A guide to Germany's three starred chefs: Joachim Wissler

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th November 2014
In the run up to the release of this year’s German Michelin guide, we take a closer look at Germany’s 3 Michelin star restaurants and chefs.  top_2Joachim Wissler is head chef at the Vendôme in the Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg close to Cologne, which has held three Michelin stars since 2004. Joachim is part of the new German cuisine movement. His restaurant currently ranks as the 12th best restaurant on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Joachim was born in 1963 in Nürtingen near Stuttgart and grew up in a gastronomic environment. His family owned a farm and pub, where, from an early age, he had to fulfil tasks like peeling potatoes. Joachim decided to become a chef and started his apprenticeship at the Hotel Traube Tonbach in Baiersbronn. After working in a few restaurants in the south of Germany he became head chef at the Schloss Reinhartshausen in the Rheingau region near Frankfurt, where he was awarded two Michelin stars. Thomas Althoff, owner of the Althoff Hotel, invited him to open a new restaurant at Schloss Bensberg in 2000. Joachim accepted and opened the Vendôme - its courtyard reminded Joachim of Paris’s Place Vendôme, hence the name. Within four years the restaurant was honoured with three Michelin stars, which it has held ever since. The magazine “Der Feinschmecker” recognised the Vendôme as Restaurant of the Year in 2001 and Joachim as Chef of the Year in 2014. In 2002 he was also Gault & Millau’s Chef of the Year. Vendôme is ranked 12th in the list of The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. “Wissler has become renowned for his celebration of traditional German fare, which he gives a top_3modernist revamp as part of the ‘neue deutsche Küche’ [new German cuisine] movement, of which he is a master”, says the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Joachim’s cuisine is German with influences from all over the world. He likes to use German ingredients that haven’t been used in a long time and interpret them in a modern way. One of his signature dishes is his wild salmon with sweet vernal grass butter and field caviar. “I'm a craftsman”, Joachim says. “We develop about 50 new dishes every year.” His menus have to be clearly structured and multifaceted. “But it can’t be overloaded.” What is important, Joachim says, is that “every ingredient has to play a main part in the composition.” When creating a menu, drama plays a crucial role to Joachim: “How the menu is arranged, how it begins and how it ends.” “Creativity for me is that I can live out what I want to do. I like to provoke my guests and make them open themselves up to new things.” There is still a lot to discover, Joachim claims. “Inspiration can come from anywhere at any time. It will never cease.” slice_24“Every new development in cooking is interesting, but I look at them critically.” His drive, he says, “is my up-bringing and my roots. To strive to constantly better myself and be very self-critically.” Joachim’s secret to success? Being distinctive, having a clear and personal profile, perfect teamwork and the volition to give a high-performance every day. “Quality and consistency are the pillars to success. Often this can be exciting, exhausting, and when things are going well, it can be very rewarding too.” By Vera Kleinken Look out for our editorial on Friday when we ask the question: “Is German cuisine the best kept secret?”
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th November 2014

A guide to Germany's three starred chefs: Joachim Wissler