Interview with Chef Yannic Stockhausen, Cordo Berlin
Ruinart, the oldest Champagne Maisons in France this year adds to its artistic range another platform, fine food for the collaboration with the Brazilian artist Vik Muniz and the Chef de Cuisine Yannic Stockhausen from the well-known restaurant Cordo in Berlin.
We visited him in his gallery kitchen and had a chat about food, champagne and the arts.
IRMA: For this year’s artist collaboration the Maison Ruinart developed an additional concept, named “Shared Roots”. How is your definition of “shared roots” in your work and in context with the French chef David Toutain, who had created a seated dinner in Reims?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN: Inspiration always starts with good ingredients. The dishes I created for the “Shared Roots” project came very naturally to me because ever since I was starting out as a chef I loved to work with roots. The very name “Shared Roots” is evocative, and I love sharing with my guests this unique menu, just as I believe David Toutain is doing with his guests. I had the opportunity to visit Reims for a dinner hosted by Maison Ruinart for the project, and while I was there I got to witness the passion, love and energy of Vik Muniz, David Toutain and Frederic Panaiotis for this project. I was completely infected by this energy and immediately started to come up with ideas for my own menu. Throughout the process of creation and inspiration, it’s become clear to me that all the collaborators working on this project have the same roots, drawing inspiration from art to create new and wonderful things.
IRMA: Tell me more about the translation from the art by Vic Muniz to the dish on your plate?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN My dishes are always strong in flavour but simple and clear in their vision, just like Vik’s artwork. I saw that Vik delivers a powerful message through his works of art, but the vision always remains simple. The black and white drawings of Frederic’s hands were an inspiration for my Sturgeon dish which is also visually very black and white.
IRMA: In general does art influences your life and how your work?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN: I believe that art influences everyone. I live in Berlin, a pulsing urban metropole full of art. I don’t go one day in this city without seeing a work of art that inspires me in some way.
IRMA: The plates by David Toutain had a natural roughness to it, your plates look more round, fuller, how did you translate the concept of David and still found your very own language?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN: I think that every chef has his own unique vision for creating and plating a dish. When I met David in Reims I saw and tasted his vision of “Shared Roots.” Back in Berlin I started creating my own “Shared Roots” menu, not with the aim to copy something I had already seen and tasted but bringing my own twist to the project.
IRMA: What comes first when creating a Champagne menu?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN: Normally you begin with the flavour of your dishes and then build in your wine pairings. But this time it was different because Ruinart champagne has such a unique and strong character. Finding the perfect pairing for each champagne was a big challenge. For each bottle I had a general idea of what I wanted to do from the start, but I ended up testing a lot of different ways until I was happy with the result.
IRMA: To which extend does Berlin and the countryside around it support your work?
YANNIC STOCKHAUSEN: Berlin is an obviously a big, loud, urban city, but there are green places in and around it, as well as forests outside of the city that are great places to go and breathe. I always like to escape to the forest when I’m stressed out. There are great farms nearby and the farmers come often to present their local products. Each day you’ve got really awesome, fresh ingredients.
Have a look at the works of Vik Muniz at the DNA Gallery in Auguststrasse 20, Berlin this Gallery Weekend from the 25th till the 28th of April and book a table at Cordo Restaurant where you can experience the flavors of Yannick`s cuisine.