René Frank is the chef and owner of the two Michelin star restaurant Coda in Berlin, Germany. Coda is a dessert restaurant, but what that means is probably not what you expect it to mean. It doesn’t mean that everything on the menu is sweet. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t savory courses. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t umami elements in the dishes. What René is doing is re-imagining dessert and fine dining.
I love sweet things, but in terms of fine dining, I always feel they are so disconnected to the rest of the meal. You have all these savory courses and at the end this, rich sugary finish. And a lot of the time it is too much. It doesn’t mean it isn’t delicious, but it often leaves your body feeling awful. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the pastry chef, it’s just a lack of cohesiveness of the menu and trying to understand what a diner needs as opposed to what the restaurant wants to show them or what historically contemporary pastry is supposed to be. René uses the pastry kitchen to showcase natural flavors, not just techniques, and uses the best ingredients possible. So that means he cuts out all the industrial things that are normally found in pastry kitchens, such as refined sugars. Even though it is a dessert restaurant, so to speak, he has probably thought more about balance and what goes into every dish than 99.9 percent of the chefs in the world.
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