The Yum List chats with Johannes Kohler, a partner in Johannesstube, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Hotel Engel, and also Italy’s youngest sommelier!
What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Since I am part of the owner-family, I have a wide range of different duties in the hotel but my focus lies on everything that has to do with beverages. I create menus and wine-lists, negotiate with suppliers, manage the wine cellar, organise the purchase and work as sommelier in our restaurants.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love to complement my guests dining-experience with the perfect matching of beverages. That can be wine, but also beer or different non-alcoholic beverages like rose-lemonade. I’m really not the kind of sommelier, that tells his guests what they have to drink. The most important thing for me is, that my guests experience a great time. If they like to drink a bottle of Napa-Cab with their tuna-sashimi, it is absolutely okay, if they like the combination! The greatest joy for me is to figure out beverages, which really complement a dish and add “the final touch”.
What’s your favourite place to travel?
I love to travel and to discover new places; therefore, I do not have a favourite place to go. Last year I spent three months as a backpacker in the U.S.A., travelling through the country from New York City to San Francisco. That was an outstanding experience and I would love to repeat it!
What’s one of the craziest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
A few years ago, I remember it as if it were yesterday, we had extremely strong snowfalls during the Christmas festivities. After three days of thunderstorms and heavy snowfalls, I think it was the 26th of December and so the hotel was fully booked, we had a sudden power-black out and the whole valley was without electricity. We tried to switch on our emergency generator but it broke under the huge workload after a few hours. The hotel has been illuminated with hundreds of candles and torches and so, although it had been a strange situation, we created an incredibly romantic atmosphere. In the evening, we had to perform a service for round about 220 guests without electricity! That was fun!
The perfect day off would be…
Hiking in our beautiful mountains with lunch in a traditional mountain hut.
What do you do for fun?
Tasting great wines with fellow wine-lovers.
What’s your favourite food and wine pairing?
I once had a slightly smoked duck-breast with apricot-tarte and paired it with a mature “Gewürztraminer Kolbenhof 1999” from Cantina Hofstätter. That was a real treat!
What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
In November, during the Formula One Grand Prix, our Restaurant “Johannesstube” will open a Pop-Up at the Yas Viceroy Hotel Abu Dhabi. We will present some dishes from our menu and some traditional Italian dishes like homemade pasta with white truffle from Piedmont! I really look forward to this great event!