Chef at Brandner restaurant, Thomas Rieger, introduces himself
If you want to see what the next generation of chefs in Regensburg intend to do, Brandner restaurant on the banks of the Danube is the place to go. In the listed walls of a former crafts manufactory, the cheerful chef Thomas Rieger and his team conjure up contemporary dishes with creative Asian accents and sometimes with a local touch. Discover first-class cuisine in a modern style while enjoying the magnificent view of the Danube river and the old town of Regensburg. In the summer months, the Danube terrace is a popular venue and offers a wonderful experience under the open sky.
Cooking is handcraft
Good food has many faces. For Thomas Rieger it is a holistic experience of seeing, smelling and tasting. That's why this is the passion of the Regensburg based chef cook, who awakens the culinary awareness of all the senses among his guests with his creations. The love of good food began in his childhood. As a small boy, he moved with his mother to the Bavarian Allgäu region, where his family ran the well known Manzenstube mountain inn until 1998. In the Manzenstube he looked over his mother's and his stepfather's shoulder as they both prepared together the popular Manzen cock or typical Allgäu smoked trout with fried potatoes. That sparked his passion for cooking. When creating recipes for new menus is therefore his own childhood in the Allgäu his favorite inspiration. He likes to work on new variations and combines well tried and innovative ingredients for his guests in his kitchen, with wonderful ingredients, spices and herbs. Despite his passion for cooking and his ambition, Thomas Rieger is not a boisterous cook and hides in the kitchen. His vision is to revive what is mostly forgotten in our fast and stressful time: enjoy a good meal together in peace and with pleasure.
Thomas Rieger, who was born in the Saxon-Anhaltinian Magdeburg, grew up in the Bavarian Allgäu at the Manzenstube mountain guesthouse of his parents, discovered soon his passion for good food and traditional pre-alpine family dishes. Even though his family was all about food, he initially decided to train as an offset printer. His family accepted his decision. Due to an allergy, Rieger did not pursue the profession and wanted to see the world. He went on world tour in the direction of Asia. His paths took him to India, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand and China. This trip sparked his passion for Asian cuisine. The trip was for him the best culinary school, which he could ever hope for in addition to his time in the Allgäu. He decided to return to Germany and started his education as a Chef in the North Rhine-Westphalian Bochum at the Zum Neuling, a traditional restaurant. The hip and casual gastro scene also kept him in the city, so that after his training he worked for a long time as a chef for the German Hotel and Restaurant Association in Bochum. As a twenty-year-old the lively chef moved back to the south of Germay, to Regensburg. There he started again from scratch in the Brandner restaurant. First as a young chef, later as chef de partie before he became sous chef. As sous chef, he worked hand in hand for five years alongside Florian Simon. Florian Simon himself was a gifted cook who had been working as chef de partie at Johannes Lafer's on Stromburg for a long time. This time has shaped Thomas Rieger strongly. He realized he could do more. Both cooks were not deterred from cooking and consuming what they loved. Even years before today's organic food trend it was a very pleasant experience for him to process ingredients from local companies and suppliers. As today's chef, he reflects with his ideas and own touch the thoughts of Florian Simon to a modern and sustainable kitchen. The offers are aimed at everyone. For this he uses local products and spices them with ideas from the kitchen of Asia. As a voluntary member of the audit committee of the Regensburg IHK chamber of industry and commerce, he also wants to influence future generations of young chefs and he gladly passes on his knowledge and experience.
Time for tasting
Thomas Rieger describes his culinary style as modern Mediterranean cuisine with a Bavarian and Asian touch. At the same time, the chef remains authentic, looks at trends, but never forgets the origin of the taste. He combines his memories of old dishes and ingredients with the innovations of the moment. He succeeds in his team with a mixture of informal and good food. In general, he makes no compromises, only allows ingredients with good quality in his kitchen, refrains from industrial products and chemicals and relies on craftsmanship. He follows the seasons; mainly from Germany and Italy. He uses products only if they have season in the region. For him, it makes no sense to buy fruit and vegetables from overseas, if he gets it locally in the best quality and freshly delivered in the kitchen every day. The variety of vegetables from Bavaria is incredible and gives every dish an amazing touch. The young chef experiments with this and conjures up true taste explosions. Rieger also values the ??regionality of the meat. So comes the game from the Bavarian forests and he takes advice by local hunters. For him, like every member of his team, sustainability is the most important thing. That means: to produce little waste and to use all ingredients for supplies. Rieger and his team work meticulously. The kitchen provides place for cooking, for researching, for experimenting with fermentation and all results are documented in detail. His cooking techniques are traditional and modern. Each dish should have the right texture and taste outside the normal range. His kitchen is round and seasoned with care. He tries to get to the origin of each dish. Everything should be tasted, transparent and understandable. So a taste of truth without artificial or other superfluous ingredients. It combines quality with simplicity that invites all guests to enjoy delicious dishes with authentic flavors.
From toppings to hospitality
Thomas Rieger focuses on preparing the best food. His progessive style of cooking extends to offering his guests a unique experience. That includes every aspect of the meal. His love is in the detail. He leaves nothing to chance. In addition to the professional processing, preparation and taste, he pays attention to a beautiful presentation of all dishes and bowls that leave his kitchen. He has a knack for decorating. Decorate with spices, herbs, flowers, fruits. Fresh, fried or baked. From sauces and glazes conjures up little masterpieces on the plates. His color combinations are individual, a bit like in painting. No picture is like the other, as well as the decorations of the chef. However, he is very attentive to one thing: The result should be simple and unpretentious, even if there are many different components on the plate. Important for him: everything has to be edible. Because even if a dish looks fantastic, everyone wants to taste it, in the end, the taste always counts. His level of care and craftsmanship is extreme. So it is not surprising that he likes to show himself often at the guest tables in the restaurant. He wants to know if they are satisfied. Provides information about the preparation of the food. Another important factor for him is that his guests choose the right wine. So he talks to them about the synergy of wine accompaniment. Because all taste profiles, whether the food or the wines, meet each other and shape a menu. His enthusiasm, his curiosity, his kindness and his winning smile are contagious. When he sees the glow in the eyes of his guests, he is happy. And vice versa. But he also has respect for criticism. Then he listens. He finds a solution for the guest and reconsiders the combination of the food in his dishes and the preparation.
One team, one family
Thomas Rieger says that leading with the iron fist is best left for past generations. Because he himself is a casual but attentive person and chef. Over the years, he has become a true team leader and leads his crew with his very special and friendly touch. In his kitchen, there is a relaxed, friendly and carefree atmosphere - without rigid structures, but with positive discipline and respect, the economic factor always in mind. All play together, share knowledge, swap and discuss new ideas, share success, share joy and blame discuss criticism. When asked about the characteristics of his kitchen team, he describes it as inventive, dynamic, precise, flexible. All these components make it possible to work together perfectly in a team and to create great culinary experiences for the guests. Ten colleagues support Thomas Rieger. Primarily, Thomas Rieger takes care of meat and fish and provides the vegetables with the right bite. As sous chef Patrick O'Shea supports him and provides the Bavarian influence in the courts. Ardgam Vorawut conjures up the sweet delicacies. And Dario Terschinsky acts as a skilful all-rounder. As a breakfast fan, Reni Illiev is a specialist in the preparation of breakfast. The team is complemented by four young chefs in training and two dishwashers.
Fresh and from the region
Local. Seasonal. Sustainable. For many, these are just buzzwords. For Thomas Rieger, on the other hand, it is an obligation, a choice and a way of life. Therefore, Rieger buys his products from the producer directly on the farm, fresh from the field or the market. He maintains relationships with farmers, companies and suppliers in the region who act ethically, mindfully and responsibly. For example, he sources the fruits and vegetables from the vegetable grower Christian Graf. The Gemüsebau Graf vegetable producer is a fourth generation family business on the northern outskirts of Regensburg. On 20 hectares of open land and 4,000 square meters of greenhouse area, Graf operates integrated crop production. Thus, by meaningful crop rotation and beneficial insect use in pest infestation vegetables of consistently high quality produced pollutant-free. The offer includes salads, fruits and vegetables, including old vegetables such as Dorsche. The Dorsche is an Upper Palatinate beet, which is in contrast to conventional turnip is finer and has a slightly mustard flavor and can be found on the menu of the Brandner depending on the season. The venison comes from the forests around Regensburg and finds its direct way from the hunter to the restaurant. As a regional product, it stands for short transport routes, optimum freshness and the highest quality. Rieger gets other types of meat from a Regensburger butcher of his trust. He also buys geese, ducks and free range eggs from local farmers. Rieger makes sure that its suppliers and producers are within a radius of a maximum of 10 kilometers from the hotel kitchen. So it is not surprising that the fish such as the Upper Palatinate char comes from the fishing ponds and fisheries around Regensburg. The only exception is the yoghurt. The yoghurt comes from the Berchtesgadener Land district in Bavaria, where the unique mountain milk has its home. A local bakery provides the restaurant with fresh pretzels, bread rolls, breads and other baked goods. Rosemary, thyme, oregano, lemon balm and chilies grow in the small herb garden on the Danube river terrace. A convincing combination of simplicity and refinement also characterizes the homemade pasta for the Italian evenings in the restaurant. He uses durum wheat or whole wheat flour as the basis for the pasta, and he also offers a gluten free pasta made from corn, rice or buckwheat. The charismatic chef sets no limits to his imagination during preparation. In search of distinctive taste nuances, he transforms the everyday and the trivial into the highest culinary art. With each plate, Rieger and his colleagues try to tell a story and close the gap between producer, chef and guest.
Source of inspiration
There is no doubt that, Thomas Rieger is spontaneous and creative. Therefore, in recent years he has turned the concept upside down in the Brandner brandner. He doesn't write a rigid menu for a long time, but presents a weekly surprise menu and a classic and fusion menu. What is a welcome challenge and exciting task for him. He finds the ideas for the menus when he is shopping at the weekly market and when he is chatting on the farms and fields of its suppliers, farmers and hunters of the region. In addition, as a forest and meadows child, he has always been out and about in nature. As a passionate mushroom collector, he is inspired by how he can combine local ingredients from the Upper Palatinate and exotic flavors to create new combinations for his dishes. Or he sketches in old cookbooks, reads portraits of other top chefs, or looks back on his world tour across Asia. While he has a boundless passion for all things regarding food, drink and hospitality, Thomas Rieger also loves to spend time with his wife and children. In this combination, his menus are created, whose refinement can be found in details, combinations and spices. If you ask the young chef what guests can expect from a meal in the Brandner restaurant, the young chef answers in his reflective manner: "In the end, good food is not about eating and getting full. A good meal is an emotional experience. A journey that takes guests to the sources of enjoyment they may have forgotten or takes them to places they have never been before". He wants to create something extraordinary, but does not lose his down-to-earthness. His credo is therefore back to the roots. So his answer to the question of his favorite private dish is not surprising. He gives it with a smile in his face: "Smoked trout with fried potatoes, according to a recipe of my mother". Rieger is currently creating new tasting menus for the wine evenings in the Brandner restaurant. Because for him it means: Do not stop, but carry on.
Second helping? Visit our Brandner restaurant website.