Boehringer Ingelheim
22 January 2016

Passion is the most important ingredient...

What does a born chef like our cook and guest author Daniel Schmitt bring to Boehringer Ingelheim from the world of gourmet cuisine? In this interview, Daniel tells me how his passion for good food is a perfect match for Boehringer Ingelheim and what a top chef can do for a pharmaceutical company.


CF: Hello Daniel. You're an ambitious chef working in a pharmaceutical company – do the two actually go together?


DS: Why not? Offering guests and employees good food is a token of appreciation from the company. And as a chef it's really exciting for me to be a part of it, as it requires all my experience and imagination.


CF: What do you do and what does it look like where you work?


DS: As the head chef in the guest cafeteria, my main responsibility is naturally to ensure that everything runs smoothly. But you only have to enter the building our cafeteria shares with the staff restaurant to know that it isn't just any canteen. The sophisticated architecture alone shows that we don't just want to feed people but also offer employees and guests a good time. Everything is bright, airy and elegant. Large windows allow the inside of the cafeteria to merge with the scenery outside and big glass domes let daylight in. We feed 50-100 guests per day. We also create special menus or buffets for various events such as kitchen parties, cookery courses or winter barbecues. And of course everything has to be of the highest standard as far as quality is concerned. Fresh, seasonal, healthy, varied and delicious – you can really feel good here.In the staff restaurant, employees can even ask for food to be packed up to take home. This means they don't have to cook and can spend more time with the family. For me, the fact that people take up this offer is a compliment on the quality of our food.


CF: How do you cook? Do you have a particular policy?


DS: My credo for the kitchen is: you can make great food using simple ingredients. Cooking is all about care, knowledge and having a certain passion for it. We pay particular attention to all these things.


CF: Can you tell us a few of your tricks?


DS: Of course. Cooking is a passion I like to share with others. And I'll be sharing the odd recipe and trick here. I've also gathered insights from numerous cookery courses for our employees and as the training manager for our apprentices in the kitchen. Today I've brought a recipe for chestnut soup with coconut milk added to give it a slightly exotic touch


CF: Sounds exciting. Do you first want to tell us a bit about how your professional path led you to Boehringer Ingelheim?


DS: After training as a chef, I worked for ten years in different starred restaurants and was then a chef at the Genussakademie in Frankfurt. It's the biggest cookery school in Germany with five sites.


CF: Thank you, Daniel. I'm enjoying your cooking. I'm already curious about what our readers will say about the soup. The recipe is given below. Write in and tell us what you thought of it - and also if you have any suggestions and questions on the topic of cuisine.



Chestnut and rosemary soup with coconut milk

200 g               chestnuts

   1                    shallot

700 ml             poultry stock

1 tbsp              butter

200 ml             coconut milk

50 ml               white wine*

1 rosemary     sprig

1 tsp                white balsamic vinegar

                         Salt, pepper, sugar, cayenne pepper

* If you prefer to cook without alcohol, you can leave the white wine out and simply increase the amount of white balsamic vinegar by a few teaspoons according to taste.



Sweat the chestnuts and chopped shallot as well as the rosemary and butter until glassy, then deglaze with the white wine and vinegar and reduce heavily. Season with salt, pepper, sugar and some cayenne pepper. Add the poultry stock and coconut milk and leave to simmer for around 20 minutes. Purée everything finely in a blender, pass through a hair sieve and re-season.

Boehringer Ingelheim
Bon appétit!

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