Miriam Lemke began her career as a chef and restaurateur. To perfect her gastronomic skills, she studied International Wine Management and completed the WSET® International Diploma in Wines and Spirits. At the Coop Cooperative, Miriam is responsible for the Mondovino product selection and subscriptions.
In Miriam's kitchen, a chilli grinder is an essential, along with milk for her coffee and salty mini-pretzels. When cooking, she almost always goes by her gut feeling, and her little rubber scraper is her must-have tool when she's been using the chopping board.
What is your funniest/best cooking memory?
I’m a trained chef and, during my third year of training, I cooked my way to 1st place at the Heilbronn City Championships with a menu I had created myself. I won other competitions after that, but that first victory was the best of all for me.
Which dish do you most enjoy cooking?
I mostly cook after work, so it has to be quick because I’m hungry. So, something simple, with vegetables and pasta.
Do you have a secret ingredient that gives your dishes that special edge?
For me, the final seasoning is the most important, and it's often overlooked. If, at the end of cooking, I don't feel a dish is balanced, I spend quite a while fine-tuning it. If it lacks zing, I like to add a dash of lemon juice, which I always have in my fridge. For a bit of a kick, I have dried chilli from my parents’ garden, which I finely grind in a pepper mill. And in dressings, I think a bit of freshly grated horseradish works wonders.
Which scent brings back happy memories for you?
The scent of freshly baked yeast loaf. My Mum used to bake a lot at the weekend and, when the dough had been left to rise in the warm, we would sneak in and steal a bit of it from under the tea towel.
What is the most memorable dish your grandma made?
Dumplings with vanilla sauce by Grandma Liese and pan-fried liver sausage sandwich by Grandma Ruth.
What dish or ingredient have you recently rediscovered?
Asian papaya salad. I absolutely love it, because it is an explosion of flavours!
Which wine do you always have on your wine rack at home?
My own wine: Trollinger, a light, delicate red wine which my boyfriend and I tend and nurture in Bad Cannstatter Zuckerle.
Which is your favourite country for wines? And why?
I spent one year working at Bassermann-Jordan in the Palatinate region, which is when I formed an intimate bond with the German Riesling. I love them all: Kabinett wines from the Moselle, mature Grands Crus and even simple estate wines now and then.
White wine, red wine or beer?
All of them: beer and wine feels fine! I’m not fussy about what I drink, as long as it's authentic and typical of its place of origin: Grands Crus from Germany or classics from Burgundy, the Rhône, Barossa Valley, Napa Valley and anything sparkling, whether it’s from Champagne, Franciacorta or England. I even love a sparkling Shiraz.
My parents are both avid amateur chefs. Cooking has always been important to me too, which is why I turned my hobby into my career when I left school.
Which dish are you unable to enjoy without the right wine?
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