10 | 10 Edition - Asian cuisine with Vroni Lutz
10 | 10 Edition - Asian Cuisine by Vroni Lutz
The 10|10 edition ‘Asian cuisine from and with Vroni Lutz’, team chef for the professional cycling team BORA – hansgrohe, impresses with Asian recipes that are quick and easy (10|10) to make. “For me, a perfect dish should be straightforward”, says Vroni. And straightforward Asian recipes are precisely what this book offers. What BORA has achieved with regard to kitchen design, Vroni focuses on when cooking: she questions the status quo and has the courage to rethink dishes and create innovations.
Born in Chiemgau, Germany, Veronika Lutz’s career as a chef took off quickly within just a few years. Most of her skills are self-taught. Now, the cyclists in the BORA – hansgrohe team benefit from these too. As the team’s chef, she provides healthy yet delicious meals. It was April 2015 when a young lady in a chequered lumberjack shirt appeared on the TV show ‘Game of Chefs’. She came across as so natural and such a breath of fresh air that all German TV viewers fell in love. Veronika Lutz became the show’s only amateur chef to make it to the final, taking third place. “Maybe it’s just the way I deal with stress: by staying relaxed and talking a lot”, says Vroni, as everyone knows her. “I was nervous for the first few minutes, then I simply forgot about all the cameras around me – so much so that I almost tripped over one in the heat of the action.
”We meet up with the 34-year-old in her home town of Riedering in Chiemgau, Germany, and are instantly overwhelmed by her energy. She is a mother of three: “two girls and one boy”. Looking after them could be regarded as a full-time job in itself. At the moment though, she is also managing a construction site near her home. This is where a café is being built in line with Vroni’s wishes. She hopes to open it next year. This will make a major dream come true for her. “We will serve breakfast, snacks and sandwiches for lunch and the classic coffee and cake in the afternoons”, she tells us. However, she also wants to open one evening a week and offer a 6-course meal to a manageable number of maybe 20 guests. In typical Vroni style, this will be without airs and graces though. “I want people to sit at a long table, chat to one another and have fun. The food will be served on huge, old platters, which everyone can help themselves from.” It is certainly clear that although one of her dishes in ‘Game of Chefs’ was deemed to be of Michelin-star quality, the product is far more important to Vroni than the culinary stars. She is committed to offering premium quality cuisine, but without stiff napkins, stiff waiters and a stiff atmosphere. We should, however, also mention that Vroni has another job too. She is the chef for the BORA – hansgrohe cycling team. It is part of BORA’s corporate philosophy to entrust creative-minded people looking for a change in career with these kinds of positions of responsibility. Just as BORA revolutionized the design and function of kitchens with its products, Vroni continually questions the status quo. She has the courage to rethink dishes and create innovations. She selfconfidently does her own thing. And with great success. When talking about the cycling stars in the BORA – hansgrohe team, she refers to them as ‘my guys’. With her unpretentious attitude, Vroni is very popular with the athletes and has gained the highest level of respect in the shortest of times. This is also because she understands what ‘her guys’ need after a race, during which they will have burned between 6,000 and 8,000 calories. “They spend six hours in the saddle so should be able to look forward to their evening meal”, says Vroni simply. She understands how to conjure up a balance between healthy and delicious food with her creations. One of the team’s cyclists recently commented that her food “tastes as good as in a 3-Michelin-star restaurant”. “I was absolutely delighted”, she admits.
She identifies so much with the cycling team that the former endurance swimmer, who was even a member of the junior national team, has now taken up road cycling herself. But let’s not get distracted from the cooking. Vroni was a late-comer to the chefing world and is self-taught. She only started work as a chef during her economics degree and subsequent training to be a medical laboratory assistant. “Out of necessity”, she says with a laugh. Her cooking idol was not a celebrity chef, but her mother. “We never had ready meals when I was growing up. My mum always brought in fresh ingredients from the garden and was a great cook.” Vroni wanted to follow in her footsteps and quickly found that she not only loved cooking but also seemed to have a knack for it. The friends she used to love cooking for confirmed this. To raise her ambitious amateur chef activities to professional level, she helped out in the kitchen of the country inn ‘Gut Apfelkam’ in the nearby town of Rohrdorf. Vroni was also influenced by Italian cuisine. “My aunt lived in Tuscany and I used to go and visit her with my family whenever we had a few free days.” Even today, Italy is still a place of culinary revelation for Vroni. “You often go to a restaurant and wonder how you got there”, she says, “but then my mum stands at the stove and cooks the best food you’ve ever had.” Her favourite dish is an Italian one: Melanzane alla parmigiana. However, she also draws lots of inspiration from Asian cuisine, which fascinates her with its clarity and simplicity. To such an extent that she is now bringing out a cookbook in cooperation with BORA. “This reveals how you can quickly conjure up truly impressive Asian dishes on the Tepan stainless steel grill with just a few ingredients”, says Vroni in description of the work. The book forms part of the range based on the 10|10 recipe and cooking concept developed by BORA. This means that all recipes take 10 minutes to prepare and 10 minutes to cook. “For me, a perfect dish should be straightforward”, says Vroni. And straightforward Asian recipes are precisely what the book offers.
Vroni knows what she wants. What she herself regards as a weakness is perhaps her greatest strength. “I don’t like listening to other people or being told what to do”, she admits. Here at the edge of the Alps, we tend to describe people like Vroni as ‘stubborn’. Or to put it more positively, she is focussed. And this is how she had to be to work her way up from a novice cook to a sought-after professional chef in less than ten years. She is uncompromising, but in a relaxed way. A fellow chef whose work she particularly likes is Jamie Oliver. “His dishes are very interesting”, she says. “I also love his approach of going to schools and preparing lunch for the kids. With his casual demeanour, he plays a huge role in restoring children’s appreciation of good nutrition.” Children are also her toughest critics: “When they say they like something, I know I’m on the right track.”