BONN. This Bonn restaurateur is an exception in the industry. For 34 years, Rainer Maria Halbedel has received a Michelin star for his culinary finesse at the “Halbedels” restaurant, which he runs together with his wife, Irmgard.
His star has been burning bright for many years. At first, Rainer Maria Halbedel won the Michelin star in 1984 when he graced the kitchen of the Lannesdorf “Korkeiche” restaurant. Three years later he migrated over to Rheinallee in Bad Godesberg. Ever since then, his star has been shining over the yellow, stuccoed villa with the name "Halbedel's Gasthaus" on the wrought-iron sign. And the man at the stove has held this exceptional position for 34 years with consistent excellence. He is an exception, as Michelin has confirmed.
Anyone ringing the door of the villa can not help but feeling that they are visiting a private home. Pebbles and apples decorate the ledge next to the door, candles flicker in lanterns. It smells wonderfully appetizing. To the right of the front door, it leads into the kitchen. Even the size of the kitchen could pass for a private one, if it were not for the number of cooks. But it’s not a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth, rather they work in undecipherable choreography to prepare your personal dinner.
The food that is plated for guests sounds like a tasty poem. Goat cheese tempura with watermelon, lemon balm, avocado. Or turbot with sugar snaps, mint, amalfi lemon. Or filet of Simmental ox with chili-vanilla- cabbage, and shallot cannelloni.
Education and training is important to Rainer Maria Halbedel. He completed his own at the Waldhotel Felsenkeller in Bad Iburg before further stops in Berlin at the Hotel Ambassador, the Conti-Fischstuben, the Palace Hotel in the Europa-Center and the restaurant Heinz Kardell. After earning his master’s certificate in 1976, he returned to Bonn as head chef at Chez Loup, and later became self-employed, taking over the “Korkeiche” in Lannesdorf. There, his wife Irmgard took over the service aspects of the restaurant. The move to Lannesdorf was a step to success that earned him the star.
Halbedel recalls, “At that time there were 98 restaurants in Germany with a star. " In 2018, there were more than 300, placing Germany second behind France in the culinary world ranking. Halbedel finds this to be a bit “inflationary” and notes it is easier to get a star than to hold on to one. "You have to think a lot, try a lot. You have to live the profession. "
He manages his parents' farm with his wife and uses the 10,000-square-meter vegetable garden for the Godesberg restaurant. Purslane, blue radish from Japanese seeds - many rarities which you might find on your plate at his restaurant come from the Eifel. The commuting between the Eifel farm and the restaurant business leaves him and his wife little free time. "But we use it intensively," says Halbedel.
On Mondays when the restaurant is closed, he and Irmgard hop in the car and set out on a culinary exploration tour. They might travel to Maastricht, for example and have a nice time. He finds the kitchens of the Benelux countries exciting. But not to be surpassed by Paris, which is the favorite city of the restaurant owners. “We have been going there for 30 years now during carnival time.”
"One of my hobbies is the wine," says the chef. The fact that he likes to pass on his knowledge and experience is borne out by a whole series of chefs he has trained.
His recipe for success, Halbedel is convinced, is and remains his enthusiasm. And he and his wife share it with their team and their guests. No wonder so many of them have been coming for generations. And always experiencing new things, with tried and true quality, served with charm.
Orig. text: Sylvia Binner