For the sake of achieving sustainability at HORVÀTH, you deliberately avoid using various items, such as exotic and speciality produce and the saltwater fish you just mentioned. How did this come about?
Now, I do always try to use the best possible produce and am not prepared to make any compromises in this respect. At the beginning, I did use so-called luxury products. But very soon - that must have been in about 2011 – I realised that I didn’t really want to work with these products, one of the reasons being I couldn’t get them as I had imagined they should be. So I stopped using such exotic produce at a very early stage. Instead, I decided to concentrate exclusively on the sort of foods I associate with the cuisine of my homeland and that can be produced in close partnership with farmers.
This resulted in the development of my style and my concept of "emancipatory" cooking, whereby any foodstuff can be the star of a dish if I treat it with the necessary care. Thanks to this intentional focus on specific products I am able to process individual foodstuffs in a much more concentrated way. I was therefore also able to experiment – something I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. And this process of trial and error has resulted in the creation of some of my signature dishes at HORVÀTH, including my "celeriac in salt dough". This is simplicity in itself to make and is based on a method used for preserving foods – which of course is an aspect of sustainability. Another signature dish is my "celeriac mature and young". Celeriac is actually my favourite vegetable. To create the dish, I use steamed celeriac, roasted celery seeds, foamed chicken stock and, of course, celery salt that I use in this case as an aromatic spice.