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17. December 2014 Renate Schnutt

Featured: chef patissier Marco D'Andrea

Featured: chef patissier Marco D'Andrea

Marco D’Andrea, chef patissier by trade, is responsible professionally for the sweet side of things at the 2 star gourmet restaurant Seven Seas at the Süllberg Hotel in Hamburg. He keeps an overview of the outlook not only from the Karlheinz Hauser Imperium onto the Elbe, but also when it comes to his personal life plan.

His thus far sharply rising career has only heightened his ambitious aims. He first drew attention to himself in 2009 as ROOKIE OF THE YEAR. The industry branch reacted to this, and Joachim Wissler threw the gates to his Restaurant Vendôme wide open for d’Andrea. Stubbornness, confidence and a good nose led him to Christoph Rüffer (Hotel Four Seasons) and then back to the origins of his career. In 2012, Marco D’Andrea brought fame and glory to the Karlheinz Hauser establishment once more. Showcasing his culinary multitasking abilities, he wowed the jury and audience at the JUNGE WILDE  challenge with his creations, provoking waves of enthusiasm that ultimately lifted him up to the throne of the JUNGER WILDER 2012, initiated by Rolling Pin (gastronomy magazine).

From then on he no longer aimed for the broad spectrum of the kitchen, which he was used to switching to particularly for competitions, but clearly repositioned himself in the brigade de cuisine as the chef patissier. His intention was to bestow the culinary concept on the menu at Seven Seas with an even more selective, sweet ambition and to perfect the crowning finish to divine multi-course meals.

He formulates his standard and goal as the following: “We really do make everything ourselves. It didn’t used to be that way. I receive excellent support from Yasmin Ambo Masse, our baker; she learned the art of baking under Tim Mälzer in the Altes Mädchen. My right hand man is Daniel Ambratis; we understand each other perfectly and are practically non-identical twins.”

One prize is followed by another. The high point in the series of awards came recently at the beginning of November 2014 at the LEADERS OF THE YEAR Gala Germany at the BMW Welt in Munich. Rolling Pin had this to say: “The finalist in the sweetest category of the LEADERS OF THE YEAR is characterized by the utmost precision as well as a richness of ideas and brings the ancient and enjoyable art of patisserie to a new level.” iSi would like to congratulate Marco D’Andrea on his recently awarded prize!

Part of his work had already manifested itself in the cookbook by Karlheinz Hauser: Rezepte, Konzepte, Geschichten, Philosophie - a joint project with Thomas Ruhl, initiator and publisher of Port Culinaire (a high-end trade magazine for cooking professionals). He penned this printed work as one of the most important pillars of the Süllberg kitchens, containing over 20 dessert ideas and embodying a representative foray into the sweet scope of his skills.

But Marco D’Andrea is definitely not resting on his laurels. Thanks to the JUNGE WILDE challenge, he came into intensive contact with industry players such as producers and suppliers. This new network provides him with fruitful projects, such as a venture with Frank’s pumpkin seed oil, for which he brought his expertise to the recipe development, thus helping to broaden the range of application for this black elixir from Styria. On top of this, pumpkin seed oil is little known in the north of Germany.

Marco is pursuing his career path with a steely resolution, and is also becoming more and more enthusiastic about management tasks. In this area, he receives help and support from his boss Karlheinz Hauser, who not only shows him how to lead and do business, but also keeps his feet on the ground. “I value him greatly as more than just a boss, as we also get along brilliantly on a personal level!” The business areas of the Süllberg are numerous and just as varied as the tasks concerning the sweet side of things. The patisserie is in high demand not only in the award-winning restaurant but also, of course, in the more widely available catering.

Patisserie as a professional discipline in itself is barely known to the general public, and does not have a clear-cut course of development. Formal education to become a patissier per se does not exist and can only be achieved indirectly, such as through an apprenticeship specializing in confectionery, gingerbread baking or sugar baking. Marco D’Andrea: “Since the appearance of various shows on television, the term is somewhat better known, but there is definitely a lack of new, young talent.” Marco is accordingly active and dedicated to drumming up interest for this exciting career path at various workshops. There, he also hopes to possibly meet one or two people with high potential, who he can then recruit and initiate into the world of éclairs, pralines, pastries and petit fours.

The art of creating desserts demands the utmost sophistication and attention to detail. D’Andrea brings together both of these characteristics in the optics and flavors of his creations. Marco has had a very distinctive signature for a while now; his artistically playful concept allows the guest to pick up sweet aromas from the dessert plate, contained in delicate dots and lines.

He earns his inspiration strategically. He skillfully uses cognitive techniques such as mind mapping in order to guide ideas developed by the team into ordered concepts. He keeps his creations simple in terms of the basic foundation when choosing the starting products. “Here I don’t select more than 3 – 4 products. Naturally, I emphasize the main seasonal features. I also like to use sweet vegetables such as bell peppers to bring out refined accents in flavor.”

Marco D’Andrea pretty much grew up using the iSi Whipper. After his first important experience in his parents’ business, which morphed from a fruit and vegetable market into a restaurant, he soon came into contact with iSi applications. His toolbox rapidly expanded; nitrogen and a vacuum device joined the array, allowing aerated chocolate and pickled cranberries to emerge from between Marco’s skilled hands.
Try one of his recipes here:

Plums "by Hans Reisetbauer" 

Genetics also add to the ingredients in the magic potion: “I have my fiery passion and quick tongue from Dad, and my discipline and perfectionism from Mom. A super combination.”

In his personal life he has also accomplished a good deal. The matter of son and heir is already settled in the d’Andrea household. His firstborn girl is a genuine ray of sunshine, allowing Marco to forget any kitchen stress and relax.

Photo credit portrait: Wolfgang Hummer/Rolling Pin Media GmbH