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Portrait Chef Norbert Niederkofler - Hotel Rosa Alpina

Chef Norbert

1. Tesi: Norbert, you are the Chef of the restaurant St. Hubertus at Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa in Italy, nestled in the Dolomites. Can you tell me about the concept and history of your restaurant?

Chef Norbert: The history is very simple: I never planned to come back to Italy, but Paolo Pizzinini, owner of the Rosa Alpina hotel, asked me to help him bring the hotel to another level. He wanted it to become a Relais & Chateaux, but the kitchen needed work. So, I started with a very clear idea of a pizzeria, and we slowly transformed it into a 2 Michelin star restaurant. In the beginning, we featured Italian-Mediterranean cuisine, but for the past six years, we've been working with the concept to "cook the mountains." Working with producers and products from the mountains; respecting nature; the way we work; treating products in the correct, sustainable way; and using everything without making waste. This year, we are celebrating 20 years of St. Hubertus.



2. Tesi: I have seen on your website that your menu offers a wide range of culinary delicacies. Please describe what you are creating and how you get your inspiration.

Chef Norbert: "Cook the mountains" means taking inspiration from nature –putting nature first. With our knowledge and experience, we bring nature to the plate as naturally as possible. When you use all possible techniques, respect nature, and follow the signs, you don't need recipes. You just have to work with the products from the season and the area.

article 1998 Bue di malga fienoDanielTöchterle

3. Tesi: What is your favorite dish?

Chef Norbert: It is very difficult to say which dish is my favorite. They are many, depending on the time of year. We take different approaches to create dishes. One approach is to use everything so there's no waste. Sometimes we try to recreate nature, as we did with our beetroot gnocchi with beer soil and daikon cream dish. Another thing we do is to take pictures from nature and try to rebuild it on the plate. Or, sometimes we stay more traditional and use products in more common ways but made with new knowledge.

article 2005 Trippa al latteDanielTöchterle

4. Tesi: A trend in fine dining restaurants is to relax the service while maintaining overall quality. What do you think about this trend?

Chef Norbert: There will always be fine dining, but there will also be other types of restaurants. I think every cook has to find his own way and go for it. You can just be good when you do what you are assured of and what comes from your heart and soul. There are too many people around who are just coping – it isn't sustainable, especially at high levels – so you have to be yourself in the restaurant so that you can be authentic.

article 2010 LumacheDanielTöchterle

5. Tesi: Norbert, what does good food mean to you?

Chef Norbert: Good food is health – you are what you eat. This is why we are working on a new event; not about lifestyle but the future of our kids and of ourselves. Cooks have to take care of themselves and of the next generation, too ; this is what we are trying to show guests and chefs from all over the world.

Thank you,
Matthias Tesi Baur

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