This is the second article of a ten-part series featuring interviews with chefs competing in the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014. See also our interview with Chef Jacob Davey from Australia.
Meet Kirill Kinfelt, a 29-year old German chef and owner of TrüffelSchwein restaurant in Hamburg. From June 13th to 15th, Kinfelt will go head to head with nine other chefs in an effort to win the Acqua Panna & S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year 2014 Award during the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup 2014.
The one-of-a-kind regatta combines sailing and fine dining in the backdrop of the Venetian lagoon. The chefs will climb aboard a vessel racing from the Lido in Venice to San Giorgio island. While on the galley they will create a signature dish using local ingredients in hopes of impressing panel of judges which includes renown chefs Gaston Acurio and Helena Rizzo whose restaurants are on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list.
The chefs will also compete for the People's Choice Award and Critics Choice Award, both sponsored by Acqua Panna. FDL caught up with Kinfelt before the big day and wanted to know his thoughts on the future of food. Here's what he had to say:
Describe yourself in three keywords.
Creative, curious, ambitious.
How would you define your cooking style?
Letting the product be the product. My goal is to get the best out of the products, without distorting anything and in order to make something special out of something simple. I want to show my guests what is possible, for example to cook different variants out of an onion.
Which is your signature dish? Can you briefly describe it?
My signature dish is Guinea fowl and calamaretti with potatoes and tomatoes. It is a combination of land and sea, topped with freshness, sweetness and down-to-earth cuisine. It is a special taste experience.
Who or what is your main source of inspiration? Why?
Seasons and nature are my sources of inspiration. Such as right now, where we have a lot of herbs, which lets ideas spring up.
Tradition and innovation: which is the relationship with these words in your cuisine?
Tradition is the base of every cuisine. Tradition has to do with classic and combined with innovation, it is the perfect product – not prepared in a classical, but innovative style of cooking. In my kitchen these are innovative methods of cooking and refining.
What is fine dining for you? How do you think the new generations are changing this idea and making it evolving?
Fine dining means a relaxed atmosphere at a high level: An excellent product prepared perfectly – not formal or complicated, but prepared and served in a casual and interesting way. The most important thing new generations try to show to their guests is that food is fun. Eating out should connect, bring fun and a good feeling. It should be something that shows it is worth living for.
Next big trends related to food and conviviality?
Regarding food, one trend is vegan food which will evolve. It not only means leaving out fish, meat and other animal products, but to look for former products. Regarding conviviality we will grow in the wine segment, where we need more tastes. Trying to combine both food and conviviality, this will be the future of gastronomy - not mass, but first class.
The food you’d happily die eating.
A good chicken soup - prepared by my father. The best soup ever.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I would be a doctor. However I chose to be a chef because cuisine is like magic. Out of clear water you can make something very special that makes people happy.