40 Years of Jeunes Restaurateurs
A passion for the finest culinary culture
Excellent cuisine, sheer culinary indulgence and outstanding food art are more popular than ever before in Germany. The association of top young chefs - the Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe (JRE) - has made a decisive contribution to this development. It was exactly 40 years ago that a team of young committed chefs put their heads together to generate new ideas and deliver fresh inspiration for Europe's culinary art scene and the joy of food. All that effort by Jeunes Restaurateurs over the course of four decades has paid off. 335 JRE chefs from 13 countries now guarantee the highest culinary standards and inspiration, while simultaneously safeguarding regional traditions and the hospitable exchange of ideas. “We are united by a love of cooking and a genuine passion for sophisticated cuisine.” explains Hans van Manen, Executive Director of the European association.
The value of gourmet cuisine in Germany
Gourmet cuisine and its chefs enjoy considerable appreciation in Germany. Jeunes Restaurateurs are currently training one of the strongest national JRE associations - with a total of 73 members. From the Isle of Sylt through to the mountain town of Oberstdorf, from Dresden to Düsseldorf - these young chefs have helped shape Germany’s culinary culture for many years to come. Numerous guests honour the unparalleled dedication of these chefs, who have succeeded in identifying the diversity of regional cuisine, before developing it further by adopting an approach that accommodates both the traditional and the innovative. The latest Michelin Guide acknowledges the culinary prowess of the German JRE members with a total of 54 stars. “Whether it's in a city bistro or a stately gourmet castle, we offer our guests a unique atmosphere of indulgence.” explains Alexander Dressel, President of the German section. The Restaurant and Hotel Guide 2015 provides an impressive overview of the outstanding quality and versatile range on offer from the German Jeunes Restaurateurs, a publication that achieves a circulation of 100,000 copies every year.
But the top young chefs don't simply rest on their laurels. In order to retain and maintain professional exchange at the highest level, invitations were first issued in 2014 to the ‘JRE Genusslabor’ workshop. Trying out new things and redefining regional German cuisine are the dedicated goals of this unique concept. During a workshop nine top chefs grapple with the topic of regional cuisine, its multifarious traditions and possibilities. Participants were able to deliver an impressive culinary spectrum using unknown or previously forgotten products, highly technical culinary techniques and innovative variations. The ‘Genusslabor’ workshop is a continuation of previous formats, which were successfully developed and implemented within the association. Within the individual regions, the top young chefs convene for so-called ‘jam sessions’ or ‘kitchen parties’, to cook together and generate mutual culinary inspiration. As part of their ‘Academy on tour’ members take the time to visit one another and share key knowledge from their kitchens with the members of staff at other businesses.
Native Cooking Award
JRE chefs are also taking on the challenge at an international level. During the ‘Native Cooking Award’, which was hosted on the Danish Manor house estate of ‘Knuthenlund’ in September, the goal was to produce a three course menu without electric devices and other aids. The German delegation with its three top chefs from the ranks of Jeunes Restaurateurs took second place, just behind the hosts Denmark. The principles of sustainability and regionality demanded in Knuthenlund are among the association’s core values that have shaped every course of action we have taken, long before they garnered such global acclaim. Jeunes Restaurateurs work together with local producers and actively support biodiversity and the conscious use of foodstuff, both during production and preparation. There is also a close program of cooperation in place with the Slow Food Movement.
Jeunes Restaurateurs: The quality standards
The Jeunes Restaurateurs’ high quality standards already form an integral part of its training: The aim is to share knowledge and experience, which has led to the development of an exemplary programme for promoting and developing tomorrow's talent. Since 2005, a unique training programme has been in place across the country to develop an elite class of chefs, which is run in cooperation with the Gastronomic Training Center and the Julius-Wegeler vocational school, both in Koblenz. A maximum of 28 applicants are accepted annually into what is a ‘best in class’ programme, during which participants are trained by the culinary industry's top professionals at the educational institution of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) in Koblenz, culminating in professional chef qualifications.
For those studying hotel management there is also the opportunity to gain the qualification of ‘Restauranteur’. The special feature of this vocational training: Students are taken under the wings of the best in the industry at a JRE operation, they receive a particularly high level of practical orientation as well as comprehensive, interdisciplinary vocational training that goes above and beyond a regular apprenticeship. The timetable includes technical seminars and further training modules, excursions, lessons in English and French, IT and business administration.
Trainees get to experience the special camaraderie of Jeunes Restaurateurs from an early stage. Participants even get the chance to build a network during their vocational training, which will prove invaluable during their professional life later on, while also creating opportunities for both a private and professional exchange of ideas. The so-called ‘Apprentice Days’ at Jeunes Restaurateurs are also exemplary, during which roughly 40 apprentices are invited from other member businesses every year. This is a great opportunity for further education and training, as well as for maintaining contacts - not to mention a chance to glance over the shoulder of the top chefs at Jeunes Restaurateurs while they work their magic.
“We continue to enthuse many young individuals for a culinary career with our wide range of offers. There is no complaining about a lack of fresh young talent in the kitchen here.” something that Alexander Dressel sees as a source of great satisfaction thanks to the association’s initiative. That being said, there is a notable lack of fresh talent in the service area, something that is afflicting the industry's top gastronomic institutions. In future, increasing efforts will have to be made to bring about a change in the situation. Dressel continues, “If we want to be the perfect hosts - and this is an unequivocal goal of all Jeunes Restaurateurs - then we need members of staff who take great pleasure in ensuring that our guests are accommodated to their utmost satisfaction.”
The elite class
The elite class of 2014 concluded its training with above average results throughout - but that on its own is not enough to become a ‘Jeunes Restaurateur d’Europe’. The admission criteria are strict: Applicants may not be younger than 25, and must not be older than 37. They should have been published in three definitive restaurant guides, and their application must be supported by at least two JRE members. Applications will only be granted when two appraisers have visited the respective business, and when the members’ meeting has issued its approval. Anyone already over the age threshold can continue to get involved from the age of 50 as a ‘Table d’Honneur’, and upon celebrating their 55th birthday as a ‘Membre d’Honneur’. Germany is currently home to 23 ‘Table d’Honneur’ and nine ‘Membres d’Honneur’.
As part of its anniversary celebrations, Jeunes Restaurateurs 2015 brought out a gift card that can be used in all member restaurants throughout the world. The cards - with a value of anywhere between €25 and €100 can be ordered online or printed out directly.
Association of top young chefs
The Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe (JRE) is an association of top young chefs who remain committed with their talent and passion to innovative German cuisine. From the Isle of Sylt through to the mountain town of Oberstdorf, from Dresden to Düsseldorf, the JRE combines high-quality culinary skill with a passion for European cuisine and a respect for local traditions and products. In Germany, they have played an active part in the European Association of JRE since 1991 with this special promise of quality. The association currently has 73 members. Partners of JRE include Alpina, Apollinaris, Bitburger, Fissler, Laurent-Perrier, Moët Hennessy, Rosenthal, Schott Zwiesel, Siemens, VM Vermögensmanufaktur and Zwillings.