WINNER! A huge congratulations to Marcel Reß for his success on TV’s Top Chef, who is set to launch an exciting new project at La Villa Wesco in Santa Maria de Camí.
Thanks to the famous television cooking competition programme Top Chef, the star cook Marcel Reß, who lives on Mallorca, has become famous throughout Spain. Now he wants to work his magic in the kitchen independently and talks to Andreas John about his plans.
Do you know the German town Unterwaldbehrungen? No? Well, don’t worry; you are not the only one. This village of 300 souls in Unterfranken had not so far drawn too much attention to itself – until now. Marcel Reß could change this. The 27-year-old Unterwaldbehrunger with residency on Mallorca is about to appear as a new star on the Iberian gastronomic horizon.
Without a doubt the German has cooked himself into the hearts of the spectators during the weekly reality cooking competition Top Chef on Spain’s Antena 3 TV channel. Crowned the king of Top Chef where does he go from here?
Do you still manage to walk through the streets of Palma without being recognized?
It´s getting harder (he laughs). It was worse in Madrid at the beginning. There, it sometimes happened that, when I was sitting in a restaurant, people got up from five tables at the same time just to ask me for a photo. And here on Mallorca more and more people recognize me. I don´t have a problem with that though, I am always up for a selfie.
Chefs are known as shy creatures who like to hide behind their stove….
It has been like that until now. Nowadays, if you want to be successful as an executive chef you need to step away from behind the stove and present yourself to the guests. The contact with the customer is essential. When you reach a certain level, people do want to know who has prepared their meal. Moreover, many hobby chefs cook really well these days and want to pick up tips and inspiration while visiting gourmet restaurants. For that, the chef has to be prepared to come to their table though.
The series Top Chef has enthused millions of spectators in Spain. The majority of the people watching the programme might be able to manage cooking only a tortilla at home. Where do you think this hype over starred-cuisine comes from – a cuisine which a normal Spaniard usually cannot even afford?
I think it´s mainly due to the extreme conditions under which we had to solve the required tasks; it´s incredibly difficult to cook in only 45 minutes at such a high level. It requires a lot of improvisation. In addition, there´s the human aspect, the different characters who coincide repeatedly to compete with or against each other. Things like that are just fascinating.
How did you feel as the only foreigner among all the Spanish?
I was worried that my Spanish would not be sufficient for a programme where the participants have to constantly answer questions in front of the cameras, but it turned out that there was no need to be worried. I got on just fine with my fellow players as well as with the production team; although I did suffer with quite a few tasks.
The competition was obviously aimed at putting us into stressful situations. When we travelled to Istanbul, for example, we knew about it only when we were handed our boarding cards at the airport in Madrid. As a professional chef you just always know where everything is, every ingredient, every knife, your pots and tools. Everything is always in its place. At Top Chef this was different. We would constantly be confronted with completely new situations. Therefore, we were under constant pressure which sometimes resulted in friction between the participants.
Be honest!: Weren´t many of the dialogues and situations staged beforehand?
No. Obviously there was a concept which was followed while we were shooting the programme but other than that we were just behaving normally.
Do you think we will see you as a television chef on the screen in the future?
If you asked me today if I would compete in Top Chef again, I would probably say no. But I do not want to rule out maybe taking part in another interesting TV project at some stage.
So now, having won Top Chef what is your next move?
I have taken up a position with the German company Villa Wesco as the Master Chef of their Cooking Academy on Mallorca: ‘Wesco Cooking by Res(s)’. We will be offering cookery courses as well as culinary and cultural highlights.
When will you open your own restaurant?
I am currently working on it. What will become of this, I cannot tell you yet; maybe some kind of exclusive bistro-restaurant. But my goal is set: I want to cook my own star.
You will be faithful to the island though?
I feel really comfortable on Mallorca and have made many friends, also among the locals. Nevertheless, I did get offers from Germany and the main land. My first choice would always be Mallorca though.
More about Villa Wesco
Great fun for foodies on Mallorca, Villa Wesco in Santa Maria del Camí is an experience centre fusing shopping with cooking classes and events from TV’s Top Chef. […] Villa Wesco Mallorca
Villa Wesco is well on its way to the official opening. The new brand concept centre held a special party introducing visitors to the facilities. […] Excitement builds at Villa Wesco
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