Masterchef S03 ep6 : Heiko Neider, Dolder Grand Restaurant, [Zurich]

Interview with Heiko Neider

Only after the tragic death of Bernard Loiseau in February 2003 did Mauro decide to move to Paris to work at Arpege, the legendary restaurant run by Alain Passard.  He would stay there a year and a half working with this true craftsman of the kitchen, which would allow him the chance to develop his own sense of creativity, his attention to detail and his imagination. In 2004 he carried on his journey, curious to learn about cooking in a luxury hotel, and had the opportunity to work in Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in the Plaza Athenée.  This experience taught him the idea of perfection, refinement and rigour. At the end of his stay in Paris he spent a year at the Grand Véfour. Working with Guy Martin allowed him to develop his own personal style as chef. Early 2009 The Mirazur is chosen as the 35th best restaurant in the world according to the San Pellegrino classification.


My name is Heiko Neider and we are here in Zurich in the Dolder Grande and in the Grande restaurant
the restaurant.

It’s called Kuhlhaus Dolda and it’s an old hotel from 1899 that was place for the Zurich people to
relax and then it was a … hotel, now it’s getting renovated and it’s completely new. It combines
modern and classic.

Since the renovation it’s around about three years ago and yeah I am here since the reopening of
the restaurant.

When I was a child I loved to eat and my grandma she was a chef, she worked in a kitchen for a lot
of people and when kindergarten was off she took me to her work because my parents also worked
and then I smell the kitchen and so I wanted to cook.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

The boy of a neighbour he has a party … and he asked me to help him because he know I love to
cook and it was so much fun for me to prepare some things here to go it was salmon and to prepare
some plates.

I make my apprenticeship in the Hotel F… in Hamburg, also Grande Hotel and I have to start like
a bellboy and then I start my apprenticeship in the kitchen that was a big kitchen with round about
60 chefs. I learned a lot.

At first I burnt my fingers yeah but I said I work and then round about one hour or two hour later I
cut my fingers and then I say oh ok, I go. Please this day go home and tomorrow is a new day.


It’s a dance, to work together on a small place and when you’re a young chef then there will come
a time and you have so many things to do and then there will come a sound the music the song
from somewhere in your head and then you feel like dancing. You work with your hands, with your
feet yeah, calluses everywhere but you have your music in your head and this is what we love

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

A lot of boys and girls who learn with me together said oh no, I can’t do this job anymore and I
said to myself I don’t want to be the normal chef, I want to be something special.

I love my job I want to do it my way. If you have a hobby you also want to be good in your hobby
and now I have my hobby at my job and I can combine it.

First I learned the basics and I had a very good apprenticeship. We learned the classic cuisine so
then I want to change a little bit yeah, I want to find my own way.

After F… I must go to the military, the work in the kitchen was not bad for military, then I go to
L… in Hamburg then Z.. and Glen… also two star Michelin then we open the restaurant in Berlin,
it’s called V… it was 1997.

We opened the restaurant in Bonn and between Berlin and Bonn I work at T… but only for a few
weeks, only to learn to see …

Jewellery Theatre Elements

My own chef Kaufman and Z… two star Michelin I learned the finesse, tasting of the sauce and
preparing some special dishes.

Everything must be fresh. If you want to prepare something special, something beautiful,
something interesting you have to think about, you have to check, you have to test, you have to
maybe combine a little bit different than you think first. You have to prepare it.

When I write my menu I need round about two weeks for everything to think about yeah and then I
started to cook and then I check and then I change something a little bit yeah and so we need round
about three weeks for a new whole menu.

When I came to Switzerland I learned to love the cheese and I thought about ok I’m in Switzerland
I love cheese so I make some dishes with cheese and I learn for myself to work with cheese and I
loved it yeah, to season sometimes also with cheese, they have beautiful cheese.

When you read the menu you says ha, what’s this, it’s a short description and that’s what I want,
they thing about what will come then the food is coming and they said aha, ok it looks nice and
then they test here, there and then they combine it on the plate and then they think about they talk
about yeah, I want to show them the new ideas of food so I want to entertain the guests.

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

In the last I think 10 years there happens so much in the kitchen but it was sometimes old
technology, it’s from the industry they know it since I don’t know 50 years or whatever yeah.
When you think about preparing a dish long ago you only know how to fry something now you
learn a little bit more and then you think about and you see the result and then you said yes it’s
okay so I do it like this.

I learned in my school something about aga aga, then I never heard it again yeah the next 10 years
and since 10 years everybody talk about aga aga just like something new.

I love to prepare scallops only raw so but it’s not sushi for me, a raw scallop is better than a fried
one or braised one or whatever yeah so it’s for me the best way to prepare it, it’s a little bit global
my thinking yeah, if you have very good meat, if you can eat it raw why not.

I will tell you a story about my meat supplier, the first time I met him I told him about my kitchen,
what I wanted to have and something and two guys they looked at me and hmmmm, and a little bit
later I realised that they don’t want to make a business at this time, they want to know me my
thinking about preparing and working with meat their idea of producing meat, normally everybody
want to have business, business but they said aha he’s good or not good and now he is good I’m
good yeah so we can have whatever he want.

They must love the job, just like me. My vegetable delivering service supplier love his vegetables,
he show me things I don’t know yeah about vegetables and I learn from these guys.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Heiko neider, Dolder Grand Restaurant, [Zurich]