Michelin star Chef David Kikillus from Germany is in town this week for the third installment of the “Dressed Up 2016” Michelin Dining Experience, a four-month long event happening at the Le Royal Méridien Shanghai. Throughout the week, he is hosting dinners, galas and brunches. We caught up with him over the weekend for a quick chat.
Hi Chef David. Thank you for taking the time off to speak with us. How did you get started in the restaurant industry?
I started 18 years ago as I like to cook. When I was in Germany, I studied in a culinary school for 3 years. After graduating, I went to Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, working in various European restaurants as the head chef. Not only did I enjoy delivering food to my diners, I also loved creating a unique experience through engaging all bodily senses.
You’ve worked in quite a few different cities across Europe. Tell us about that journey across Europe and how it has been for you.
Basically it is like I brought my kitchen to these cities. In Europe, foods are similar. I cook modern European food, and local diners love that. In my journey, I learnt about new cooking techniques. I picked up Nitrogen cooking method in Switzerland and Ukraine, then I used that method to create my own dishes. I like to learn while travelling in different cities. There is always some space to make progress, that’s the best part of life.
You attained your first Michelin star at your own eponymous restaurant in Dortmund, Germany, David Kikillus. How was that like?
My first reaction: UNBELIEVABLE!!! That was the best feeling since my daughter was born. But actually we, the whole restaurant team, deserves it. I work 18 to 20 hours per day, starting from 4am and sometimes I sleep in my office. Award and recognition is never easy to get. I have a strong team of four chefs and one sommelier, they are well-trained and very professional. After the star recognition, I would like my restaurant to be upgraded by adding more varieties of vintage wines and champagnes to perfectly match my food, which would enhance the diners’ experience more. The average bill of my restaurant in Dortmund is 250 euros so I would like to maximize the value out of it for my visitors.
Tell us about what diners can expect at your dinners at ‘’Dressed Up’’: the dinner, the gala and the brunch.
As I said, I am open to the whole world, so I cook modern European food. My diners can definitely have an internationally open dining experience from my food. I use some new cooking techniques, such as nitro-cooking method with my dessert.
What are you looking forward to eating in Shanghai?
I would love to try Peking Duck, I know it’s not local Shanghainese food, but I heard that’s very popular in Shanghai, and I want to try it. My plan is to go to Da Dong for Peking duck on Saturday. I don’t really know about Shanghainese local food, maybe I will go for hairy crab as it’s the season.
Do you cook at home? What do you eat at home?
Yes, I do. But I cook simple because I like to relax at home. I cook basic German or Italian, such as pasta, sausage, potato and etc. I cook everything fresh for my one-year daughter, and try to train her taste bud for different food. I am proud that she already know the difference between different sausages and potato. She is very talented.
What’s next for you? Tell us more about your exciting new journey to your new restaurant relaunch in Dubai.
For the first week of November I will fly to Dubai, and talk to the restaurant owner for my new restaurant. I will then travel to Las Vegas to meet another restaurant owner. They both invited me to go to put my name on their restaurants. Once I’ve made a decision, I will design the menus, train all the staff for few months, then go back to Germany. Back in Germany, I will be cooking on a TV cooking show twice a week. On October 29th I will be cooking in Graflicher Park – a gorgeous castle in Germany for 65 people. These are all remarkable and I am excited for what’s ahead.
dinners, galas and brunches
at Le Royal Méridien Shanghai.