One month ago Noémi and I were part of a very special and unique evening: we had to cook and plate a three-course menu for 60 people at the mesa Restaurant of the Hotel Grand Hyatt in Berlin. Several famous people from the German gastronomy scene were among the invited guests like restaurant critic and “taster of the nation” Wolfram Siebeck and his wife Barbara, the celebrity chefs Cornelia Poletto and Ali Güngörmüs as well as the former German Minister of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture and possibly the next Mayor of Berlin Renate Künast. It was the final of the 2011 ZEIT cooking competition, where we were invited as finalists for the final cook-off.
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The Pink Dessert
The final dish of my meatless menu for the 2011 ZEITmagazin cooking competition is a variation of strawberry. I usually make the cake using rhubarb instead of strawberry and yoghurt for the mousse, but unfortunately the rhubarb season was already over when the competition was held. Because Goji-berries are about the same size as raisins, I used them similarly by soaking them in rum and adding them afterwards to the sponge cake base. Already in the cake alone there are three variations of strawberry present: diced and orange liquer marinated strawberry pieces, a light strawberry-yoghurt mousse and a quarter of raw strawberry at the top.
The Orange Main Course
In the main course of my meatless menu for the 2011 ZEITmagazin cooking competition I wanted to present the carrot from different perspectives. The base is formed by a clean tasting creamy carrot puree. After cooking the carrots I put them back on the hot stove to dry them out a bit. Afterwards, while blending to a fine puree I adjusted the consistency if the puree by adding some raw carrot juice. Carrots tend to loose a lot of flavor during cooking – by adding carrot juice later I managed to reincorporate the clean carrot flavor into the puree.
The Green Appetizer
I submitted this starter and the following two recipes to the 2011 ZEITmagazin cooking competition. The topic of the call was to create a meatless menu, though not strictly vegetarian, because fish was still allowed. While thinking about what to submit, I had the idea to tighten the limitations and create each dish using only one single color. There are plenty of ingredients available during spring and summer, so I thought, it’s a realistic and solvable task. The dish below was the starter for the competition, consisting only green ingredients.