Sunday, November 5, 2017

Time for 7132 Silver Restaurant

We have come to the 7132 Silver Restaurant. Its Head Chef is Sven Wassmer, Rising Star of the Year in Gault&Millau 2018, 18 Gault&Millau points, two Michelin stars. Working alongside him is his wife and Head Sommelier Amanda Bulgin Wassmer, named Sommelière of the Year by Bilanz business magazine. They are supported by a kitchen and service team of twelve.
7132 Silver is where every flavour, every sensation tells a story. But we are not here to tell you about the creations. We have come to Silver when no guests are around. And because Sven Wassmer and his team love to work with clockwork precision, we thought we would take you through their schedule, complete with timeframes.

1 p.m. – The thermometer test
Some very young-looking chefs step into the kitchen. It is time to receive the day’s deliveries. Every item that enters the kitchen is painstakingly examined and tested with a thermometer. That’s why the temperature in the kitchen must always be between 21 and 23 degrees. Not only the quality of fish and seafood is subject to rigorous scrutiny: It’s truly only the best of the best that makes it into this kitchen.

1:30 p.m. – To the stations
Every member of the team is responsible for his or her station. Ingredients are fetched, knives sharpened, and with skilful technique, the mise en place begins. Spruce tips from Vals simmer gently in a pan, while scallops from Norway wait to be cleaned and prepared.

2:00 p.m. – Ironing in the restaurant
The service team prepare the dining room. That means vacuuming and ironing. For four full hours, three of the team’s members make sure that there is not a stray speck of dust anywhere in the room, or the tiniest crease in the fine linen tablecloths. Each table is ironed before the places are set. That’s how things are done at the Silver.

3:00 p.m. – Precision job
The water glasses are positioned on the table by hands gloved in black velvet. Not merely by eye, but by measure, each glass precisely 40 cm from the edge of the table, each a defined distance from the next. Before that, every glass has been polished at least twice. The sterling silver cutlery is brought to the table only shortly before each course – twelve knives and forks would simply be too much. In the kitchen, the selfsame precision goes into chopping ingredients.   

5:00 p.m. – Cleaning the kitchen
Not because it’s time to go home, but because the kitchen at the Silver is cleaned twice a day. When the mise en place is complete, every surface in the kitchen is cleaned. The chopping boards, knives and pans are sparkling clean and ready for use that evening. Afterwards, the kitchen looks more like an operating theatre than a place where food has been prepared over the past four hours.   

5:30 p.m. – Dining together
The team take a break from focus, precision and perfection to eat dinner together. Just for a moment, it’s not ingredients, cooking times and temperatures they talk about, but sport, music, or the latest hotel romances.

6:00 p.m. – Briefing  
The evening is discussed, table by table: the names of the guests and the languages spoken, the regular customers’ special wishes or preferences. Every member of the team knows who is sitting at each table, which languages they speak, and whether they are celebrating a special occasion.

6:15 p.m. – Action at the stations
This is when things start to heat up. Portion, temper, blend, mount, bard, tie and truss: For anyone unfamiliar with a gourmet kitchen, it would be easy to lose track. But everyone here knows exactly what they are doing. When there are twelve courses to be served, each a work of art in its own right, precise preparation is everything.

6:40 p.m. – To the head chef’s taste
One of the most important moments is when Sven Wassmer tastes the food. Everything that has been prepared is sampled by the head chef personally. This is the conductor giving one last nod to his orchestra before the performance begins.

7:00 p.m. – The guests have arrived
In the kitchen, the concert has already begun. Each beautifully orchestrated course is delivered to the tables, deliciously and perfectly in time, by the service team. A symphony is playing in the kitchen, not a single note out of place. From time to time, some of the musicians step out of the kitchen to give a solo performance at the table.

11:30 p.m. – Debriefing and cleaning
What went well, what needs to work better tomorrow? When the last guest has left the Silver and the kitchen has been cleaned again, the team assemble to discuss what was good and what they can do better. Preparation for the next evening starts here.

1:00 a.m. – Sven switches off the light
Sven Wassmer passes through his gleaming kitchen on his own one last time. Just a little check to make sure everything is in its rightful place. He then makes his way home with Amanda through Vals, which never looks the same on any two nights.

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