A Bavarian revolution
Born in the Allgau, Stöckle opened a Bavarian inn in the middle of Zurich and is proving that his home region has more to offer than just white sausages and pretzels. Markus Stöckle is reinterpreting classic dishes and taking them to a completely new level.
Blue and white-checked bunting and tablecloths, plates overflowing with roasted meat and sausages, and steins of beer big enough to bathe a small child in – that's pretty well what you'd expect at a Bavarian inn. Yet if you go to the "Rosi" in Zurich's Lochergut area, you'll be entering a completely different world. The world of Markus Stöckle. It's no less Bavarian than all the super-kitsch blue and white inns, but it's different. The "Rosi" – named after Markus' brother's oldest cow – is youthful, its walls are pink and its dishes sophisticated.
Nevertheless, it's impossible not to feel the Bavarian vibes. Especially when it comes to the food: "Armer Ritter" French toast, Prinzregententorte layered sponge cake and Obatzda cheese are all on offer – classic dishes given a new twist. There's also Kartoffelkaas cheese and potato spread, sausage salad and Allgau cheese spätzle, all of them taken to a completely new level. You could almost call it a Bavarian revolution.
It has been awarded 15 GaultMillau points. "For me the Rosi is as much an inn as a fine-dining restaurant. Why shouldn't I serve roasted joints in an upmarket environment? For me the restaurant is a platform to showcase my Bavarian dishes, which are far more numerous than just the five standard ones that everyone expects."
For instance there is the Wolpertinger, a mythical creature which is a combination of a hare, a duck and a squirrel. Stöckle's interpretation of the creature is a meatloaf made of venison, duck and wild boar. In fact Markus Stöckle is a true Wolpertinger himself: an excellent chef, a madcap prankster and a hard-working businessman all rolled into one.
We basically worked 16 hours a day. But it was great. Because they taught and showed me all these things. They trained us.
He honed his skills as a chef at the "Fat Duck", Heston Blumenthal's world-famous three-star restaurant in the English village of Bray. He worked there for five years. Five very hard years: "We basically worked 16 hours a day. But it was great. Because they taught and showed me all these things. They trained us." His time in England was pivotal not just professionally but also as regards his private life. "I met Elif at the Fat Duck."
Elif Oskan and Markus Stöckle are far more than just a couple. They are "partners in crime". They left England and moved to Switzerland, where they sold ice cream (Miss Marshall) and created pop-up food bars (Wildbar) before settling down. First of all they opened the "Rosi", then a year later they collaborated with Valentin Diem to launch the "Gül", serving Turkish cuisine.
I just love cooking – where I do it is not really so important.
Although Markus is the face of the "Rosi" and Elif the face of the "Gül", both of them are involved in both restaurants. "It is pretty stressful having two restaurants, always going backwards and forwards. You have to prepare and plan a lot in advance." Perfection is achieved if they both manage to get a day off at the same time. And whether is Turkish pizza or meatloaf: "I just love cooking – where I do it is not really so important."
To succeed you need ideas, a good nose and good business sense. "The pop-ups helped me learn about organization and strategy. But I'd never have done it without Elif. She's more consistent, stricter and cleaner than I am – and more of a people person too," says Stöckle. Yet Elif doesn't simply bring the Allgau native back down to earth when he has one of his mad ideas – she knows how to turn it into reality. A perfect team.
When it comes to food, Stöckle is a little bit crazy. For example he might decide to serve coffee and cake as a starter. But his guests will soon notice that the eight-layer torte is savoury and the "espresso" is actually a smoked mushroom consommé. A little bit crazy – in a good way – describes how Markus Stöckle is in real life, too. He pulls faces, is always laughing, and no-one uses the "F" word with quite as much gusto as he does.
Text: Kathia Baltisberger, Photos: Olivia Pulver
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