A special Gala dinner in Frankfurt marked the announcement of the 15th annual S.Pellegrino Kulinarische Auslese guide - a definitive list of the best chefs and restaurants across Germany and Austria (here you can find the complete list).
Awards of the night were given for the Acqua Panna Best New Restaurants in Germany and Austria with Wolfgang Becker from Becker's XO taking the German crown and Robert Bauer from KUKKA being highlighted in Austria.
The Acqua Panna Best Female Chefs in Germany and Austria went to Iris Bettinger from Hotel Reuter and Ulli Hollerer-Reichl from Zum Blumentritt, respectively. In Austria the top chef position was shared by two chefs, Rudolf Obauer and Heinz Reitbauer Jun, while Harald Wohlfahrt, Joachim Wissler and Helmut Thieltges were awarded as the best chefs in Germany.
German dining has seen a slow rise across the gastronomic sector in recent years. A small number of chefs are slowly helping to establish a future dining scene for the country and the accolades keep on coming. In 2014, the Michelin Guide in Germany featured 11 restaurants with a three-star rating, second in Europe only to France, the original home of the guide.
Regional food focus, conscious diners, consumers who are more than happy to forego a serving of meat for a great vegetable-driven dish, all make up this new German dining sector. Bernd Matthies is a German food journalist who has written about dining in his home country for over 10 years. A close follower of developments in the culinary sector, he has some interesting views on the rise of German cuisine.
"German chefs are always perfect in craftsmanship," he says, explaining why he thinks his home country may have performed so well in Michelin guides in recent years. He thinks that, technically, chefs in Germany are of the highest standard with an ability to assimilate a huge number of ingredients in one dish, sometimes as many as 35. "If you like this style, you will find Germany to be one of the most fascinating countries anywhere."
Matthies doesn't think there has been any fundamental change in the German dining scene over the last 10 years but does think that this could be about to change as outside influences open the door to a potential new food trend. "There is a return to more purity and concentration, some chefs are working very hard with vegetables, and this could lead to a point of German cuisine mixing Scandinavian inputs with more technical perfection to the next big thing."
The S.Pellegrino Kulinarische Auslese guide compiles listings from seven culinary guides: Michelin, Gault Millau, Varta, Der Feinschmecker, Schlemmer Atlas, A la carte and Falstaff. The guide is also available as a free app to download for anyone wishing to explore the wonderful cuisine of Germany and Austria: the 2014 edition will be available within few weeks.