Chef Peter Girtler: two Michelin stars for elegance and creativity

2018-02-12 Peter Girtler is the famous chef from the “Einhorn” Gourmet Restaurant at the Romantik Hotel Stafler in Vipiteno, in the province of Bolzano. With two Michelin stars, five Gault Millau toques and four Aral Schlemmeratlas cutlery, he is the king of a realm of elegance and creativity.
His is a refined cuisine, in terms of both technical expression and balanced combinations, but it is flavourful as well; in fact, he underlines flavours with techniques that demonstrate great respect for ingredients.
And his cooking is fun and creative, too. Girtler has a great time multiplying the pleasures of the eyes and the palate by adding little brushstrokes such as pralines, lollipops, pearls, parfaits, macarons and gateaux.
Peter, how did your passion for cooking begin?
I’ve always loved cooking. But in my life I have met a number of ambitious chefs who have motivated me and encouraged me to believe in this wonderful profession.”

What is the atmosphere like in your restaurant?
There are three restaurants in the Romantik Hotel Stafler in Mules. The main one for the hotel guests, the Gasthofstube “Hans Stafler”, a celebration of local cuisine, and our “Einhorn” Gourmet Restaurant. The atmosphere here is unique. A great combination of elegance, harmony, tradition and creativity, all in a home-like atmosphere.”
What is your concept of cooking all about?
The ingredients are very important to me. I never change the particular features of products, in fact I underline their flavours as much as I can, to make sure they become a unique experience for gourmets.”
Which of your dishes best represents you?
Regional dishes. Such as Canederli with bacon. In “Hans Stafler” restaurant they are served in broth (the classic way), while in the Gourmet Restaurant I serve a modern version of them [canederli made out of a white sauce with bacon, solidified to form balls by a blast chiller, then breading them and putting them back into the chiller before boiling them and serving them on a froth of hazelnut butter accompanied by a long-forgotten herb, garden orache, also known as French spinach, ed.].”
What is your relationship with the local community like?
We have been working to support local farmers for many years now. Of course, sometimes it is easier to buy produce from an anonymous wholesaler rather than seeking out the best local supplier for every product. But we feel we have a responsibility to our farmers.”
And what about innovation?
I’m open to everything! The important thing is that the product must be top quality.”
What do you think is meant by the term “ethical food”?
As far as I’m concerned, it’s very important to emphasise the importance of the product itself, its origins and the process by which it is produced. This is what I believe: it is the food that should attract attention, not the cook.”
In addition to nourishing the body, can food nourish the soul?
Absolutely! It is very important for people to appreciate what they eat, to know where it comes from, to prepare it with love and to find the time to enjoy it. Eating this way nourishes the soul. It seems obvious, but it’s not. We need to eat good, healthy food. And you don’t always need meat, to eat well. A healthy diet is varied. This is the only way of restoring a harmonious balance between body and mind!.”

Mariagrazia Villa

Photos: Hannes Niederkofler (1-4), Romantik Hotel Stafler (5), Florian Andergassen (6-10)

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