Steffen Sinzinger - neofoodist, chef and founder of the food blog "Berliner Speisemeisterei".
The coffee afterwards is still rare in upscale cuisine - we want to change that.
About the Berliner Speisemeisterei and Steffen Sinzinger
Steffen Sinzinger recently joined Lieferando as Excellence Manager, where he ensures the quality of the food that is delivered/driven.
His blog - the Berliner Speisemeisterei - is an information hub for chefs in Germany, but also for cooking enthusiasts as well as hobby foodies. With his cookbook reviews and interviews, Steffen takes a look outside the box.
For the eye, the Berlin chef shares daily pictures of artistically arranged dishes on his Instagram channel.
We asked Steffen a few questions - about his past, his attitude to the kitchen, cooking and why top-quality coffee simply doesn't play a role in top cuisine yet.
His personal coffee roast - the Morgenmuffel Espresso - is now available in the 19grams online shop.
Have you always wanted to be a chef?
"The desire to become a chef was established quite early on. At the age of 16, I was already pretty sure that this would be the path after my school career."
Where do you get your inspiration for new dishes?
"It can be pretty much anything. Quite often I get inspired by movies, advertisements, colours or even special events. Of course, good products in themselves are also a good source of inspiration. The inspirations rarely come from the same source all the time."
How would you describe your dishes? What is the essence? What is your inspiration? Is there a country whose national cuisine you particularly lean on?
"Currently, I would categorise my cooking style as fusion cuisine. I like to cook eclectically, which means I take the best things from different styles and create something new but somehow familiar. I like to play with flavours that represent certain cultures or ethnic groups.
You also have another project going - GOOD n' Vegan - how did that come about?
"In fact, Corona played the stirrup holder here. Due to the emerging delivery business and the very strong growth of vegan food, our investor in the hotel group was advised to invest in exactly these two growth markets. After a lot of study, fiddling and tweaking, this resulted in the first purely vegan menu. The fact that we had even started the first purely vegan delivery service in the whole of Germany with GOOD n' Vegan was only revealed to us later by our PR agency. We were surprised ourselves."
German classics are also reinterpreted here - and above all vegan. What convinces you about vegan substitutes (e.g. Lax)?
"The basic concept at GOOD n' Vegan is not to adapt or imitate well-known dishes from the animal world. Rather, our aim is to use the familiar flavour accords to give foodies, who are not yet quite sure what to expect from our food, an idea of what the food will taste like later on. In time, this kind of taste imitation can then be dispensed with.
The meat substitutes themselves have improved enormously in quality in recent times. We also work with a Swiss company whose products can amazingly replicate poultry or pork in terms of consistency, texture and taste. And that's without a long instruction leaflet. The products sometimes get by with four to five ingredients."
Behind the scenes in the kitchens, things are often very busy - high workloads, precise timing for different dishes that have to be put on the plate together. How much coffee do you drink a day?
"Oh ha. My coffee consumption is currently monitored by an app. It's been telling me relatively frequently lately that I'm indulging in increased caffeine consumption. I would estimate that I easily reach 5 sometimes 7 cappuccini per day."
You've known 19grams for a bit longer now - how did you come across us?
"I have known you for more than ten years I would like to say. I can't pinpoint the first time I met you for your speciality coffee that precisely. But I'd like to think it's an eternity, and I mean that in a positive way. Back then, my coffee addiction was nowhere near as strong as it is today. But good coffee was immensely important to me right from the start. My best friend knew that, which is why he brought me to you."
Since 19grams - do you see coffee differently?
"For sure. Because the concept of sustainable coffee trade is an enormous game changer for me. When you consider how much coffee is traded on the international market and what remains for the farmers in the end, I see your views as groundbreaking.
It was through you that I first learned that coffee is also subject to a season. What I find so remarkable about your offer is the unbelievable variety of flavours that coffee can take on with you. That convinced me quite quickly."
Did you learn anything about coffee that surprised you, or that changed your perspective again?
"I have to admit that I was also one of those capsule drinkers from this highly unpopular company. For me, coffee was simply a product that was supposed to work quickly and easily. It wasn't until I got my own portafilter that I really got to grips with making coffee and realised that there are a lot of factors that can ruin coffee in the last few metres. I also realised that coffee doesn't necessarily have to be prepared super fast and that brewing can be a kind of ceremony that takes you away from the stress of everyday life.
When I tested many coffees at your place during the cupping for the "Morgenmuffel Edition", I was able to learn a lot about roasting and the taste process. That was also very interesting. The biggest learning was that not every espresso works perfectly as a cappuccino. I wasn't aware of that yet."
What is your favourite coffee drink?
"It's definitely the cappuccino. The only negative thing about this drink is that when you travel in Italy, you can't order it in the afternoon anymore without looking at grim faces."
What is particularly important to you in your coffee?
"Coffee should have character. I like it when I recognise my favourite variety. It's balanced, conveys my favourite coffee flavour and ideally beams me away for a brief moment. When I enjoy coffee, I don't like to miss the moment when it's at the perfect drinking temperature. If I'm disturbed there and don't start to put it on until it's too cold, you should run for the hills."
Is there anything that surprises you in Specialty Coffee, or where you say, crazy that we're just seeing this now?
"In fact, when I did last year's Advent Calendar, it really surprised me how wide the range of coffee can actually be. I've really appreciated that since then. Coffee is like a tomato - it can taste very different."
How do coffee and upscale cuisine go together for you? Is it an overdue match?
"For me, upscale cuisine and coffee, preferably a good one, is not an overdue match, but a super match, to use the lingo. A menu followed by sweet treats is unthinkable for me without a top-quality espresso. In my opinion, anyone who serves me an inferior espresso at the end as a host is risking his tip. I can't understand restaurateurs who cut corners here. The greatest restaurants can't do without top-quality coffee, I'd like to say."
Take a look at Steffens Blog of the Berliner Speisemeisterei and let yourself be inspired - perfect for browsing, the article on the 19grams Advent Calendar in combination with the Der Morgenmuffel Espresso. :)