Masterchef S04 ep6 : Hans Haas, Tantris Restaurant, [Munich]
Interview with Hans Haas
German Landmark restaurant "Tantris" was founded 1971 and its original interior design, made by Swiss architect Justus Dahinden and slightly updated 2002 by Stefan Braunfels, still feels exotic and strange just as the original intention was. Over the years chefs, including Eckart Witzigmann and Heinz Winkler, have worked at the restaurant and since 1991 the Head Chef is Austrian Hans Haas. Tantris not only have the top chef Hans Haas, they also have famous Head Sommelier Paula Bosch who also joined 1991 and who has access to an unsurpassable cellar of around 60,000 wine bottles. Munich is not close to any sea, but still Hans Haas manages to serve fish and shellfish of absolute world class. The menu is changed daily, but you can expect to have some impeccable tuna or trout during your tasting menu that will send your taste buds to heaven. Of course you can have meat as well, such as a classic roast duck on mustard-seed sauce or dove with marinated cabbage.
Tantris is … well actually the whole German cooking history started with the restaurant 'Tantris' and its chef Ekhardt
Witzigmann. Then there was also Heinz Winkler and now myself. I've been here for 20 years here. Even today,
'Tantris' is , in Germany still at the very top of the culinary scene.
Tantris is a gourmet restaurant, but where the guests feel very comfortable, where they feel welcome, where they feel
good, where a very high standard gourmet kitchen is performed, and also where a relaxed, perfect service is
provided. Where the guests simply feel at ease - all the important ingredients for a gourmet restaurant... but not too
Actually I ended up cooking by accicent, because in Tirol, where I come from, I was helping out as a small boy in
'Gasthof Kellerwirt' during the holidays. That's how I got introduced to the kitchen. I enjoyed cooking, so it was clear to
me that I wanted to be a cook. My goal has always been to become a good cook. And that's how I started.
At the start, I simply wanted to cook properly, then I heard this commotion about a chef named 'Witzigmann' and that
things were changing in the kitchen. I wanted to enter this world and learn to be part of that type of kitchen. I always
wanted to get better and better so then I worked with 'Paul Häeberlin' in Alsace and like this I kept on learning .That
has always been my goal. After this, Mr Eichbauer brought me to 'Tantris', which was a big stroke of luck but a very
important step in my career.
My style comes from my philosophy that the easy things are very important. My kitchen is also very down-to-earth,
plain, that means it's not just foie gras or lobster, but also simple dishes with simple ingredients, and those ingredients
must be well prepared. What is also important to me, is that my guests are clearly informed of what they are eating -
veal or beef cheeks or freshwater fish.
I keep up with trends. You are continually developing yours skills more and more, but …. Molecular cuisine is not for
me. It's ok when someone who knows does it, but it's not for me. I don't support that, it's not my style of cooking.
Others do it, that's fine, but my style was always different and I think my style is a style that satisfies my guests. The
guests..... you can see we are always fully booked, and that is very important. A restaurant needs customer flow. We
all have our culinary influences, which I'm not attacking, but I think it's important that every chef has his own style.
Today many cooks only copy trends; it's like this in south-Tirol and it's copied in New York. That's bad that there are
less chefs that have their own style. Personal style is important to me.
Austrian cuisine, from my homeland, is integrated in many of my dishes . Particularly in the deserts and pastries. Of
course I brought many recipes , techniques and ideas from France but I always execute them in my own style, which is
very light, also very conscious of the season. And I continually simplify and refine my dishes. Today you can get almost
any produce the whole year through, but I am a defender of the season . For example, asparagus, when it's in season,
we have asparagus for 2 months and then it's over. And not during christmas. During Christmas I don't need
asparagus on my plate, or strawberries or other fruits that are not in season. You adapt your menu according to the
season and use the freshest, most natural products available. It's becoming more and more difficult to get good
products and process them in a way that you can perceive, or sense their unique flavour. I have 3 good ingredients on
my plate, not 6 or 8. To me it's important to have only 2 or 3 ingredients and that's it.
It's important first of all to know where the product comes from. It is also important to me that I try to get the
products from my local surroundings, or from Austria or a nearby country. I don't need to get anything from Australia
if I can get it here and it is good. Then it depends on how you prepare it. Important is how you treat meat or fish, that
you don't give it too much heat, and that you cook the fish softly in the oven so that the taste comes out better,
because when you give it too much heat, then the flavour is destroyed. Or with a steak exactly the same, that you
prepare it slowly so that it get's nicely pink from the outside all the way to the inside and not have it raw inside. During
preparation it's very important to treat the product right.
Also important, are the combinations with vegetables. Vegetables are also another culinary story. That you also use
old vegetables like for example beetroot, or turnips - that's a wonderful vegetable. First of all very healthy, and second
also wonderful in taste. And then the combination with fish or meat . It's also important that you uphold the old
things like before, wild garlic (bear's garlic), well that's again too much, but that these ingredients get more importance
Sauces are also important. Particular the classic types. Nowadays, less cooks are able to make a good sauce . And it's
very important to teach this to the young cooks, that you still learn the basics of proper cooking. To me it is also
important that a sauce is a sauce, and not just 2 drops. You shouldn't have to scratch it off with your fork to get a taste
of the sauce. A sauce should be supplied in a bowl with a spoon. That's very important.
I always say that there are a lot of people who can cook good, but I think what defines good and great chefs is the
years in the business, on the job. It is easy to cook good for one week or one year but to motivate yourself always
again and again, and not to relax but always try again new things. That is what makes someone a great chef.
Chefs with restaurant chains, they are not alone. They need a lot of people managing everything in the back. In
Germany this is a bit scarce. It would be great if we could participate in a few restaurants, but it's just that you need a
lot of good people for that. It's tough enough to run one great restaurant well.
An amusing anecdote is that Gloria Gayner shot a music video here 8 years ago. She rented the whole place and she
recorded a song here in this dining room. It was on the day-off, a Sunday or Monday. For that one song, they turned
the whole place upside down. It turn out really well.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Hans Haas, Tantris Restaurant, [Munich]