With his network of local producers, chef Stefan Fuß from the Wittelsbacher Land region near Augsburg consistently focuses on regionally sustainable cuisine – and develops innovative products and recipes in the process
Top Chef Stefan Fuß
Would you like a combination of venison and salsify or quail with apple and Jerusalem artichoke? Or would you prefer kohlrabi with carp – the belly prepared as tartare, the back crispy, including caviar?
What does that have to do with Bavaria? A lot, because chef Stefan Fuß has earned an excellent reputation up and down the country with his regional cuisine and innovative touch.
“When guests come from abroad, they should be able to get to know the typical local cuisine such as the classic roast pork,” says the young innkeeper, who runs the “Goldener Stern” inn in Rohrbach near Augsburg with his family. “But I am also driven by the fun of change. It fulfils me to develop new dishes.”
Pork Shank – With a New Twist
Stefan’s philosophy is probably best expressed in his “Pig Wings”. What sounds like fast food at first is actually super-slow: the chef cures the inside of the pork shank, cooks it for ten hours at 80 degrees, marinates it with homemade soy sauce and finally bakes it in tempura.
Served with freshly shaved horseradish and homemade kimchi. A revolutionary reinterpretation of a dish that has rarely been reinterpreted before.
For such creations, Stefan has analysed German and Bavarian culinary traditions and considered how he can make established dishes finer, more individual and more interesting: “I want to present Bavarian cuisine in a more modern, finer and also lighter way,” he says, and has playfully coined the term “fine local cuisine” or “fein-heimische Küche” to that end.
Childhood in the Inn
The family tradition of the “Goldener Stern” goes back some 120 years: “I am the third generation,” says Stefan, whose grandparents still ran the restaurant alongside farming. “At that time, it was more of a card player’s inn”. His parents concentrated entirely on the inn, so Stefan grew up with the clatter of dishes, the smell of roasting meat and the working rhythm of the restaurant business.
“It was always clear to me that I would become a chef one day”
“I grew up as an inn boy,” he says. “So it was always clear to me that I would become a chef one day.” After training at the “Herzog Ludwig” restaurant in Friedberg, positions followed at the “Tantris” in Munich and “L’Enclume” in England, which already had two Michelin stars at the time. “I worked with Simon Rogan, a real thought leader,” says the young entrepreneur.
Love of Home over Exoticism
He started his own catering business at an early age and catered events in Tokyo, Moscow and the Vatican. No wonder that at times he was also lured by the distance, but the call was never loud enough.
“To date, I’ve found myself tempted to work as a chef in other cities,” says Stefan. “But I never lost sight of the goal of our family business and then pursued it in unwavering fashion.”
The family is still involved in the business today, from Stefan’s wife Susanne to his parents, who are active behind the counter and in the kitchen. The father-in-law supplies the meat from his own hunting efforts. This is important for the restaurateur, who has built up a dense network of suppliers in the region, from fish to organic vegetables to meat.
Sustainability with Common Sense
Some producers supply him exclusively with unusual ingredients: “A gardener grows special vegetables for us, for example, salsify, a wonderfully nutty tasting precursor to the black salsify.”
In some cases, the joint brainstorming gives rise to completely new products such as Steber Beef with a special quality thanks to a particular husbandry and feeding system. Animal welfare also plays a role, as in the case of the “Steinacher Stroh-Wellness-Schwein”, a breed of pig reared in particularly large, open stalls with straw and even toys.
The “Guide Michelin” not only praised the regional-seasonal cuisine, but also awarded a green star for sustainable management. Stefan himself puts it in a down-to-earth kind of way: “For me, sustainability means common sense, dealing sensibly with all materials and also with each other, and above all thinking long-term.”
Cooking Party with Four-Course Menu
If you want to learn more about these concepts and take a look behind the scenes, then why not book a cooking course. “Then we really do reveal our hand,” says the boss and has to smile. Around four chefs will be at the cooker at the event and prepare a four-course menu with the guests. “There is a lot of explaining, laughing, talking and the odd glass of wine,” explains the restaurateur. “Actually, they’re more cooking parties than classes.”
In recent years, the Bavarian Swabian has not only changed a lot in the kitchen, but has also created new things in the inn: an oak loft for closed events, a “separee” with à la carte service and a vinotheque.
“We call it our ‘walk-in wine list’ because guests can pick up the bottles from Germany, Austria and Italy at their leisure to choose.”
Ideas for the Next Generation
Following a highly innovative phase, Stefan is looking forward to days with pure kitchen routine again, because he doesn’t allow himself to be deprived of work at the cooker. And new ideas, after all, can be found lurking everywhere: “I find inspiration at the market, in nature, in literature – I now have more than 300 cookbooks. We have to constantly evolve to remain interesting for generations to come.”
... from Stefan
City stroll and shopping
Excursion to the river Paar
We love to walk to where the river Paar breaks out in Ottmaring and enjoy a picnic there. An unusual phenomenon: the Paar accompanies the Lech for a while through the valley, but it suddenly turns northeast at Ottmaring and finally flows into the Danube.
wittelsbacherland.de (only in German)
The Wittelsbach Castle in Friedberg is worth a trip because it has been beautifully renovated, has a great museum with a keen focus on “clocks” and hosts sophisticated cultural events. You can also combine your visit with a lunch with us.
wittelsbacher-schloss-friedberg.de (only in German)