How it all began...
The "stove appeal", his passion for cooking, began in the cradle, so to speak. Even as a child, he always wanted to work in his parents' business, the "Krone" in Inzlingen. However, he was still too small to see over a tabletop, not that that stopped him; he simply stood on a box. His parents, however, tried to slow him down at the time, preferring for him to concentrate on his schooling. "In hindsight, I think I drew a lot of motivation from that; anything I wasn’t allowed to do became even more appealing to me," says Wiedmer.
However, he certainly counts his parents among his teachers, alongside Tanja Grandits, and then-chef at the "Krone". "I often cooked pork schnitzel with mushroom sauce with my mother. This was my first dish. We often made steamed dumplings too,” he recalls.
Wiedmer has been head chef at "Eckert" in Grenzach-Wyhlen near the Swiss border since 2014, before becoming general manager as well. From 2011 to 2014, he completed his cooking apprenticeship with 2-star chef Tanja Grandits at the "Stucki" in Basel. The "Eckert" includes a hotel with 46 rooms, which his father runs, and which is also acclaimed by the food guides.
He describes his cooking style, which has been awarded 15 points in the "Gault Millau", as "young fusion cuisine", in which different realms are combined with each other: The lightness of Asian cooking, the fine spice notes of oriental cuisine, the classic style of French gastronomy.
The inspiration for his superb dishes often comes from everyday things: "I just walk through the world with my eyes open." Design and architecture are also inspiring for him - with Vitra in Weil am Rhein, a great design company is very near his workplace. Of course, he also travels a lot in the Black Forest to sample fellow chefs’ cuisine and discover new products. These include "Schwarzwald Miso" (a fermented spice paste), or new gins. Fine wines from the wine-growing region of Baden are also very important at "Eckert", as is Black Forest ham.
Wiedmer does not have a standard daily routine. "First and foremost, I am a chef and am responsible for the creative output of the kitchen. At the same time, however, I take care of business administration and work on our projects." These include a cheese fondue pop-up restaurant, as well as kitchen parties in which Wiedmer invites other top chefs to watch him cook in an informal setting. This is another reason why Wiedmer, like his fellow campaigners, is pushing for a paradigm shift: fine dining does not have to be elitist.
Admittedly, Wiedmer's "young" star cuisine does not automatically attract young guests. "The average age of our diners is between 40 and 50. But, when I started working at the "Eckert" in 2014, the guests were much older. So, something is changing."
He sees the "Eckert" as "casual fine dining"; you don't have to come in a suit, you can also come in a nice jumper.
His claim is universal: "We want to take our guests on a culinary journey."
More information about the restaurant and hotel "Eckert" at www.hotel-eckert.de
Text: Michael Gilg
Pictures: Jürg Waldmeier