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Since its grand reopening in 2008, Zurich‘s Dolder Grand Hotel has been proud to be able to boast its German-born Chef Fine Dining Heiko Nieder. During the last few years, the Dolder Grand Restaurant has been awarded 18 GaultMillau points, two Michelin stars, and Heiko Neider himself has been awarded the title of ‘Best German Chef Abroad’ by GaultMillau Germany. Here, The Culture Trip has a chat with the highly esteemed man, to find out where his passion for food and cooking began, and what inspires his culinary delights.
When did you first start cooking, and where did you train?
I completed my apprenticeship as a chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hamburg. I then worked at a number of restaurants: the Restaurant Le Canard in Hamburg, the Hotel zur Traube in Grevenbroich and the Restaurant Vau in Berlin. I was also Head Chef for five years at the L’Orquivit in Bonn.
So you have worked in a number of cities throughout Germany, and now you are based in Zurich. Is your food influenced by any of the travelling you have done, or the different cuisines you have tried?
I travel a lot and I am very interested in the cuisine of every country; the culinary variety that is available worldwide certainly inspires me.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
The secret of my style is my wide spectrum of flavors, which renounce traditional concepts of taste.
Do you have a signature dish that you are particularly proud of?
We do not have specific signature dishes, as our menu changes four times a year. However, what I would recommend trying at The Restaurant is Ora King-salmon, which is imported from New Zealand and is served with confited lettuce, coconut and licorice.
Apart from your restaurant, where would you advise Zurich visitors to go to experience the local cuisine, and what would you tell them to order?
The restaurant Chäsalp. There you can enjoy a great cheese fondue, real local flavor, and a cozy atmosphere. It is a really good place to spend time with friends and family. Alternatively, they could visit AuGust at the Widder Hotel, where I would recommend trying the calf’s head and tripes.
Do you consider a country’s cuisine when you select your travel destinations? If you could take a culinary tour across one country in the world, where would you go?
When choosing my travel destinations, I always make it my first priority to check the culinary offer in this region, and whether there are many good restaurants to visit. I then decide where to go, based on this. My favorite destinations are China and Japan.