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Relationships Between Fields, Mountains and Kitchens, with Norbert Niederkofler [DE]
7 December 2020 @ 18:00 - 19:00
Norbert Niederkofler’s Restaurant St. Hubertus is located at over 1700 meters above sea level, and this is reflected in his cuisine: With his philosophy of “Cook the mountain”, he has been cooking an ethical alpine cuisine which focuses on local products for two decades. This has not only earned him 3 Michelin stars, but has also and above all supported numerous small producers and the preservation of the cultural landscape of South Tyrol. Like us at Die Gemeinschaft, he is convinced that gastronomy can accelerate cultural processes and has a significant leverage function due to its diverse relationships. ⠀
Since 2016 he has been pursuing the goal of spreading the importance of ethical cuisine beyond the boundaries of his restaurant with CARE’s – The ethical Chef Days.
We would like to know from Norbert how he built up relationships with producers and suppliers in his region, what challenges he faced and what we can learn from them. How does a cooperation between field and kitchen look like in practice? What does it mean for the temporality of restaurant work? What kind of opportunities does this create?
Norbert Niederkofler was born in Luttach and grew up in the heart of the Dolomites, where he got to know the rhythms of nature in time with the seasons. Despite his great love for his country, he admits that he became a cook for a reason: to explore the world – and he does that. After completing his training he worked in London, Zurich, Milan and Munich. In the latter he meets his mentor Eckart Witzigmann, with whom he works together for a year and learns the love for nature and culinary perfection from him. After this time he travels to New York, where David Bouley introduces him to the secrets of innovation and where he begins to develop his own style. In 1994 he began his career at the Rosa Alpina restaurant in St. Kassian in Badia and, inspired by Italian-Austrian cuisine, he transformed the former pizzeria into a more delicate restaurant.
He opens the St. Hubertus, with which he receives the first Michelin star in 2000 and the second in 2007. From this moment on, he begins to take to heart the principles of ethical cooking, which relies on relationships between people on several levels: from the producers, to the territory, to the guests. However, the importance of human values must be accompanied by respect for nature, the environment and animals. For this reason Norbert decides to use only ingredients that follow the seasons, the course of time and which are 100% local.
At the same time, he begins his commitment to the distribution of projects with social impact and the promotion of an ethical food culture. In 2005 he founded the start-up company Mo-Food, with which he took over the management of various projects. The most successful and, as an ambassador of his philosophy, certainly the strongest is CARE’s – The ethical Chef Days, which since 2016 has pursued the goal of spreading the importance of an ethical attitude in the kitchen beyond the boundaries of the restaurant.