An exciting variety of fine textures pampers the palate, while inspiring aromas beguile the senses. Our head chef Marc Bernhart takes you on a foray through the mountains of South Tyrol, into southern climes and on to exotic destinations. This young kitchen artist likes to cook out of the box without losing sight of his roots. He reveals more about his passion for top-class ingredients and surprising variations in this interview.
What awaits our guests at Hotel Weisses Kreuz?
A modern and refreshing cross-over cuisine. Authentic South Tyrolean tastes are served along with international specialities. We have hearty dumplings, home-made pasta or French foie gras and Thai curry.
I also set great store on using a wide range of parts of an animal in my cooking and not just restricting myself to the fillet piece. On the one hand, that is a matter of respect for me, and on the other hand, I find it exciting to sometimes include sweetbreads or bone marrow in my dishes. Always sophisticated and prepared with a great deal of passion and quality.
So quality is especially important?
Absolutely! For example, we use our own home-made bacon. We even started rearing our own Wagyu cattle recently. These products are part of my cooking, as are sea bass from the Atlantic or Argentinian freshwater shrimps. Simply because they taste best. Outstanding products require a great deal of care, of course. That’s why we place great value on handcrafted perfection. We make almost everything ourselves – pasta, ravioli, gnocchi, focaccia – everything is freshly prepared. Our patissier Max also gives his best. Cakes, ice cream, chocolates, bread rolls – all handcrafted.
How would you describe your own personal style?
It’s not just regional, nor is it just Mediterranean, and it can’t be pigeonholed in any other way either. I am a man of pleasure and a chef from the bottom of my heart. I also have a soft spot for new things. Whenever I discover something somewhere or try something that I really like, I like to include it in my creations. It is always of utmost importance to me to emphasise the original taste of the product and to do this you really require top-class products.
After many ports of call in international cuisine of the highest level, you have now returned to your roots. What makes Burgeis so special?
Well, for one, the people. Above all my partner Mara Theiner, she and the Weisses Kreuz are the main reason why I came back to Burgeis. And, of course, a lot of memories. As a teenager, I always had to help out in the kitchen at my aunt’s inn during the summer. That’s where my passion for cooking was awakened. After completing my apprenticeship, I felt the urge to see the world. I wanted to learn as much as I could and constantly develop myself. This gave me the opportunity to learn at the best restaurants and with the best chefs in Kitzbühel, Lech and Zurich. I was influenced most by Christopher Engel, Bobby Bräuer, Gerhard Wieser and Stefan Heilemann. I have them to thank for the chef I am today. The fact that I am now here at home in Burgeis in this exceptional establishment together with Mara and preparing dishes for the creature comforts of the guests is both a challenge and a gift for me.