My latest social media campaign took me to Excelsior Hotel Ernst comfortably located across the street from the Köln Cathedral. I had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with Joschua Tepner, the Head Chef at Hanse Stube (one of the restaurants in the hotel) as he took me through a series of dishes on his current menu. We talked about his background and how he came to be the head chef of an old established restaurant in a 5 star hotel at 34 years old. There are a number of highlights from our chat, which I am sharing below.
I am also sharing his an epic GFVG recipe (my favourite!) straight out from his current seasonal menu – it’s absolutely delicious!
He worked hard to get to where he is today. Today, Joschua manages a group of enthusiastic chefs all bound by perfectionism. There are two chefs in his family which exposed him to what is now his career. His grandma was a great inspiration for him.
Determined, at a young age, to make brussel sprouts into something crunchy and flavourful. First memory, he shares, was from a trip he took to Sweden when he was 15 years old. His guide, also a professionally trained chef, showed him how to make a couple of dishes, which lead him to pursue training to become a chef.
He started his formal training at 16 years old in Bremen. It was after this training he knew he was meant to be a chef. He worked in restaurants in Düsseldorf as well as in Nantucket Island, USA. After years of perfecting his skills he landed in Cologne at Hanse Stube.
Inspiration, he draws for his dishes, can come from everywhere and anywhere. The uniqueness of his dishes come from his approach. He uses all the components of a product and creates many different variations from it. Chasing seasonal, regional ingredients and making sure all the ingredients and products are of high quality.
Joschua’s dedication to his craft stems from his passion for cooking and his love for creating a seasonal menu with ingredients from local farmers and suppliers. He talks fondly of his close relationship with all the local suppliers he works with, trusts and provides him with the best possible ingredients.
When it comes to creating vegan and vegetarian dishes, Joschua stressed the importance of trying and trying until he achieves the best possible result. It is important to him that clients who ask for vegan dishes feel inspired by his dishes. There are a number of hybrid dishes that he can turn into vegan and/or vegetarian dishes on any given day.
His autumn menu, soon to debut, will have 8 vegan dishes! You can also book his vegan/vegetarian cooking course, which has been extremely well received. I am keen to try both. Generously, Joschua released the recipe of one of my favourite gluten-free and vegan dishes currently on the menu. I hope you enjoy his Cucumber Gazpacho with Wild Herbs as much as I have.
It is without a doubt that Joschua’s flexibility, passion, innovation of traditional dishes and prioritising guest’s requests will put Hanse Stube on everyone’s radar.
Joschua’s Cucumber Gazpacho with Wild Herbs Recipe
Cucumber Gazpacho with Wild HerbsCourse: Dinner, LunchCuisine: Gluten-free, VeganDifficulty: Easy
This is a perfect soup to make in huge batches and store in the fridge and in the freezer. It’s a winner for the entire family!
1 head celery (washed and diced)
3 cucumbers (washed, peeled and diced)
Juice from 1 lemon
Juice from 1 lime
Juice from three green apples
5 green peppers (washed, remove seeds and diced)
1 cup parsley (washed and finely chopped)
1 cup chervil (washed and finely chopped)
1 cup cilantro (washed and finely chopped)
1 cup lovage (washed and finely chopped)
handful purslane (washed and finely chopped)
handful lambs lettuce (washed and finely chopped)
handful babu spinach (washed and finely chopped)
1/2 chilli (washed, remove seeds and diced)
5-8 slices gluten-free bread (diced)
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
high grade olive oil (for drizzling)
pinch of freshly ground pepper
- In a large pot add all the ingredients above, lastly season with sugar, salt, pepper and generously cover everything with olive oil.
- Cover and let it sit for 5 hours.
- After 5 hours, blend everything and strain the liquid through a mesh stainer.
- You can now store the cucumber Cucumber Gazpacho in the fridge and serve cold.
- Save some of the finely chopped vegetables so you can garnish the soup before serving.
Quote from our chat
We’re very flexible. Like when we get messages, “we would like to come tomorrow, but I am vegetarian and my wife is vegan, do you have something for us?” These special requests are our top priority.Joschua Tepner
I would like to extend a thank you to my talented team members who have helped me with this campaign and made Hanse Stube with Joschua Tepner blog post possible. A huge thank you to Joschua Tepner for sharing his knowledge, story and time with us, as well as Excelsior Hotel Ernst for hosting us all and treating us like family!