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Neues aus der Gastroszene.

Der EssPress im Jahresabo,

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Sabine Hueck


Sabine Hueck | São Paulo in Berlin

       04. February 2011       

One taste of your food and we're hooked – what's your magic ingredient? Do you put drugs in there?

No drugs, just herbs, based on a very old family recipe that's been sealed with seven seals. Throw in a pleasant atmosphere, some champagne, just the right crowd, very good music, candle light and a passion for food and cooking. It's less about the five-course meal than about catering to your guests' needs. Hospitality shouldn't be a staged event, as is unfortunately often the case. A good host has to bring forward a genuine feeling of affection towards his or her guests.

What would you use to describe your cuisine? World Cuisine, Brazilian food?

My kitchen embodies a very strong reference to fresh Brazilian cuisine from São Paolo. When immigrants from Japan, Italy, Syria, Lebanon and Germany arrived there, they had to cook with new methods and ingredients. The essence of what we've been calling „fusion cuisine“ here finds its origins in Brazil – I grew up with authentic fusion meals. They're not „invented“ combinations like you'd find in a lot of other restaurants here but rather methods and mixtures that have developed and been tended to over the course of many years. We season our Caponata with Okra (without glibb) much stronger than they would in Italy. It lasts much longer that way and can be re-appropriated for cold cuts.

Another real treat – your cakes and home-made chocolates. How were you introduced to the art of pastries?

I was schooled on weekends and during the holidays by my grandmother, who was from Berlin. She owned a small pastry shop by the beach near São Paolo. People would travel from places two hours away to get their hands on her „German“ delicacies. She simply swapped strawberries, rhubarb and cherries for star fruit, pineapple and juicy mango. I would go swimming in the mornings and help out at the bakery in the afternoons. I wouldn't say that Berliners are the best confectioners but my grandmother was a very modern woman in her day who owned a magnificent collection of recipes. That collection remains a family heirloom I now own.

Why won't you open up a café or a restaurant?

With the pleasure I take in cooking and treating my guests, I consider it unfair to take money from them. Well, that's only half the truth. In reality, I kind of dread that, as a restaurant proprietor, I'd have to subjugate creative cooking to economic efficiency.

But you used to own a catering firm and teach cooking classes, whereas today, you only publish cook books. Why?

Those are all phases. As of late, I've been delving into, collecting and refining so many great recipes that I just felt the urge to document and distribute. Right now, I'm just taking a time out while my cooking classes and my catering are still running, albeit on a smaller scale. The focus is on the cook books. The feeling I get from sharing the details of my gastronomical travels and experiences is simply priceless!

How long did it take to produce your book „Höllisch scharf und himmlisch süß“ (Devishly hot and heavenly sweet) ?

As long as it took for my friend Margit Knapp to learn how to cook, which was a beautiful process with many ups and downs, humorously recounted and a recollection of true events. Margit Knapp, who's primarily an author and film-maker, said that she couldn't cook, that she relied mainly on frozen foods. That was something I just could not accept. It took a lot of fun and little tricks to bring turn Margit into a joyful cook. I'm very proud of the Margit Knapp als Buchautorin und Filmmacherin meinte, sie könnte nicht kochen, ihre Speisen kamen aus der Tiefkühltruhe. Das konnte ich einfach nicht akzeptieren. Mit viel Spaß und kleinen Tricks habe ich sie nach und nach zur Freude am Kochen gebracht. We're both very proud of the outcome.

You're known for being anything but a lagger while cooking. What about those desserts in the Frauenkochbuch (women's cook book) ?

When Ulf Meyer invited me to contribute to the book, he told me the desserts needed to be tasty, light, and low in calories. That hit the nail on the head because that's the way I cook. It turned up lovely recipes: mousse-au-chocolat with tonka beans sans whipped cream, crispy apple turnovers so light I would gobble up the whole tray sometimes. Marcuja-sorbet and champagne-hibiscus-jelly are a bit more elaborate to make, but those recipes can be simplified. Not everyone needs to make the hibiscus-syrup from scratch the way I did – a lot of gourmet shops sell it ready-made.

 You've definitely got the looks – Why have you been steering clear of television?

Because television is its own little universe with very specific rules and pitfalls. But I wouldn't be generally opposed if the concept and pitch seemed right.

 You're working on a new cook book?

It's called COCINA SABINA – in it, I introduce my favorite recipes spread over 160 pages and accompanied by more than 80 pictures. I've accumulated over 300 recipes during my during my travels and the last years I spent teaching in Berlin. A selection of these will be published as a book by Tre Torri around easter .

What's your favorite meal at the moment?

I just sent this to the publishers: crunchy hearts of palm rolls, coated with parmesan and turnip cabbage leaves, topped with a pesto marinade – a culinary dream come true.


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