My Valencian Kitchen
To be a professional chef is a magnificent thing. It is always a pleasure to be able to cook for people, for friends, family and for my children, who have been great fans as well as honest critics since they were small.
I love to cook at home, to invite friends and to make a Spanish ‘cocido’, in my own style obviously, or spätzle, a recipe from the Black Forest, which reminds me of my grandmother who was a phenomenal cook and my grandfather who I still remember collecting lamb’s lettuce from beneath he snow. I always like to know the person I am cooking for, to know something of their personality so I am better able to achieve the aim of making them happy through the food that I prepare. For that reason my restaurant is small.
I enjoy going to the Central Market every morning and seeing the stallholders, my friends, chatting with them and feeling accepted as part of their world. I never cease to appreciate the architecture of the market building or the quality of produce throughout the changing seasons. Another extraordinary place is the auction at the port where I buy fresh fish. The buildings are ugly, almost third world,
I hope that someday they realise the great potential of this part of our city, perhaps even open it up to tourists. Imagine a stroll between the boats, between the fishermen, watching as they unload boxes of the freshest possible fish! Que calidad!
I cannot imagine doing anything else. I feel incredibly lucky to have found this profession. It sounds pretentious I know, but I am truly delighted to be able to dedicate myself to the cuisine of this region, with that produce, that quality, that tradition that I discover little by little, I cook Valencian food, but I cook MY Valencian food.
RiFF – Valencia RiFF
is an extremely famous and well decorated Spanish restaurant run by a German chef, Bernd Knöller in the city of Valencia. The restaurant specializes in fashionable European cuisine and Mediterranean food.
The Restaurant The prize jewel of the RiFF restaurant in Valencia is the head chef and founder of the restaurant, Bernd Knöller. Bernd Knöller has trained from a young age with many significant names and establishments across Europe including the Hilton Hotel in Kensington in London, the Walliser Stuben restaurant in Düsseldorf and the Grosvenor Hotel in Chester in the North West of England, among others.
Bernd Knöller was and continues to be influenced by the French chef Henry Levy who has one of the best restaurants in Germany.
From Henry Levy, Bernd Knöller learnt many interesting ideas concerning the creative aspect of producing food. Before RiFF, Bernd Knöller opened another restaurant in Valencia in 1993 which was called ‘El Ángel Azul’ (The Blue Angel) which was also a huge success with both the local critics and the public. RiFF was then opened in September 2001 and achieved its Michelin star in 2009.
Despite his impressive training and professional history, Bernd Knöller still feels very lucky to be working as a chef in the restaurant industry. He still finds it a great pleasure to cook, and a dream to be cooking in the city of Valencia.
RiFF is a relatively small restaurant which is to Bernd Knöller’s liking. He prefers less people in his restaurant as he likes to be able to see each customer individually, to judge their personality and cook their dishes accordingly. Most recently this Spanish restaurant in Valencia has received the 2011 Restaurant Prize in Valencia as well as being put into the newly released guide of Valencia from 2011, converting it from a restaurant into a must-see tourist attraction for anyone wanting to visit Valencia. The Menu RiFF offers both an ‘à la carte’ Menu and three set menus.
However, the restaurant strongly advises their clients to order a set menu as this will provide them with the best opportunity to sample the very best of what the restaurants and the chefs have to offer. The three set menus are the Express Menu, the RiFF Menu and the Big Menu. The Express Menu consists mostly in snacks in the form of Spanish tapas, designed for people on the go at lunchtime.
This menu is also designed to allow the diner to enjoy the fantastic food that RiFF has to offer but in a much less formal setting. However this menu is also used as a testing ground for some of the chefs’ wilder ideas and ingredients.
The other two menus, the RiFF and Big Menus, were created to showcase the culinary talents of the RiFF team and consist in six and nine courses respectively. Their menus incorporate some of the signature dishes of the European nations such as ‘currywurst’, a spicy sausage from Germany, and ‘tzatziki’ a dipping sauce from Greece.
This Spanish restaurant is also proud of the high quality of the ingredients used in the menus and makes a point of highlighting the provenance of the meats used. RiFF wouldn’t be a Spanish restaurant without a fine collection of wine. RiFF’s wine collection is overseen by the Andalusian sommelier Paquita Pozo, an expert in her field, and includes many names that even the most knowledgeable wine connoisseur would be surprised by. The majority of the wine cellar is filled with German wines however they also have a good range of wines from across the country.
The wine cellar is like a veritable Spain guide to wine! Furthermore, RiFF houses over fifty different types of authentic French champagne.
Prizes To the credit of the chefs and head chef, Bernd Knöller,
RiFF has received many prizes and even more favorable critic reviews. As a result the restaurant currently holds a rating of 7.5 out of 10 from the Gourmetour group. More importantly however, the restaurant has been rewarded with both two ‘sol’ by Repsol and a Michelin star.