Tim Raue got my dream show

Johann Lafer cooks with what other people have in their refrigerators. What fascinated him about the new TV concept – and which format would he have liked better? He reveals that in the t-online interview.

He is well known to fans of cooking shows: the Austrian Johann Lafer. From 2006 to 2017, the former star chef held “Lafer! Lights! Tasty!” loyal to ZDF, then became successful with appearances in shows such as “Die Kocharena” and “Die Küchenschlacht”. Recently it was quieter around the now 64-year-old. But even away from the TV cameras, he is still one of the stars of the scene and regularly writes bestselling cookbooks.

t-online: What did you find in your fridge this morning?

Johann Lafer: We always have a so-called standard range. Of course, this starts with canned goods such as pickles, jams, spreads or cream cheese. And of course lots of vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. For example, we buy fresh meat.

In the new program “Fridge open” you look into other people’s fridges, you have to cook with the contents. What attracted you to this competition?

I’m actually critical of such competition programs, but I was curious about the new format.

Whence this interest?

I wanted to compete with my good friend Alexander Herrmann. We used to be a good team on other quiz or cooking shows. If he does it, then I want to too – for once, because I tend to evade such programs with all these competitions.

Which formats would appeal to you?

I have a dream: I would like to take a culinary trip around the world. Tim Raue has now got such a show.

And could you imagine something else?

I would like to do a cooking show with young people, from different generations, which is not about a competition, but where you teach people how to make a good potato salad, a good potato gratin or a good goulash. For me, eating is not a competition. For me, food is the basis of our being.

Do you talk to broadcasters about your dreams?

Every now and then, mostly with producers, but it’s complicated. Most must be pre-financed and pilot shipments are expensive. I remain loyal to “ZDF Küchenschlacht” and am a guest in other formats such as “Grill den Henssler”. The major broadcasters all have their cooks.

Are there any offers? Or do you ask?

Of course there is a lively exchange behind the scenes. But every new format carries a high risk, in the end it’s the odds that count. Like me, my target group is a bit older. That’s why I’m happy to be part of “Open the fridge”.

Was the task of this show to be mastered with your friend Alexander Herrmann?

We didn’t even compete (laughs). Due to a Corona case, a change of plan had to be made at short notice and Alexander took on a different task. I then worked with colleague Anthony Sarpong. It was a bit disappointing at first, but I did it anyway and I have to say it was very interesting and very instructive for me.

They were a good team: Anthony Sarpong and Johann Lafer. (Source: SAT.1/Willi Weber)

Is professional honor as a star chef at stake in such programs?

I mean, no one goes on a show like that and says they don’t care if they lose. At least I don’t want to lose then. Here they cook for normal people, who perhaps don’t know anything about star cuisine, but prefer to eat home cooking. At the end of the day, it’s about the people whose ingredients we cook with taste good.

Fridge owner is king, so to speak.

Yes, but that’s how it was in our restaurant. You cook something and think you have a great recipe. But then something comes out where the guests say, “Oh, Mr. Lafer, it was much better last time.”

You’ve been cooking for almost 50 years. Did you learn anything from the new show?

nope I was just fascinated by what people have in their fridges. With the young people everything was full of ready-made pizza, ready-made baguettes and frozen vegetables and stuff like that. Many just haven’t learned to cook and it always has to be done quickly. It would also work with fresh ingredients, I’ve been trying to convey that for the rest of my life.

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