Your Ambassador of Good Taste for the Ruhr Area region
Head chef Erika Bergheim caters to the whims of her guests at Restaurant HUGENpöttchen at Schloss Hugenpoet.
Erika Bergheim, the award-winning chef at Schlosshotel Hugenpoet – Restaurant HUGENpöttchen, on good taste:
"Confident, creative and passionate."
Head chef Erika Bergheim caters to the whims of her guests at Restaurant HUGENpöttchen at Schloss Hugenpoet. Erika, who was born in Cologne but grew up in Essen, where she later attended culinary school, is now at the top of her field. Guest performances in the United States with celebrity chefs such as Patrick O'Connell and Daniel Boulud have encouraged her to go her own way and to rely primarily on fresh, local produce from the immediate vicinity of the Schlosshotel. She grows her own herbs and spices in the Schloss’ own herb garden, which gives her cuisine its own unique character. HUGENpöttchen’s interior exudes down-to-earth elegance. The name of the restaurant not only pays tribute to the castle’s first owners, the Imperial Barons von Nesselrode-Hugenpoet, but also to a distant relative of the family, the Viscount de Nesselrode. The well-travelled Viscount was a great gourmet with an equally great love of culinary details and trimmings, some of which are still preserved in classic culinary literature today. This love for culinary details is shared by Erika Bergheim, the Ambassador of Good Taste for the Ruhr Area.
Culinary enjoyment in NRW?
7 questions for... Erika Bergheim
Why are you the Ambassador of Good Taste for the Ruhr Area?
Though I originally come from the Cologne area, I’ve lived in the Ruhr Area since I was eight years old, so I consider it my home. A lot of people who want to and are able to enjoy themselves live here. I am delighted to be Ambassador of Good Taste.
Your opinion: why can North Rhine-Westphalia be described as an epicurean region?
Our state offers the entire culinary spectrum: avant-garde, mainstream and traditional cuisine can sometimes be found in the same neighbourhood. This is very appealing.
What trait distinguishes an epicurean?
Being an epicurean means taking the time to stay in the moment and to consciously experience that sip of wine and that nice meal.
You perform at your very best every day. What do you consider the perfect culinary start to the day?
A pot of Darjeeling and home-made yoghurt with fresh fruit bring me up to speed.
Your dishes inspire your guests and colleagues. Which producers in your region inspire you?
My favourite producer is the Mittelhammshof am Baldeneysee, an organic farm.
Do you have any personal recommendations for visitors to the epicurean region of NRW?
Sitting in a really good Japanese restaurant surrounded by a loud Japanese crowd in Düsseldorf is great; it’s easy to combine art, football, industrial (architectural) culture in the Ruhr Area with the region’s culinary highlights in the evening and I’d highly recommend a cycling tour along the Lippe accompanied by a visit to a rural restaurant in the area that’ll knock your socks off.
Last but not least: what is your motto for personal enjoyment?
Life is truly short: you should enjoy it.