New culinary director: Alexander Raddatz-Bianco
Our new Culinary Director has been with PLATZL since May 2021. In this interview, he talks about his expectations and plans for the PLATZL restaurants as well as his views on the Munich gastronomic scene.
Alex, thank you for your time. The reopening of Munich’s hospitality sector was only a few months ago. What are the things you missed most after this extended gastro break?
Hello, I'm happy to take the time and yes, we finally get to host again! What I love the most about the hospitality industry are the interpersonal aspects - whether it's the exchange with guests or the interactions within the team. All of that has been sorely lacking for a good part of the those last 18 months. After all, it is what makes our profession so special! Now were are just very happy and grateful for the fantastic support of our guests.
You have just recently taken over as the new head of the culinary department here at the Platzl operations. What will be your main tasks?
It's true, my position is brand new here at PLATZL HOTELS and my primary purpose is that of a link between guest and staff. I'm also there to create culinary innovations, identify future potential and generally improve the guest experience even further. Of course, economic factors, such as costs, should also be kept in mind.
Speaking of costs. Do you expect any long-lasting effects from the lockdown, for example when it comes to buying good produce locally?
It's quite clear that the pandemic has had a major impact on the price of basic products. We are not the only ones that feel this here in our operations. Certainly every individual has already had this experience in the supermarket.
Long-term changes are also to be expected on the guest side. New hygiene requirements or capacity restrictions come to mind. What do you see as the biggest challenge?
In our PLATZL HOTELS, including the associated outlets, a lot of thought was already given during the lockdown phase and excellent measures were implemented then. These are regularly scrutinized and adjusted if necessary but generally we have been preparing for this for almost a year now. The most important thing is that, despite precautions, everything in our restaurants and bars is still as comfortable and inviting as they are supposed to be. This balancing act - safety on the one hand, comfort and heartiness on the other - is probably the biggest challenge. But with our team, there was never any doubt on my mind that we will master it smoothly, and so far we have.
It’s still summer time and people are drawn to the terraces and beer gardens anyway, aren't they?
Absolutely - and we are really well positioned with our outlets. All restaurants have spacious outdoor areas - be it in the PFISTERMÜHLE, in the Wirtshaus AYINGER AM PLATZL, in the Wirtshaus AYINGER IN DER AU or directly at the PLATZL KARREE. Here our guests can enjoy themselves already since May.
You have arrived at PLATZL with many years of experience from various 5 and 4 star hotels in Vienna and Munich. Most recently, you were involved in the reopening of the Ameron Neuschwanstein. What is it that convinced you to take the challenge here at PLATZL HOTELS?
We have an excellent and diverse gastronomic offering in and around our two hotels at Marienplatz and Mariahilfplatz. I think this variety allows us to create truly unique experiences for every group of guests. You get aperitifs in the PLATZL KARREE or distinctive 5-course dinners in the PFISTERMÜHLE, but you also have a lively pub culture in one of our two AYINGER WIRTSHÄUSER. Now the task is to present this multifaceted offer even better not only to our hotel guests, but also to our Munich neighborhood. This challenge is probably the most appealing to me.
It almost seems like in recent years regional, artisanal cuisine has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts? Why do you think that is, and will this trend continue?
It simply makes sense to use the very good quality of local produce. Here in Munich and the surrounding regions, you find almost everything you need for an excellent cuisine. Fish from the southern lakes, game from the surrounding forests, and even an ever increasing variety of vegetables are available at farms outside of Munich. We have been following this regional path at the PLATZL HOTELS for years - whether it's beer from the family-owned Ayinger private brewery, beef from the Werdenfelser Land region or char from Epfenhausen near Munich. Not to forget: the artisan bread from the Munich bread manufacturer Schmidt. These are all products from producers we know and trust. Our chefs then creatively bring these quality products together with a lot of craftsmanship. This truly shows our guests what our region has to offer in terms of cuisine. Everyone wins! That's why I also think the trend will continue. I certainly hope so :-)
Which dish would you consider “THE PLATZL dish” that should never disappear from the menu?
The menu design remains in the hands of our chefs. I will support them with ideas and generally make sure that we keep presenting ourselves as culinary innovators and promotors of local cuisine.
As far as the PLATZL dish is concerned: I think it is very important that we get away from this somewhat old-fashioned idea. Of course, we won't do away with our sensational roast pork, but we also don't want to always be associated with this product alone, but rather set new trends and keep surprising our guests with fresh ideas and concepts. For this we also have the perfect talent in the PLATZL kitchens. The creativity of our team would certainly be wasted with dishes that are too well-worn.
Alex, thank you very much for the pleasant conversation. We wish you all the best for the upcoming fall and winter season.
Thank you too! I'm looking forward and can't wait to welcome some of our readers to one of our restaurants soon.