In the Black Forest, where Michelin stars are as abundant as cuckoo clocks, Germany's most famous chef plans his newest restaurant.
The first thing you notice about the Black Forest is that it is full of light. Between clusters of towering conifers are vineyards and fields that produce white asparagus and fragrant strawberries. Hilltop castles straight out of a Grimm's fairy tale stand over small, wealthy cities with Michelin-starred restaurants; the tiny village of Baiersbronn has as many three-star restaurants as London. The Black Forest is also renowned as the birthplace of many German clichés, from cuckoo clocks to the eponymous chocolate-cherry cakes and ham.
Yet the region has recently become interesting enough to attract the attention of Tim Mälzer, Germany's most famous chef. The idea that something modern could happen in the tired Black Forest appealed to Mälzer, who is known for rebelling against stuffy German fine dining. Mälzer was born outside of Hamburg but got his start in London, after failing to land a job at any of his New York City restaurant choices. He cooked for just one day under Marco Pierre White in London ("Gordon Ramsay was his sous-chef then. I was gone in 45 minutes"). Eventually, he was hired at Neal Street Restaurant, where Jamie Oliver was also working. Mälzer is now a TV star known for two hugely successful Hamburg restaurants: the chef's-menu-only spot Das Weisse Haus (which he left in 2007) and the meat-centric Bullerei, located in an old, brick horse-stable yard.