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The alpine appeal of Alpenloge in Allgäu in Germany has notched up a gear with the arrival of British Chef Mark Beastall, a long-time ex-pat who resides in this green enclave of mountains, valleys, forests and lush pastures. With a restaurant that feasts its eyes on the panorama of green, Mark serves up seasonal tasting menus that harness the colour of local produce.
With the ever-present Bavarian Alps providing inspiration for Mark Beastall’s foodie adventures, we talk to Mark about what drives him to continue to produce delicious morsels every day and the past foodie encounters that influences him today.
Skilled in Michelin-star cooking and menu development, Beastall has lived in Germany for nine years, moving here for the most noble of reasons – love, as Mark’s wife is German, he decided to follow his heart. Before he moved here, however, he was already making waves in the UK dining scene at various Michelin-starred establishments including Hambleton Hall.
Citing his mother as the ultimate culinary hero and inspiration, Mark also remembers being impressed at a young age by Gary Rhodes on the television and the passion and enthusiasm he brought to cooking and fine dining. Today he keeps an eye on fellow chefs Marco Pierre White and Thomas Bühner whom he describes as his ‘most loved chefs’ and he also has great respect for Tom Kerridge who has done sterling work in developing the reputation of British food, especially in the setting of a country pub.
In the kitchen, Beastall’s favourite flavour combinations come from a carefully curated mix of sweet, sour, bitter and salty and also loves to take straight from the vegetable plot, finding that “the garden offers ultimate freshness and maximum flavour direct to the plate.” He is also a fan of local meat, in particular veal which is produced with great care in Scheffau and when Mark’s local farmer supplies him with a whole veal, he has the opportunity to practice nose-to-tail eating with as little wastage as possible. He often visits his suppliers to see the product first hand – pork, veal and beef all come from Scheffau, fruit, vegetables and salad herbs come from the fertile Lake Constance region, with fish direct from the lake, according to Mark “yes I have even joined the fisherman at 4am to help bring in the catch,” such is his dedication to the cause of quality.
Preserving the rich variety of food on offer from the bounteous alpine region is also a priority and Mark enjoys playing around with the local traditions of curing and pickling, for example, cured veal ham or pickled walnuts. He has also embraced local foodie customs such as the dish Zwiebelrostbraten, in his words, “I do a version where I take a fantastic beef fillet from our farmer here in Scheffau and serve it with brunoisse crispy onions, sweet and sour carrot and braised cabbage along with a red wine sauce and a side of homemade Spätzle.” His signature dish is the Alpenloge Pilz, a wow-factor pudding made from fruit marshmallow and chocolate mousse sculpted into a mushroom on a bed of chocolate ‘soil’.
Tempted? Come to Alpenloge and enjoy Mark Beastall’s cooking first hand in the room-with-a-view dining room. Even better, join a cooking class with Mark himself and come away with some of his culinary secrets.