World Chefs: Hong Kong tastes pique palate of German cooking star

Tue Jan 22, 2013 6:39am EST
 
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By Cathy Yang

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Three-star Michelin Chef Sven Elverfeld has made his name as one of the pioneers of modern German cooking, but his first-ever visit to Hong Kong inspired him with new techniques, new implements and food he described as "amazing."

The 44-year-old German, one of the youngest European chefs to win three Michelin stars, spent several nights in the Asian city serving up cutting-edge modern European cuisine with a regional twist inspired by his early start in Hanau, Germany.

Known for cooking based on German traditions but with modern touches and currently Chef de Cuisine at Aqua in the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg, Germany, Elverfeld recently spoke with Reuters about what got him hooked on cooking and his views on Hong Kong dining.

Q: What inspired you to be a chef?

A: "What first inspired me was the smell of my mother cooking lunch when my brother and I returned from school. Another motivation for me was baking traditional Christmas cookies or cakes with my mother. I started at the age of 16 with a three year apprenticeship at a pastry and confectionary shop. After that I did another apprenticeship for two years as a chef.

"Each and every day in my work I endeavor to give unforgettable moments and pleasure to people. This is my definition of happiness. Indeed, I cannot imagine working at something that does not challenge me either intellectually, physically or with regard to my craftsmanship."

Q: What are your interests in the world of cuisine - what would you like to explore that you haven't gone into yet?

A: "I am glad I started traveling a lot around the world when I was younger. I find that each country has something to offer: unique products, different cooking techniques, flavor... I am always open minded and very curious about interesting food cultures and their products. But of course, I like to look back to my German culture in some of my dishes.   Continued...

 
A dish of Norway lobster & charcoal grilled belly of young pork is pictured at Aqua in the Ritz-Carlton in Wolfsburg in this undated handout picture provided by Aqua, Ritz-Carlton.REUTERS/AQUA, Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg