In 2007, Torsten Michel took organizational and administrative rein of the award-winning cuisine at the hotel’s Schwarzwaldstube. Masterfully, he leads his top-notch team through the day all while taking a load off his boss’s shoulders.
The Hotel Traube Tonbach has received countless awards. What is the best compliment to receive from guests?
What pleases me most is seeing our guests enjoying their food with all of their senses. We want Schwarzwaldstube to be a place for cheerful, relaxed enjoyment. When we are successful, and our guests keep coming back – that’s our greatest accomplishment.
What’s special about the gourmet culture of award-winning head chef Harald Wohlfahrt?
His eye for the essentials, his consistent efforts to provide premium quality, and the impulses he gives for generations of chefs – as head chef, mentor, and adviser, or as a role model for upcoming cooks. He has never been deterred, hasn’t adapted trends, yet he has still managed to continually advance his cuisine. For me, this is the cuisine of the Schwarzwaldstube: Like Harald Wohlfahrt, it is grounded, yet always in a state of sophisticated flux.
Right now, vegetarian is the trend. What influence does this have on the award-winning cuisine?
We didn’t say no to this trend. In addition to our tasting menus, we also offer a purely vegetarian 6-course meal. Vegetarian dishes require the same attention as does preparing meat, fish, or seafood, but working out the flavor nuances, which are often more fine in comparison, is a very exciting challenge.
The Hotel Traube Tonbach also has its own cooking school. What do guests bring home after a cooking class?
Our guests can choose from our wide range of cooking classes according to their interests and skills. The topics are based on the season – or the sessions feature special ingredients. But we also show guests how to conjure up the perfect Black Forest cake, prepare an entire lamb, or cook Thai. Our team is even happy to accept individual topic requests, meaning many participants go home with suggestions and tricks for cooking at their own stovetops.
What role does the hotel’s history play, and how is the Traube Tonbach preparing for the future?
I am extremely proud to be part of a company with such deep-rooted tradition. The shared values and objectives really connect us – that is my daily incentive to best contribute to this tradition with my own work. Thanks to faithful regulars and the many longstanding staff members, this history can really be felt. At the same time, the future is ever-present at the hotel: The younger members of the host family Finkbeiner have long been on board, and ongoing modernizations also help convey this feeling. There’s always something new to discover, and still, many small, much loved details and rituals have been consciously maintained.