Neandertal bei Erkrath, © Jörg Kammel, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Stembergs, © Ralf Schultheiss

Wal­ter and Sascha Stem­berg

Your Am­bas­sad­ors of Good Taste for the Nean­der­land re­gion

Keep­ing tra­di­tions alive is very im­port­ant to the Am­bas­sad­ors of Good Taste for the Nean­der­land re­gion. Wal­ter Stem­berg and his son Sascha Stem­berg, the fourth and fifth gen­er­a­tions in their fam­ily, re­spect­ively, place great em­phas­is on loc­al products and short sup­ply routes.

Walter and Sascha Stemberg, amazing head chefs at the Haus Stemberg restaurant in Velbert, on good taste:

"Fourth and fifth-generation hosts with heart."

Keeping traditions alive is very important to the Ambassadors of Good Taste for the Neanderland region. Walter Stemberg and his son Sascha Stemberg, the fourth and fifth generations in their family, respectively, place great emphasis on local products and short supply routes. In the region around Düsseldorf there is hardly a regional producer who has yet to work with them. But at the same time, a glimpse of Haus Stemberg’s menu demonstrates that traditional dishes are being reinterpreted and adapted to fit the modern zeitgeist. Through their successful combination of simplicity and exclusivity, both generations are also strongly represented in the media. Sascha Stemberg regularly presents the food show Kochalarm for WDR-TV, while Walter Stemberg has a culinary column in publications such as the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Culinary enjoyment in NRW
7 questions for... Sascha and Walter Stemberg

Why are you the Ambassador of Good Taste for the Neanderland region?

Because Neanderland has a tremendous amount to offer: fantastic natural landscapes, passionate food producers who exhibit their wares at numerous weekly markets, and a diverse range of culinary establishments.

Because it’s high time that people get to know the scenic and beautiful culinary landscape that is Neanderland.

Your opinion: why can North Rhine-Westphalia be described as an epicurean region?

If you consider the density of good restaurants alone and compare that with Baden-Württemberg, we have really come a long way in the past few years and have caught up nicely. There are a lot of creative minds in the kitchens here who, along with local producers, are really doing something great.

There are wonderful, natural landscapes here. The six Windrather organic farms in Velbert are just one example of this. They produce organic bread, cheese and vegetables, and rear animals humanely. There is also an excellent gastronomic landscape on offer, from country inns to 3-star restaurants, and the same holds true for the drinks industry. We don’t need mineral water from Italy or other countries around the world; the water found in NRW in places like Bad Meinberg is already exceptional. The same goes for beer: there are Reinheitsgebot (Germany Purity Law) breweries like König Pilsener in Duisburg.

What trait distinguishes an epicurean?

Someone who is able to engage in something with all of their senses.

An epicurean is someone who shops with expertise, enjoys cooking with passion and love, and takes pleasure in eating.

You perform at your very best every day. What do you consider the perfect culinary start to the day?

I like to start the day with breakfast with my wife and daughter. Because there’s not always enough time for a long, relaxing breakfast, I am usually quite happy eating bread with cheese, a banana and orange juice, since I don’t like coffee!

Get up, open the window, enjoy the view of the countryside and take special appreciation of the sadly too few sunny days we have in our region. Later in the restaurant I have a ‘short breakfast’ of bread with cheese and a white coffee. I call it ‘short’ because I eat lunch early with the family and our staff at 11:30, before the first guests arrive.

Your dishes inspire your guests and colleagues. Which producers in your region inspire you?

Above all those who do ply their trade with the same love I do in order to bring joy to others.

Asparagus from Hof Gut Kuhlendahl farm – just across from our restaurant – and the many producers in the region, for example the Windrather organic farms.

Do you have any personal recommendations for visitors to the epicurean region of NRW?

There are beautiful hiking trails throughout Bergisches Land and there are maps available for them. The beauty of this lies not only in nature, but also the many inns along the way, where you can stop for a cold beer or a snack.

Forget the old image of coal and steel. Come to NRW and enjoy the wonderful nature available to you in my immediate vicinity, the amazing views, the hiking trails, the Castle Museum and the cathedral in Velbert-Neviges, the endless, fantastically scenic and beautiful bike paths, or the historic old town of Velbert-Langenberg, the town of books.

Last but not least: what is your motto for personal enjoyment?

My motto is: take time to enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, I myself have very little of it. But the little time I do have I like to spend with good food at home or in one of the many fine restaurants in the area.

Cooking with good basic produce and with a lot of love. This goes for everything: from pea soup to fried blood sausages to celebration feasts.
And my favourite way to enjoy myself is with family and friends!!