In 2018 the Berlin food festival eat! berlin takes place for the seventh time. The annually edition is one of the culinary highlights of the capital involving 50 events with more than 60 chefs in the best restaurants adding up to 30 Michelin stars and 496 points in Gault&Millau. The luxury travel and lifestyle magazine Travelers’ World has honored the 2016 festival as one of the best 10 food festivals in the world. Tasty collaborations such as the Tipi at the Chancellery or Frau Luna and renowned chefs like Tim Raue or Sebastian Frank are among the highlights of eat! Berlin. Miriam Bers talked to the founder of the Berlin food festival, Bernhard Moser.
MB: What was your motivation to launch the Berlin food festival in 2011 and why eating?
BM: I come from a village in Austria. There were only two career options: agriculture or gastronomy. Since we did not have a farm, I became a cook/waiter, then went on to become a certified sommelier. So I gradually discovered the pleasure for me. The motivation to found the festival originates from the fact that I have always seen Berlin as a gourmet metropolis although back then it has often been perceived as a Currywurst stall. To me and many of my friends who are top chefs, this was really annoying. One evening we sat down together – including the owner of the Mattheis advertising agency and a well-known journalist – and came up with the idea of eat! Berlin.
MB: What are the selection criteria for participating in eat! berlin?
BM: I enjoy working with outstanding chefs and restaurateurs. Thereby I am guided by my own experiences at Gault&Millau. Ideally, the restaurant we work with has at least 15 points and stands for something. So no 08/15 restaurant but an outstanding position in the catering industry. Since we work very closely with the people during the festival, the personal relationship is also important – so it’s always good to recognize the egomaniacs in advance.
MB: Can we speak of culinary trends or food fashion?
BM: Yes, but we try to avoid it. Good food and drinks are our trend, but we are not interested in things like “superfood” and similar humbug.
MB: What role does sustainability play for chefs?
BM: For us, sustainability plays a significant role, for the chefs an increasing one. Ideally, the gourmet does not only enjoy, he also takes responsibility for his consumption. Regional food, e-mobility etc. are enormously important to us. In addition, we are the only gourmet festival in the world that is supplied exclusively with tap water.
MB: What are the Berlin food festival highlights this year, what’s new?
BM: Almost everything is new because I am not fund of repetitions. For me the development of the program is of high importance, so I cannot name any highlights. I am a fan of the entire program and look forward to every single event.
MB: How many visitors are you expecting this year and can you say that the Berlin food festival is attracting international audiences?
BM: We will have about 7,000 visitors this year, I don’t have exact numbers since some events are without rsvp such as the “Berliner Käsetage” (Berlin Cheese Days), so we can only estimate the number of visitors. Hence it could also be 9,000. Anyway, when I was there today, it was very busy.
Internationally, we have been receiving a lot of attention, especially since the nomination as one of the 10 best food festivals in the world. That’s good, because only in this way we change the image of our capital. We are not just a party city.
MB: What is your favorite place in Berlin?
BM: I cannot name my favorite gastronomy spot but apart from this my favorite place is on the couch watching cartoons with my daughter.
MB: Your longing place?
BM: I really want to visit Heston Blumenthal’s “The Fat Duck” in 2019.
MB: Do you cook privately?
BM: I am only allowed to cook when we have guests at home. Chefs cook differently, we need too many pots and always make a mess – that causes trouble.
MB: A recipe idea?
BM: Take a waxy boiled organic egg with a blob of sour cream and add Malossol caviar as much as you want. But please use caviar from good farms in your area. I appreciate the Brandenburg caviar from the trout and sturgeon farm Rottstock, operated by Susanne and Matthias Engels. Enjoyment often only needs three components.
Photos: courtesy of eat! Berlin