Heinz Beck is executive chef at the three Michelin starred La Pergola in Rome and has recently launched Apsleys - A Heinz Beck Restaurant at The Lanesborough Hotel in London.
This is the first restaurant I’ve created outside of Italy. If you have to choose a place to open a restaurant, it’s got to be London.
I do use a lot of technology to produce my dishes but the customer shouldn’t be aware of the technology. And I don’t believe in using technology to make jokes out of food. I use new techniques and equipment to develop healthier food.
I think the future is healthy eating. Every year we are more aware of problems caused by food, or by not eating or cooking properly. So top chefs must think about the health of their clientele. The customer is putting his health in your hands when he visits your restaurant. You cannot ruin it for him.
I like the challenge of working abroad. You are with other people, with other ingredients, you are with other cultures. It makes you grow as a person. The world is so big and so beautiful, so one has to go out to enrich his knowledge.
I was born in Germany but Italy is my home now. I love the culture, the art, and I am married to a beautiful Italian woman.
People can often be a little bit scared of going into a hotel restaurant but once they discover the quality they will love it because there’s a different approach to service, the quality of service is so high; and hotels have these beautiful interiors.
I worked for four years with Heinz Winkler. He was my mentor. The most important thing I learned from him was consistency – the importance of producing the same quality results everyday.
Your quality is only as good as your weakest member of staff. This is your benchmark and this is what you have to improve. You can’t just say this will only increase the quality of the coffee or the bread – you are wrong. Your least experienced staff have to be like your best staff and then you are a good team.
Of course I hope to gain some Michelin stars in London. Otherwise I would have opened up a coffee shop!
Michelin is important. People have to know you, and they know you mainly through food guides, especially people coming from abroad. So food guides are very important for travellers and very important for our business.
Do everything that is possible to make the guest happy. That is my philosophy.
I did some research last year into the oscillation of insulin levels after eating. I cooked the same menu in two ways and then we took blood samples from those who had eaten the food. I wanted to show how important it is to cook things in the right way. The result was clear. If you cook well, you can stabilize insulin.
If you eat seven or eight courses at my restaurant, you’ll feel fantastic. Well, it depends how much wine you drink of course!
A lot of people say don’t trust a skinny chef. But I say, don’t trust a heavy chef. Because if he’s heavy, he doesn’t have a clue about healthy food.