On May 7 and 8, the premiere of the new JRE Genusslabor 2.0 was celebrated at Tobias Bätz's restaurant "Aura by Alexander Herrmann und Tobias Bätz" in Wirsberg, Bavaria. Here are some exclusive insights into the exciting event.
For the first time, four guest chefs took part in the event alongside JRE members. Together, the participants faced a cooking challenge and created a 5-course menu in an unique location. The goal of this culinary challenge was to discover new things and develop innovative, creative approaches - true to the motto "thinking outside the box". The result: extraordinary dishes and an intensive exchange among the chefs.
Cooking on equal footing
Participating JRE members Jason Grom ("Die Burg," Donaueschingen-Aasen), Harald Rüssel ("Rüssels Landhaus," Naurath im Wald), Alexander Wulf ("Troyka", Erkelenz) and Maurizio Oster ("Zeik", Hamburg) teamed up with three guest chefs and a YouTuber for the cooking experiment. They included "Kitchen Impossible" contestant Graciela Cucchiara, Robert Brosowski aka "CrispyRob," "The Taste" contestant Victoria Fonseka and "Wir in Bayern" chef Diana Burkel. This new concept of the Genusslabor deliberately posed a new challenge to the top chefs of Jeunes Restaurateurs: collaborating with unfamiliar teammates aimed to entice Rüssel & Co. out of their typical comfort zone and established routine.
In addition, for the first time in this format, the chefs were not able to prepare for the Genusslabor with their own ingredients. In fact, part of the cooking challenge was to use all the ingredients from the food market, that took place the day before, and from other unconventional locations.
Exciting start: raffle of the teams and courses
On day one, the participants met for the first time in the Schlossgarten of Wirsberg. There, under beautiful weather conditions, the teams and courses were determined through a raffle. Maurizio Oster and Victoria Fonseka received the starter, Jason Grom and Diana Burkel the intermediate course. The team Alexander Wulf and CrispyRob was assigned the fish course, while Harald Rüssel had the opportunity to collaborate with Graciela Cucchiara and focus on the main course. In addition, each team was to prepare its own contribution for the joint dessert.
The courses - experimental and refined
After four hours of focused work, the individual teams presented their dishes. It started with an appetizer by Maurizio Oster and Victoria Fonseka: organic egg, forest smoke, mustard cabbage, begonias. The poached egg was served on pakchoi leaves along with a foamed and flamed hollandaise topping. The vinaigrette on natural mustard cabbage provided a sweet and acid balance. Praised by all the dining participants as a clever addition to add a crunch: the roasted hazelnut. The slightly tart begonia flowers completed the dish.
BU: Appetizer: Organic Egg | Woodsmoke | Mustard Cauliflower | Begonias by Maurizio Oster and Victoria Fonseka.
For the entrée, Jason Grom and Diana Burkel focused on precisely cooked "lax" with roasted flavors. The collected forest herbs such as meadow foam herb and ribwort plantain gave the course a particularly fresh aroma. The component of the Haskap berry, originally from Siberia and still unknown to many, with a tart-sweet note, attracted particular attention. Diana Burkel: "This berry was completely unknown to me before but tastes absolutely fantastically. I'll probably cook with it more often in the future."
BU: Intermediate course: burnt lax | smoked fish | mushroom | haskap by Jason Grom and Diana Burkel.
For the fish course, Alexander Wulf and the YouTuber CrispyRob served a duet of shrimp and trout under the name "Forest Walk." In preparing the course, the two chefs with Kazakh roots worked exclusively with the fire pits provided. The result: a powerful dish with an intense smoky aroma. The foundation consisted of two ucha sauces derived from the traditional Russian fish soup of the same name - one remained true to tradition, while the other was transformed into a milk-infused foam. Shrimp were cooked over the fire and served both smoked and as tartare. The trout, also smoked, was flavored with mustard seeds and bold spices. Inspired by CrispyRob, the chefs added a deep-fried ramen noodle to provide a crunchy element. Grated beet from Future Lab provided the finish.
BU: Fish course: "Forest walk" - duet of shrimp & trout by Alexander Wulf and CrispyRob.
For the main course, Harald Rüssel and Graciela Cucchiara came up with something original titled "Dos Lamms". They merged their nationalities and culinary backgrounds, creating two distinct preparations of Poltinger lamb. One was prepared in a classic style with sauce, while the other had an Argentine touch - which means that the lamb is served on wood-fired bread, so the gravy soaks into the bread for a distinct flavor. A combination of cooked sugarloaf with a strong bitter note, artichokes from Future Lab, mojo, and chickpeas with salt lemon completed the dish.
BU: Main course: "Dos Lamms" | sugarloaf | artichoke | mojo | wood-fired bread | salt lemon by Harald Rüssel and Graciela Cucchiara.
Lastly, the cooking duos dished up their "Dolce Vita" desserts. Victoria Fonseka and Maurizio Oster created a chocolate cream with spruce needle syrup and lemons as well as a crunchy breadcrumb coating of Japanese panko breadcrumbs. Diana Burkel and Jason Grom varied the classic "Armer Ritter" with cherry sour cream and knotweed. Graciela Cucchiara and Harald Rüssel presented an olive oil panna cotta combined from ingredients such as raspberries, balsamic vinegar and knotweed. CrispyRob and Alexander Wulf provided plums from the Future Lab as garnish.
Intense conversations and happy chefs
The prepared dishes were tasted together by invited guests and the chefs. After each course, there was an intensive exchange about the taste experiences presented on the plates - always characterized by much praise and appreciation. In Genusslabor 2.0, a symbiosis of exciting ingredients and enthusiasm for cooking manifests itself in the completion of each dish on the plate.
BU: Everyone helps with the preparation - JRE President Oliver Röder, Harald Rüssel, Maurizio Oster, Alexander Wulf (from left to right).
Get an impression of the Genusslabor 2.0 for yourself! Check out an atmospheric post-event report on YouTube.
"The premiere of the Genusslabor 2.0 exceeded all our expectations. We were able to welcome great guest chefs. All eight participants had fun experimenting. Our members were also willing to step out of their comfort zone and work under unfamiliar conditions. This was a very special JRE moment."