Interview with Heinz Beck
Known for its contemporary take on modern gastronomy, Chef Heinz Beck is a chef and restauranteur of undoubted greatness. A magician in the kitchen who is always ready to pull out of his hat something amazing. It is by no coincidence that he is considered by many food critics as a true exponent of the global food industry. Indeed, Chef Heinz Beck is a culinary artist with a unique ability to transform simple ingredients into highly evocative dishes. Delicious sat down with Chef Beck to discuss his culinary journey.
You are often defined as the master of the modern kitchen. To what extent do you agree?
I’m flattered to be considered a master of the modern kitchen, I’m just doing what I love most with passion and dedication.
You are originally from Germany, but you’re known for your Italian cuisine yet you consider yourself European. Why?
I have always said that you can’t choose where to be born but you can choose where to live. From the first day I landed in Rome, I totally fell in love with the Italian history and its gastronomy culture and I cannot be happier with my choice.
In what way do you describe your cooking as “a light cuisine of Mediterranean flavours”?
We are so lucky to live and to cook in Italy, we have at our disposal the best variety of products with a great taste and quality. It would be a shame not to use them in our dishes. The Mediterranean diet is much more than a food recommendation is considered world heritage so we have to learn from it.
Why should a culinary experience go beyond presentation and taste?
I believe that it has always been like this in the history of humanity, today it is just more emphasized. I think about the emotion of the simple warm bread of the farmers’ tables to the obsessive care in producing it and in presenting it on the table with oil or butter. The culinary experiences start from the simplest tastes’ stories but certainly very significant, so that today they are perhaps a rarity and therefore a real luxury.
So, what drives Beck?
My curiosity always played a fundamental role in my kitchen.
How important are Michelin stars?
The Michelin guide makes evaluations and we must listen and learn from them.
What role does a happy kitchen play in the final product?
It has a very important role. In a kitchen, a strong team means everything; having a happy team is the key to produce something good that will give emotions to our guests.
Why is tradition the foundation of the modern kitchen?
We, as humans, now eat guided by our memory. The things we like most are the ones we liked most in the past; anyway, if we find new interesting tastes, we try and appreciate them. Therefore tradition, certainly, is a good teacher but not the only one. On a solid foundation, a house can always be renovated.
How has the culinary industry evolved over the past decades?
The food world, over the centuries, has been transformed by the change in our lifestyles and the transformations of our habits. We have always been the key to change. In recent years we have seen “speed” as a decisive factor, recently, due to the pandemic, other transformations have been activated and are still not defined. We must be able to adapt quickly, not suffering, but managing the change.
We are coming out of a pandemic that has hit hard on the restaurant industry. How can the restaurant industry get back on its feet?
I believe that, in this specific case, we must not look at the past. There is a world after the pandemic that, for several reasons, is different from the previous one and would take a very long time to explain. The clearest synthesis is expressed by the concept of resilience, which must be an operational model at least for a while. The challenge is in the ability to understand the concept and organize resources according to its rules.
What’s next for you?
I’m working on different projects around the world…
so stay tuned.