For me the question is very simple. I guess it’s the same for you.
And even though I know I’m going to say one of the most palpable truths that exist, I really cannot help myself.
After all, in a group of self-respecting friends, just as our own can be defined after about 14 months of traveling side by side, we need a person like me. The obvious-man, sorry for the pun. The one who only says trivial things. If you listen to him in a precise moment, you will only look down and nod disconsolate.
Time is fundamental.
For everyone. Imagine for those who do my job. For those playing with seconds, airport connections, precise appointments for renting cars, check-in and checkouts at the hotel.
Many years ago, when I was still a beardless journalist, with the dream of being able to live on my articles income, I came across a job offer. Nothing exceptional, mind you. The requested tasks consisted in writing articles with a theme on the most absurd subjects, following the instructions of the editor in the letter. I remember now how it used to be at that time, I remember the enthusiasm that pervaded me in the days before the job interview. I did not close my eyes the night before. In the end, I could demonstrate my skills to the publishing world. I only needed one opportunity.
I went to the meeting nice and rested. Confident but humble. I would say brilliant. I smiled at everyone, shook hands with conviction and listened carefully to every single syllable pronounced by my selector. At that point, a moment before leaving the office of my new “boss” and go sit in my new position as a journalist apprentice, I pronounced the fateful sentence.
– I am very happy to be able to work with you. I’m making a dream come true. So out of curiosity: how much is the salary? –
The selector winced. I saw him lose colour slowly.
– You youngsters only ask for money – He scolded me – Isn’t it a little presumptuous? Start with experience. Let us know if you’re good. You’ll see that the pay will come by itself … –
This time I was the one to sweat. I can still hear the sound of the chair legs squeezing in the ears, as I move back and get up.
– Ah no look, – I said firmly – if these are the conditions I’m not interested.
– Why not? – my interlocutor questioned me with his witty eyes.
– Because I have a somewhat particular conception of work. Work is a personal time sale. I sell my spaces, the hours of my life. So I expect them to be paid. I don’t care how much, whether I agree or I want to embrace the project. But at zero euro, I really do not want to work … –
It’s been several years as I told you. But the story is still the same.
I sell my time working. Just as, for example, by paying the domestic worker I buy my relax. I imagine life is exactly like this: an infinite giving and having.
Imagine, then, how much the loss of time makes me nervous. How much waiting stresses me. Especially if I am in a three-star Michelin’s restaurant.
– What does it mean that there is a 45-minute wait between one course and another? – I ask the waitress who is cleaning the table for me. She is very young: she will not be more than 20 years old. And this small evaluation allows me to include it in the “interns” category.
– I’m sorry, but the place is full and these are the times –
The answer, superficial and even a little arrogant, irritates me a lot. OK: the restaurant is sold out. Ok, all the tables are occupied and the approximately 30 diners that the room can host are in their seats. But what fault do I have? If not that of having chosen this place to eat. None, exactly.
Too bad because, for the rest, this is one of the best three-starred I was lucky enough to visit.
Now, as I told you, I am in Australia. Yet I want to talk about a restaurant where I was a few days ago. In Perl Nenning, in Germany, a town of about 1000 inhabitants a few kilometres from the border with Luxembourg. Here is the youngest three-star Michelin’s chef in Germany: Christian Bau. Owner and creator of the Victor’s Fine Dining which he runs in collaboration with his wife Yildiz.
Bau is the head, heart and soul of Victor’s. All the stars have arrived with him driving and nothing happens if he doesn’t decide so.
The restaurant is next to a hotel, also equipped with a casino. Although the place is not beautiful, I must admit that the interior of Victor’s is really appreciable. The room is narrow and long, while the tables, as well as the seats and the display of the wines, make the location absolutely fantastic.
The first thing that catches my attention are the glasses for water: there are two. One for the sparkling, with a red spout inside it useful to recognize it, and one for the natural, with a blue spout.
I immediately order the menu. It’s called Paris-Tokyo and is clearly for tasting. Bau‘s dishes are wonderful, beautiful to behold. The precision of the chef is obsessive: every element of the dish must be placed in a precise point, counting also the millimetres.
It starts with the amuse bouche: tuna tartare, avocado sauce, a salted macaron and the scallop seasoned with cedar.
Then tortellini with truffles and hazelnut butter, but what amazes me is the bread. I’m talking about a beautiful loaf of soft wheat, to be drizzled with drop-drop oil thanks to a small pump. As I speak of an exquisite bread with 5 cereals to taste with French salted butter.
We continue with the langoustine, served with a foam of the langoustine itself. In this dish the butter may feel a bit too much, but we cannot say that the dish is not tasty.
Crab with watermelon balls and shrimp broth, and Atlantic cod fillet with caviar, chives and parsley water. Very good.
We continue with some very interesting fried fish, a fillet of mackerel with peeled potatoes and puffed rice and a slice of salmon with a basil ice cream.
The moment of meat arrives: Kobe. Unfortunately, this is the only dish of chef Bau that I could not finish. There are different degrees of fat for Kobe: the meat that I had contained too much of it. The fact is that it disgusted me from the first bite and I was forced to send it back. Too bad because, again, the plating gave me goose bumps: onions as a container with a basil juice inside, some leaves cooked in tempura, a cube of red turnip, liver and a small liver ice cream.
We finish with sweets: a pre-dessert with vanilla ice cream, puffed rice, meringues and mint water. And then the real ending: a lemon meringue with strawberry ice cream, a pistachio morel, a white chocolate disc, a raspberry rebuilt with chocolate and two bonbons with lime jelly.
Victor’s Fine Dining would have taken a very high mark, if I didn’t consider the wait and the not really uplifting attitude of chef Christian Bau. For the quality of the kitchen and the almost maniacal precision of the German chef. Some factors, however, like the outdoor restaurant (almost a casino guesthouse), cannot be ignored.
Final rating: 3 beards.