaves he had specially picked the day before at 1,500m went missing on the way to Bonn, along with other ingredients and his suitcase. He took it in stride. And showed that heart and generally the innards of the Waygu, a herezulange underestimated and unfortunately also extremely difficult to procure rarity.

Daniel Shimkovich

The chef from the Michelin-starred L.A. Jordan in Deidesheim, Daniel Schimkowitsch, then served another brilliant culinary grenade at the end: a Swiss pork belly on Balinese curry, topped with spicy raspberries. Spiciness, sweetness and the slightly crispy pork belly come together perfectly. The curry adds a classic Asian undertone, and the spicy raspberries add a unique but very fitting combination. More of that please. Or: Let’s go to Deidesheim!

Dr. Malte Härtig

The scientific underpinning from a cultural-philosophical point of view is provided by the cook and philosopher Malte Härtig at this CookTank. What does sustainability mean in the kitchen and what wisdom does Japanese cuisine have in store for us? Using a few dishes from Kyoto’s leading Michelin-starred restaurants, Malte Härtig demonstrated the traditions of kaiseki cuisine and explained why some dishes work with just three components – and why the role of the supporting components is so important. The stronger the reduction, the clearer the focus, the more important the perfection of the product.

More about this can be found in the recently published book by Malte Härtig: KAISEKI – The Wisdom of Japanese Cuisine.

It was an extremely versatile and insightful look into the current situation of Asian-oriented high cuisine in the German-speaking world. The potential is huge, and so is the variety. The range extends from authentic country cuisine with elaborately imported products to the adaptation of Japanese philosophies to local product cuisine, the combination of French and Asian styles to the discreet integration of individual Asian elements into traditional European or German dishes.

Many thanks for organizing and hosting the Cooktan to the star eaters and for the open exchange to the participating chefs and their helping hands as well as to the Kameha Grand in Bonn for the hospitality.

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Christian Bau receives the Federal Cross of Merit

Christian Bau receives the Federal Cross of Merit

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