Within a traditionally-built house in the small town of Wirsberg in Bavaria, Kronach-born chef Tobias Bätz presents a modern and exciting culinary offering at the gourmet restaurant of Posthotel Alexander Herrmann.
Growing up in environment where he was surrounded by food, he started helping in the kitchen at his parents’ business from a young age. This experience only further ignited his passion for the culinary arts, and his career path from there on out was an obvious one – he would pursue his love of cooking and become a chef. After training in Nuremberg under Stefan Rottner at restaurant Rottner, he went on to work at two-Michelin-starred restaurant Tristan in Mallorca before his journey led him to becoming Head Chef at Restaurant Alexander Herrmann in Wirsberg in 2009 .
In 2019, under Bätz’s meticulous leadership, the restaurant was awarded with two Michelin stars by the Michelin Guide. In 2017, Tobias also became a member of the “Jeunes Restaurateurs” chef association and is responsible for the JRE “Genusslabor“. He is also involved in the Genussakademie Bayern experimental food lab, where he joins forces with other trade and gastronomy experts from science and research, who together, are on a quest to discover inspiring insights about foods and their preparation.
In Tobias’ cuisine, the regionality and sustainability of the produce play an integral role, but this is done without negating interesting, international ingredients. He works with a network of almost 60 farmers and suppliers in the region, all of which share his same values and philosophies. In his cooking, the chef aims to showcase his passion for these products and his appreciation to the farmers and producers.
By creatively combining local and traditionally Franconian ingredients with contemporary ideas and techniques, Tobias is able to create unique and increasingly impressive cuisine. At Restaurant Alexander Herrmann, he presents his culinary prowess in two set menus, titled ‘Contrast’ and ‘Organic’. The latter is a vegetarian menu. Both offerings are accompanied by a fine selection of local Franconian wines. The restaurant’s interiors are elegant and modern, and the ambiance is relaxed.
What is your culinary philosophy?
My culinary philosophy is very much inspired by the great people we work with. Thus, our kitchen is very seasonal and based on the great ingredients we are blessed to use. Over the years, we have built up an extremely diverse and high-class network of micro-producers. Most of them are small, family-run businesses, farmers and idealists who have specialized in often not more than a few products, but grow them with a lot of passion and effort. There are countless discoveries that you would not expect in this part of the world: from Szechuan pepper and Buddha’s hand to the world’s best hazelnuts and “old cow” from Texas Longhorn cattle. Or 150 tomato and rare vegetable varieties or the various mushrooms from our Franconian forests.
The selection of products is almost limitless and as a result we have found a kitchen for us that feeds on the most unusual products from our bigger region in Bavaria. A new “regional kitchen” if you will. Moreover, it is very important to us with whom we work and that the farmers or breeders feel our appreciation for their work. We pass this on to our guests by very single dish we create.
What is your greatest inspiration and how do you incorporate this into your cooking?
As I am a very curious person by nature, I constantly think about kitchen related topics and try to figure out how certain dishes are made, how I could get the most taste out of a single ingredient and how to combine it with other tastes. Everything I see could be leading to a new vision – so what I do is to stay hungry for new ideas and always keep my eyes open.
Another part of creating new dishes is to discuss my basic ideas with Alexander Herrmann. As our chef he has a very high sensitiveness for trends, a great feeling for matching aromas and motivates us to overcome any limitations. Also, a lot of inspiration always comes when our personal food scout, Jörg Osswald, brings up new products from local producers. These often are the foundation for a new dish. Jörg is one of my most inspiring sparring partners, but everyone in my team is always encouraged to contribute his ideas.
If you could take a plane to any restaurant in the world, where would you go?
How hard it is to choose only one of so many inspiring chefs… still, I would pick Eleven Madison Park. I met Daniel Humm last year at “Chefsache” in Germany and have always admired his perfectionism and enthusiasm. All his creations seem like artwork to me, taking risks in focusing on the minimalistic basics and showing his craftmanship in such charming dishes.
Who is your culinary hero and why?
In my eyes, Jonny Boer from De Librije in Zwolle is a culinary genius, who has a perfect sense for creative, humorous, entertaining and modern cuisine. He has always been a big inspiration for me, as he and his wife Thérèse set the benchmark on how to inspire employees, how to get the best out of everyone, seeing only their strengths and not measuring them by their weaknesses and with this have changed the industry not only culinary wise. To me, their way of seeing a solution instead of a problem and their unconditional desire to become better everyday has influenced our everyday work environment a lot. I see many parallel activities in us and them. Working with a lot of passion, being strong leaders to their company and the people that build it makes them one of the most charismatic power couple in the business.
- 2 Michelin stars | The Michelin Guide 2019
- 17 Gault Millau Points