BERLIN'S CULINARY STAR
Hilda Hoy spoke with celebrated chef and restaurateur Tim Raue about his plans for the future and his predictions for Berlin’s food scene.
Tim Raue is something of a hometown culinary hero. The story of his rise from the streets of Kreuzberg – where he spent part of his youth in a notorious gang – to the highest echelons of Berlin’s restaurant scene is a captivating one. But what’s really won over fans is Raue’s culinary style, a daring and precise fusion of European haute cooking and the Asian cuisines he admires.
After landing his first chef job in the late 1990s, Raue quickly ascended the culinary ranks and reaped awards and accolades along the way – not least a handful of Michelin stars. Today, he is the force behind no less than four Berlin restaurants (see below) and one in Munich, with big aspirations that will soon take him abroad. But even as he prepares to open a restaurant in Dubai this fall, he remains a Berlin boy bound to his roots.
Hilda Hoy: With your first two restaurants, Tim Raue and Sra Bua, you took inspiration from the culinary traditions of Asia. After that came La Soupe Populaire, with refined variations on traditional German cuisine. And now Colette, a French brasserie. What influences the culinary directions you take, and what comes next?
Tim Raue: There are two aspects of my work. First, the restaurants I open and the culinary concepts I realize there, and then there’s the actual core of my creative work, which is the Tim Raue restaurant. As for the restaurants, I develop those culinary concepts to suit the individual circumstances. In the future, this could mean going in even more new directions. The Tim Raue restaurant, on the other hand, is unequivocally Asian and will remain that way, as this is my culinary path and the core of my brand – at the very highest standards.
Hilda Hoy: How do you continue finding inspiration for your culinary art and the new projects that you initiate?
Tim Raue: I travel a great deal, meet people, see art exhibitions, and am a very enthusiastic visitor of department stores, where I am inspired by all kinds of visual stimuli. However, new ideas only come during the downtime, when I am feeling balanced and my head is clear.
Hilda Hoy: Since you’ve started working as a chef, the culinary scene in Berlin has changed a great deal. In recent years there have suddenly been many more Michelin stars, much more international diversity, and more foodies with ever-higher standards. What do you make of these developments?
Tim Raue: I don’t really observe the scene – I’ve never been interested in what others are doing. Regardless of this, the city of Berlin has naturally undergone strong developments, which is due to all the international business travelers and tourists coming here. I’m of the opinion, however, that one should not stray too far from one’s own city. We want to keep making restaurants for Berliners, because that’s who we are, we’re part of the city.
Hilda Hoy: In the rare case that you have free time on your hands, where do you like to go to eat and drink well?
Tim Raue: Cordobar (Große Hamburger Str. 32, www.cordobar.net), with their great wine list and aromatic, wild dishes. Osteria Centrale (Bleibtreustr. 51) is my favorite Italian place. Moon Thai in Kantstrasse (www.moonthai.de) – the lab ped is one of my absolute favorite things to eat. And Good Friends (Kantstr. 30) for Cantonese food like a mom in Sheung Wan would make it.
Hilda Hoy: You’ve traveled the world a great deal, for work and perhaps also for pleasure. Have you come across anything in your travels that you miss here? What are your hopes for Berlin’s culinary future?
Tim Raue: Berlin is currently divided: There are the hip neighborhoods in the east with practically every kind of world cuisine, while the west of the city is lagging markedly behind, because the people who come to Berlin primarily open their small restaurants and business in the hipper areas. So in principle, Berlin still has a lot of potential to develop. Especially when you consider the city is blessed with a surrounding region that puts out fantastic produce and ingredients, as is also the case with San Francisco, or even Seoul – then we can see that there is still potential for things to happen for Berlin.
Crowned with two Michelin stars, this restaurant is where Tim Raue lets his culinary passions out to play – and gets behind the stove himself whenever time permits.
The style: Haute Asian fusion
What to order: Raue’s famed signature dish, an interpretation of Peking duck
T: 030 25937930
Pan-Asian dinners on the chic, subdued ground floor of the Hotel Adlon-Kempinski.
The style: European fine dining meets Japanese and Thai cuisine
What to order: The “Ruam Gan” family-style prix fixe menu
T: 030 22611590
Raue’s newest endeavor, this French brasserie just opened in April a stone’s throw from the chic Kurfürstendamm boulevard in Charlottenburg.
The style: Classic French dishes with contemporary, upscale twists
What to order: Salade niçoise and boeuf bourguignon
Passauer Str. 5-7
T: 030 21992174
La Soupe Populaire
Currently closed for renovations.