In his restaurant “Soul Food”, Michael Laus creates a fusion of world-class cuisine and small town idyll. We took a closer look
Soulfood: Star Cuisine in a Cosy Little Town
Auerbach in the Upper Palatinate could hardly be a more cosy little town: It’s protectively framed by the Franconian Switzerland nature reserve and the Veldenstein forest. In the enchanting Old Town three historical defence towers watch over the almost 9,000 inhabitants and simple inns are the main feature on the culinary scene. But Auerbach has a permanent place on gourmets’ world maps. Opposite the Gothic town hall is the Michelin-star-winning restaurant “SoulFood”.
Star cuisine meets small-town idyll
“Our guests should have fun"
Not only black-feathered chicken, red mullet fillets and marinated eel but also local game and trout from the Upper Palatinate are on the menu. The dishes are complemented by the decoration: It is purist and simple – there are hardly any pictures on the walls. In addition to good food, an important thing for Michael Laus and Christine Heß is: “Our guests should have fun. We are not a typically stiff, high-class restaurant.”
In the eatery with its large window there are seats for 35 lovers of good food. There’s no dress code, the family with small children sits next to gourmet diners in their finery and the prices for a set menu are more than fair for this quality. Christine Heß: “We offer a top-class gastronomic experience at a good price.” The couple’s style has also won over the Auerbach locals and they have quickly gained regular customers.
Love for their hometown
The owners of “SoulFood” are the top chef Michael Laus and his partner, Christine Heß. Mr. Laus: “The most important thing for us is to bring cool, delicious food to the table.” The award-winning chef’s style is modern and influenced by Asian, French and Mediterranean cuisine.
For Michael Laus opening the restaurant in 2012 was a return to his roots. Laus was born and grew up in Auerbach. In 2000, at the age of 15, he left the town to learn the art of cooking. After finishing his training in Amberg, his career path led him to an Austrian ski resort hotel and then to Frankfurt’s best restaurants. In the Hessen metroplis, he also studied under a two-star chef – and himself became an artist at the stove.
One star for the spicy tuna
Laus’ spicy tuna and his crispy variation on sushi won him a Michelin star at the end of 2015. Since then guests come from further afield than they did before; some travel for 1.5 hours. “They also expect more”, says Laus. Heß adds: “We’re not making any changes to our concept or our pricing policy because of it.”
At least since the award, Auerbach has become a centre for gourmet cuisine in the region. The whole town benefits from the guests: “Many of them were never here before”, says Laus. “They tell us how lovely they think the town is.” It was similar for Heß, when Laus took her for the first time to his hometown. “I felt at home here straightaway”, she says. “I come from a village in Thuringia with 126 inhabitants, so I like this small-town life very much anyway. But the town is also simply lovely.”
More about the "SoulFood": restaurant-soulfood.com (only in German)