I was born in Erfurt in 1969 which, in those days of the Cold War, was part of the old East Germany. But I was lucky to grow up in a family where good food was always appreciated.
Both my grandmother and my father were keen amateur chefs and their passion for cooking encouraged me at quite an early age to take it up and experiment with their recipes.
My initial training was at the Erfurter Hof, the most famous hotel of my home town. Then in 1989 at the age of 20 I moved to East Berlin to work at the 5* Palast Hotel.
Shortly afterwards the Berlin Wall came down and I took full advantage of the new freedom of movement to take up a position in Switzerland and spent two highly formative years at the 5* Grand Hotel Regina in Grindelwald . . . this was the foundation of my knowledge of and love for classical cooking which has remained with me ever since. In 1992 I moved to London which I now consider to be my home.
Over a ten year period I worked in some of the city’s finest 5* hotels: The Dorchester, The Berkeley, The Lanesborough and Claridge’s. Then I got itchy feet again and decided to have a spell in the sun . . . I became Executive Chef at Choupana Hills Resort and Spa in Madeira, Portugal.
But it was also part of my continuing culinary education . . . I discovered fusion cuisine. A marriage of Portuguese, Asian, French and North African influences allowed me to experiment with all manner of innovative and intriguing dishes . . . in fact, during my time there the restaurant was deemed to be the best on the island by many food guides and magazines.
Then, in 2004, the opportunity arose for me to return to London as Restaurant Head Chef of the 5* Ritz Hotel in London. The chance to work with my friend, mentor and Executive Chef John Williams was too good to miss!
Together we’re doing our best to ensure the culinary baton of Escoffier and Brillat-Savarin is carried with dignity into the 21st century.