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Schlosshotel Lerbach.

Restaurant of a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux and hotel in the woods. Germany,Bergisch Gladbach

Nils Henkel

Schlosshotel Lerbach Bergisch Gladbach D-51465

Nils Henkel : Originally the decision to become a chef was, for me, based on pure reason. After my first encounter with starred cuisine, however, I was hooked and wanted to cook on that level. So my profession rapidly became a vocation.

I did my training in a rather solid, small restaurant. That’s where I learned above all to prepare fresh products. At the Landhaus Scherrer in Hamburg, I cooked for the first time in a starred kitchen. After a few other appointments, my dream came true in 1997 when I started as sous chef in Dieter Müller’s team. In 2004 I became a fully fledged executive chef, and in 2008, Dieter Müller handed over the complete management of his restaurant to me. I am particularly proud and pleased that, after taking over, I succeeded in maintaining the 3 stars, which the restaurant has held since 1997.

My style of cuisine is, in principle, French, although I like to draw on Asian and avant-garde elements. I appreciate in particular Mediterranean aromas. For me, the guests’ enjoyment is always paramount. The harmonious composition of a menu is important and guests should not be overstretched by having to try and follow the chef’s reflections.

What was your most moving culinary experience?
Nils Henkel : A wonderful meal at Louis XV in Monaco, an experience I would hate to have missed, as well as an excellent tajine which I was invited to partake of by a Moroccan family in Fez.

The most amusing kitchen incident you ever witnessed?
Nils Henkel : Difficult to say, we normally have a good atmosphere and lots of fun in the kitchen.

Your best piece of advice for amateur chefs?
Nils Henkel : Never take shortcuts with products – good quality is the foundation for a great meal.


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