Christoph Schrön (32), "Chef de cuisine" of the "Brasserie", moved back to the north after his apprenticeship at the "Hotel Palace" in Berlin via the professional stations "Schloss Elmau" and "Parkhotel Frank" in Bavaria; first to the "Columbia Hotel Casino" in Travemünde and then to the "Boathouse" in Hamburg. Since 2017 he has been managing our "Brasserie" in the hotel "Hanseatischer Hof"
together with Bruno Hillmann as his mentor.
Mr. Schroen, you grew up in Mecklenburg.
Has it influenced your work?
A lot! Mecklenburg cuisine is regional and very versatile. It is sometimes said to be hearty, with lots of pork, potato dumplings and high calorie desserts. But this is only one aspect. When I come to think of our local cuisine, I tend to think of regional game and fish, similar as in Schleswig-Holstein.
Regional cuisine is a trend today.
Is it important for you too?
Absolutely, and it is for every ambitious chef. Hardly anything brings us closer to a region than its cuisine and wines. Whenever you travel to another country, you visit its restaurants, and your taste experiences certainly remain among your vacation memories later on. Regional cuisine shapes and influences the way of life there. We are very pleased that our guests become increasingly interested in the origins of the ingredients we use and even ask sometimes.
Does it have to do with sustainability too?
The respect for food comes along with it. On our part we contribute by using many local ingredients, including picking mushrooms and berries on our own, to prepare delicious jams and juices - that, of course, makes a big impression. At the hotel, we use a lot of fresh fruit for our breakfast buffet as well as make fruity teas from peels. And since our hotel participates in the "bee careful" initiative to protect bees, we serve our honey directly from the honeycomb.
What would you say distinguishes the "Brasserie" from the "Hanseaten and Holsten-Restaurant" in the "Hanseatischer Hof"?
In France, a brasserie rather stands for a bistro where people would rather drop in between appointments or while they do shopping to eat exquisite but at the same time light meals. That's why we chose to concentrate on just a few courses and only put accent onto one ingredient. For example
Gurnard with wild broccoli and fregola sarda.
Focus is our motto, a creative and innovative cuisine, with focus on regional food, but with some international influences mixed up.
What is your main focus in your work?
That's quite simple: quality is our top priority. For example, we buy meat and fish with the "Label Rouge" seal of quality, high quality coming from near-natural animal husbandry. Both origin and processing can be verified at every stage of production and processing. Trends are less important to us. Instead, we rather prefer to literally think outside the box. For a dessert, for example, we combine light and dark nougat with candied olives. For us, it's all about simple dishes whose refined flavors we choose to rediscover and aim to seduce and please our guests. But at the same time we want them to eat well and be able to satisfy their hunger!
In a restaurant kitchen, work is timed to the minute, with each process precisely timed.
How do you recharge in your free time? Do you hand over the reins in your own kitchen at home?
On the contrary! I can't imagine one single day of my life without cooking. At home I try out ideas that I don't have time for at work. Then I would discuss a new creation with the team and we would present it on Instagram or Facebook. That's how I find out how it's being received visually. We're always developing something new. Among our next projects are little finger snacks for our bar and possibly an in-house craft beer.
Last question: Do you have a favorite dish or do you favor a particular ingredient?
No (laughs). That would be a limitation.