The 3-star Michelin chef who hates oysters
But when Heinz Beck explains why, you'll sympathise with him.August 17, 2016
Heinz Beck has an unusual quality for a three-star Michelin chef. He hates oysters. Really hates them.
Here in an interview with EDGAR he recounts the horror story behind why, and also discusses Dubai's culinary scene and who his dream dinner party guests would be.
Asking a chef to pick his favourite dish is like asking a mother which child she likes the most! I always try to do better and to create something new, so my favourite dish is the one that hasn’t been invented yet.
My philosophy is to never be over-proud of your accomplishments and to focus on what you are going to do next. The day I believe I’ve reached perfection, I will hang up my apron.
Less is more
The older I become the more I start to believe in the philosophy that ‘less is more’. These days, instead of looking at what I can add to a dish, I prefer to look at it with the mind-set of ‘what can I take away’ without compromising its flavour.
When I was younger, I worked as Sous Chef for Heinz Winkler [the first Italian chef to receive three-Michelin stars]. He had the biggest impact on the way I think about food and was the one who encouraged me to move from Germany to Italy to open my own restaurant.
Moving to a new country with a great food culture ultimately forced me to develop a new way of thinking – one where I had to constantly reinvent the way I approached my work. That idea forms the basis of everything I do today. I tell my staff to never stop innovating – a weak fish swims with the current; but a strong fish will always try to swim against it.
Through the fire
As the boss, you have to lead by example via hard work and passion. If you set the right examples, then your staff will go through the fire for you.
The Dubai challenge
Food is an important aspect of Dubai’s social scene – you can see that by how quickly it has developed compared to other cities in the Middle East. Nowhere else in the region can match Dubai in terms of variety and opportunity with regards to dining.
Avoid the oysters
I hate oysters. I will cook with them, but I will never eat them. The last time I had them was in Paris at my friend’s three-star Michelin restaurant. I asked him to make me a menu and, bang, the first dish he gave me was oysters! I ate them, and just about made it back to the hotel before I was sick! I spent the whole night over the toilet. The next morning I had to go to another three-star Michelin restaurant with oysters on the menu! I’ve never had an oyster since.
Dream dinner party
I would love to cook a dinner for Julius Caeser, Confucius and Nelson Mandela. They are all brilliant and simple people who helped created society as we know it and will have a lasting impact. I feel that these days, life is lived at a such a hectic pace that we are just chasing shadows – so I am more interested in talking to people from history.
Art on a plate
Being a chef is like being a painter. You create pieces that come from your imagination and creativity. But as a chef, all your hard work normally gets eaten in two seconds.
Social by Heinz Beck, Waldorf Astoria The Palm, Dubai. waldorfastoria3.hilton.com