What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
My earliest memory is being in my mother’s kitchen when I was about four or five years old, just before Christmas. My mother was baking Christmas cookies and my job was to cut the dough into stars, trees and many other shapes, and to decorate them afterwards. It was a really special moment and sparked my passion for being creative with food.My experience in the industry then started at the age of 14 with an apprenticeship at the Hotel Vollmann in Weilheim, where I learnt how to cook without the aid of modern equipment, staying true to the basics and principles of traditional cuisine.
What, or who, would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
Heinz Winkler has been hugely inspirational throughout my career, I worked at the prestigious Residenz Heinz Winkler for two years, and later on Heinz Winkler called me again to work with him at the Costa del Sol at Hotel Las Dunas. Chef Peter Knog also had a huge influence on my work.I’m also inspired by my wife and the Mediterranean sea – both provide me with a peace of mind and shake me up when it’s needed!
Describe your culinary style…
My typical style is to fuse traditional recipes with modern techniques, using the best ingredients possible.As Executive Chef of Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa, I work across a number of culinary venues from the freshest seafood and best cuts of meat at Sea Grill to the most beautiful ingredients at Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant UNI, it’s also really important for me to be flexible to adapt my style as necessary.
What is the main concept for the new afternoon tea menu at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa?
We’ve brought through authentic Andalusia with a modern twist in our new afternoon tea. It’s also inspired by Dolce & Gabbana’s 2015 Spanish collection, with the red, black and white patterns. We are using a lot of almonds, caramel, orange blossom water, rose water – all typical ingredients for Andalusia, with Arabic touch. And of course, we have Spanish-style toast with its sweet and organic tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil.
What do you think makes a restaurant or a menu successful?
Every restaurant needs an identity and a soul. This can only be created by the team working in the restaurant – both the kitchen team and the service staff. It’s so important for chemistry between the staff to be perfect to really enable the place to come alive.
What are your most indispensable ingredients?
Salt, chocolate and of course chilli in all varieties!
What kind of experience do you aim to give guests when you cook for them?
I aim to please at all times, and deliver a wow effect from time to time too.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
It would have to be the moment when I saw my wife’s eyes filled with tears, as she was so proud when I was announced the Best Chef 2013 of Andalusia.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Listen, think, take care of your family and do what you have to do. Aim high and embrace challenges!
What’s next for you / what projects do you have lined up?
I’m working on an organic snack menu for January 2017. I’ll be collaborating with organic farms of Malaga to get to know where all our ingredients come from. We’ll be including all nutritional information on the menu.
What is your guilty pleasure?
That would have to be raw fish, in all its forms – sashimi, tiraditos, ceviche… just amazing!
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
UNI at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa is my favourite restaurant on-site at the resort, it has a sister restaurant in London and I’d love to experience it there too soon.Cheval Blanc by Chef Peter Knogl in Basel is also a must visit, in my opinion. I try to visit at least once a year.
Find out more about Chef Stork and Puente Romano Beach Resort and Spa here |www.puenteromano.com