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Norbert Niederkofler

Norbert’s commitment to the Dolomites meant he had to research the area extensively and strike up close relationships with the region’s farmers and producers. He also had to start using more uncommon ingredients and try new things. ‘We use twenty-five different kinds of carrots throughout the year and an almost endless variety of herbs including amaranth leaves, sorrel, wild onion and celeriac,’ he explains. ‘The most natural ingredients are the most important.’ Now, Norbert serves dishes such as char from Val Passiria with peas and horseradish and Stuffed ravioli with chard – perfect examples of the region’s local flavour – while his more experimental, playful recipes make the most of humbler ingredients, like his Beetroot gnocchi with beer soil and cream of daikon cress.

Food isn’t the only thing Norbert does differently – his approach to running a kitchen and managing his team of chefs is unique, too. He prefers to let them discover their own talents and styles of cooking, encouraging original thinking and staying away from rigorously implemented rules. ‘I am like a football manager in the kitchen,’ he says. ‘I know what I’m looking for, and my job is to help guide the team to the same conclusion.’

Three things you should know

One of Norbert's strongest memories is eating his mother's wild cranberry jam, made from berries grown in the nearby mountains. He continues to use local cranberries on his menu today.

Norbert once cooked a risotto in Nepal at 5,000 metres above sea level. It took fifty minutes to cook because of the altitude.

Norbert is still an avid skier and used to enjoy snowboarding in the 1980s.