You have come from the world of top gastronomy, and have worked with Michelin-starred chefs such as Alfons Schubeck and Eckard Witzigmann. What fascinates you now about working in a clinic kitchen?
Here at the Klinik im Alpenpark, the interaction between the chef and the guests is far more intensive, even just because people stay here for longer and because of the individual nutritional advice consultations we hold with our patients. I find it a particular challenge, and it’s also a personal passion of mine to support sick people with healthy and delicious dishes.
What sets the culinary concept at the Klinik im Alpenpark apart?
We don’t have a preference for any particular country’s cuisines – instead we focus on a combination of fresh, seasonal and regional produce. For me, fresh isn’t just about not using ready-made products, it’s also about finding the fastest possible route from farm to fork. We take particular care in preparing our fresh ingredients to maintain as many of the vitamins, minerals and trace elements as possible. When selecting fruit and vegetables, we follow the cycle of nature. If you concentrate on what’s available seasonally, you will automatically have a varied and high-quality diet. We also place great value on where our produce comes from, and work very closely with regional suppliers who provide us with our fish, cheese, dairy products and meat. We believe that regional products are not just about adhering to the local food culture, but that they are also an expression of our sense of responsibility to our region
What do you learn from the patients?
I am constantly learning from our patients to be grateful and humane. I am now even more appreciative of what a great gift our health is. The period of rehabilitation is an intensive time that requires a lot of work on your body and mind. Every day, I learn how I can support patients with that. With good, honest and tasty food prepared properly. Or by creating a good mood at breakfast so our patients start the day on a positive note. Or with a surprise recipe – for example my homemade redcurrant spread with white chocolate and cassis. It lights up patients’ eyes, and lets the healing process begin.
The ‘Anna Suite’, our clinic’s largest, is named after Anna Klitzsch, the founder of our traditional family-run clinic on Lake Tegernsee. The young Anna, who had settled in the spa region with her seriously ill husband Ludwig, established the clinic as an ‘Alpine sanatorium’ in the mid- 20th century. Since then, the facility has developed to become a modern centre of medicine for rehabilitation and psychosomatic therapies, and is today a symbol of luxurious facilities and clinical excellence.