The insides of Gaggenau ovens have no doubt seen some of the most enviable gourmet meals ever cooked, and Gaggenau cooktops, coffee machines and refrigerators live in some of the most lavish modern kitchens ever built, but the origin story of the brand takes place in a time and space far away from today’s multi-million dollar homes. The manufacturer of professional-quality kitchen appliances was born 333 years ago in the Black Forest of Germany, a feat of longevity not many companies can brag about. To celebrate, Gaggenau has enlisted Eleven Madison Park’s Chef Daniel Humm and restaurateur Will Guidara along with Chef Bryce Shuman and mixologist Eamon Rockey of Betony to bring this faraway time to life in the modern day at a four-night, invite only pop-up restaurant hitting a Chelsea gallery space on September 26.
For Chef Humm and Guidara, headlining Restaurant 1683 presented a unique opportunity to create a culinary experience with boundless possibilities. “I think when you’re doing something in the short term you can allow your creativity to really flow much more than you can if you need to think within the walls, the restrictions, of how will something work on a long term basis year after year after year,” said Guidara. Guests will be fully immersed in the experience of eating as chefs prepare meals right in front of their eyes in the space designed by renowned German architect Hendrik Mueller. “For me, the hardest part in a restaurant is that you want get the food to the guests as fast as possible,” said Chef Humm. “The food is just better the sooner it comes out of the pan and is eaten. And we have a lot of systems in place to make that happen, but there are still two or three minutes until it’s eaten. It’s really exciting for me to work in a place like this where the food can come out of the pan or whatever the preparation is and immediately be enjoyed right in front of you.”
Chef Shuman and Rockey—both formerly of Eleven Madison Park—will rejoin their old colleagues in bringing the concept to life for two of the four nights. “For me a lot of the inspiration, of course, comes from things like smells and sounds. Like when you step on a twig and there’s a crack, or what does the forest smell like in the summer time, what does the forest smell like in the winter time,” said Chef Shuman. “The inspiration can come from many different things; it can come from a place or a time, but it can also come from the equipment that we’re using as well.” While the final menu remains a surprise, marrying the rich, earthy flavors of the Black Forest with modern cooking techniques is sure to create an unforgettable food—and cocktails as well. Before teaming up with Gaggenau, Eamon Rockey’s bar program at Betony already included a delicious riff on a traditional German spirit. “We make here a spirit called Rumtopf, with cherries that are delicious,” he said. “It’s mostly cherries, inspired by Rumtopf and by the Black Forest, and we toast the pits and break them and we take the fruit and macerate it with the rum, and over the course of the year that it sits with the spirit, it extracts.”
Over the next three years, Gaggenau plans to create multiple Restaurant 1683 pop-ups throughout the United States.