Chef’s duel: joachim schwab beats star chef lafer

Chef's duel: joachim schwab beats star chef lafer

When joachim schwab received an e-mail from ZDF a few months ago, he could hardly believe it. It was an inquiry as to whether he could imagine taking part in the new season of the cooking show "stadt, land, lecker" (city, country, delicious). "It was clear to me right away that i wanted to do this," says the owner of schwab’s landgasthof in schwarzach am main, germany. He also knew that beating a star chef was not going to be easy. "For me the cook-off is the ‘champions league’ of cooking."

As one of over 100 cooks from all over germany, the 55-year-old was finally able to prevail in a multi-stage application process. Eight chefs are competing in the current season against either nelson muller, alexander herrmann or johann lafer. On saturday the cook duel from schwarzach was broadcasted.

"No matter who it is, I have to grab him!"

"We didn’t know who i was going to be competing against until a few minutes before the shoot," says the man from schwarzach. But for him it was clear: "no matter who it is, I have to get him!"Finally, the austrian chef johann lafer came to his restaurant – which he was very happy about. "This is a star chef that every chef would like to compete against once."

The two even share common cake roots. In the early 80’s schwab cooked in the "schweizer stuben" in wertheim-bettingen, where lafer also once worked. For years the restaurant was one of germany’s best, until it had to file for bankruptcy in 2002. Star chefs like dieter muller or tv chef stefan marquard started their careers there.

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Lafer must cook better without a recipe

The principle of the show is the same in every episode. A famous TV chef competes against a local cake chef in a duel. Your task: who cooks a special regional specialty better? The two have three hours before they have to serve their dish to a jury. The celebrity does not have a recipe, he is only allowed to taste the host’s delicacy beforehand, to taste the ingredients and guess how the dish is prepared.

Joachim schwab thought carefully beforehand about which specialty he would use to compete against the star chef. "It should be something traditional with a twist, where the star chef will have a hard time."So he chose an old family recipe that he inherited from his aunt klara schwab, a former parish cook: schaufele of venison that he shot himself, served with savoy cabbage mousse and cranberry slaw.

Passionate cook and hunter

For the past 15 years, the 55-year-old has been hunting and killing his own game, which he serves in the restaurant. A camera team accompanied him and his hunting friends to his hunting ground in stierhofstetten in the steigerwald forest. For schwab, venison is the best organic meat: low in fat, high in protein, and the animal grows up without stress and medication. He can also "really relax" while hunting."

With a grin on his face, joachim schwab shows the table in his restaurant where johann lafer first tasted his french specialty – and was thrilled. "It is extremely well cooked. Modern regional cuisine at a very high level" was the verdict of the star chef.

After the two chefs met in front of the camera, they also got to know each other better in their private lives. Schwab was particularly interested in why lafer travels around the country and duels with regional cooks. "He wants to uphold the inn tradition and fight against the extinction of the inns in the countryside," replied this. The basic idea of the ZDF cooking show is to strengthen regional cuisine. This is also the principle according to which the man from schwarzach cooks in his country inn. He uses almost exclusively regional products, because for him that is what distinguishes a high-quality cuisine.

Schwab convinces with authentic french cuisine

Schwab’s country inn was closed for two days for filming. Star chef lafer rolled through the vineyards via dettelbach and escherndorf on a food truck. "When it came down to it, we were in a really sizzling mood," remembers julia utz, joachim schwab’s niece. She supports the landgasthof besides her studies and, like the whole team, she was cheering until the last second of the duel. Lafer cooked in the mobile food truck in front of the restaurant, schwab in his kitchen – as he is accustomed to doing, or?

"Not quite," says the blacksmith. Although he has often been in front of the camera of the bayerischer rundfunk, the cookery duel was a completely different caliber for him. Cooking at the same time, answering questions from the camera team and being under time pressure – "that was a real challenge."

Matthias F. Mangold, food blogger and youtube chef felicitas then and a local judge decide who wins the duel in each episode. In schwarzach, sab hunter ingrid stenger from grobwallstadt (lkr. Miltenberg) from the bavarian hunting association in the jury. The jury evaluates the dish’s appearance, taste and tradition. Lafer had to cook the venison from the steigerwald at least as well or even better – but did he succeed??

Victory with 40 to 35 points

The proud grin of joachim schwab immediately reveals the answer. With 40 to 35 points, the man from blackach has beaten the star chef. The dishes differed in taste and appearance, as well as in one essential characteristic, which was that the dish was "genuinely french" power. Schwab prepares the shovel with bacon crust – for star chef lafer this was "not good enough", he changed the dish and had to earn points for it in the category tradition.

On the day of the decision, it was clear to joachim schwab: "today I have to really hit the ground running."Said, done. He celebrated his victory in the evening after filming with his entire team until it was light out. He watched saturday’s broadcast some 1200 kilometers from his home, on vacation with family and friends on a ship near rome.

About joachim schwab

Joachim schwab actually wanted to be a butcher, but butchering didn’t appeal to him as much as cooking did. After his apprenticeship in fine swiss cakes, his years of wandering led him to the kitchen of the swiss stuben in wertheim. He was then able to take off as a sous chef in the baiersbronn restaurant barreis, but then his mother fell ill and he was faced with a decision: either he would take over the family business in schwarzach or it would have to close after four generations. The man from lower franconia decided on the country inn, which – even though the decision was not an easy one – he never regretted. The inn was opened in 1895, since 1996 joachim schwab has been running the business.

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