For 25 years, from 1992 to 2017, Harald Wohlfahrt’s cuisine was awarded three stars in the Michelin Guide. Beyond that, however, he was the undisputed number one in German top gastronomy during these years. The combination of continuity and the highest national excellence is almost unique in the field of top gastronomy worldwide.
To be at the top for a quarter of a century is like a miracle in our fast-moving times. Let’s remember. In 1992, Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the USA, Microsoft had launched the Windows 3.1 operating system, and Franz Josef Strauß Airport had gone into operation in Munich. Of course, it’s no wonder that massive upheavals have also taken place in top gastronomy over these 25 years. From a stronger articulation of individual country cuisines reaching into all continents vis-à-vis French cuisine, the mother of haute cuisine, to a more health-oriented leaner approach, more precise cooking methods, and new technical possibilities.
The second generation of the German kitchen miracle
Harald Wohlfahrt had ascended to the throne of number one in the early 1990s as a representative of the second generation of the so-called German kitchen miracle. Following the impressive years of the founders – primarily Eckart Witzigmann in Munich and the Müller brothers in Wertheim-Bettingen – Harald Wohlfahrt was pivotal in deepening and expanding their achievements. He interpreted the classic French art of cooking in a contemporary way and carefully opened it up to regional, German and international tastes. In the struggle for a maximum of taste and with a craftsmanship ethos revolving around absolute perfection, Harald Wohlfahrt created plates of hitherto unseen aromatic complexity. This drew circles, not only in the form of awards, but also through the multitude of his students. Today theses are largely responsible for an impressive German restaurant landscape, both in terms of excellence and breadth.
“To create something outstanding in the kitchen, the highest quality of products is a given. The decisive factor is, above all, the form of preparation I choose.”Harald Wohlfahrt
Looking at the question of “why”
This book (in German only) brings together 35 of his classic recipes from more than two decades. These were realized by Harald Wohlfahrt and his team in authentic plate compositions that are marked by their time of origin, but at the same time timeless in their quality.
The recipes are accompanied by short essays by Stefan Pegatzky, which illustrate the special character of Wohlfahrt’s cuisine and convey something of the culinary meaning that underlies each dish: How it is constructed, for example, why Harald Wohlfahrt combines certain ingredients, or how the dish is connected to culinary tradition. Unlike a cookbook, this is less about the “how” and more about the more elementary question of “why.” Recipes and essays are preceded by a lengthy interview conducted with him by Stefan Pegatzky and an introduction. In it the reader learns a great deal about Harald Wohlfahrt, the very special man and his unique life’s work. (From my foreword to the first edition 2018)
35 Signature Dishes. Limited Special Edition
With texts and an interview by Stefan Pegatzky
264 pages, format: 28 x 29 cm,
hardcover, numerous illustrations
© of the images from the book: Tre Torri Verlag / 3c4x food photography, London/Berlin
© of the other photos: Stefan Pegatzky/Time Tunnel Images