As he crafts his cuisine, the head chef at Frankfurt’s two-Michelin-star Restaurant Lafleur draws upon childhood memories and natural flavors.
It’s a spring morning. A timid sun attempts to warm the German countryside, where a child stands gazing, wonderstruck, at a family vegetable garden. When Andreas Krolik was three years old, he had no idea he would become one of his country’s greatest chefs. Instead, he was focused on a funny little vegetable, rosy and perfect – a radish that came up from the ground easily when he pulled on its leaves. And he would never forget the taste. “Delicious, absolutely delicious,” he says today, smiling. “I remember the texture, the flavor – it’s my earliest memory of a ‘feast,’ but it’s just as vivid to me today.”
A feast? In a radish? Decades later, Andreas Krolik holds fast to that notion and channels it into the dishes he concocts at Frankfurt’s Restaurant Lafleur, awarded two Michelin stars. “I’m proud of all the ingredients I use. Every single one of them, even the most basic. Because I’m constantly on the lookout for ingredients that have a unique taste all their own, one that will be even more exquisite as all these flavors combine. There’s no such thing as noble foods and less-noble foods. If I use peas, seafood, and carrots together in a dish, for example, I want each ingredient to be of unparalleled quality.” Such exacting standards also keep the chef from making a distinction between a “good” dish and a “delicious” dish. “There’s no such difference in my cooking. Because the only thing that makes a dish interesting at all is that unique, extra flavor that reflects the chef’s personality.” The kind of taste, most likely, that was found in a spring radish in an East German garden years ago.