Day 3 of the dinner week in the Lahn-Dill district is not Gabi’s (62) day at all. Too bad she wants to shine with her three-course meal today. But fate takes its course in the morning…
Wednesday, 11th Mail: Gabi opens the door to her perfectly decorated house in Braunfels. The trained bank employee has not been able to sleep peacefully for weeks. She is all the more pleased that today was her big day at the “Perfect Dinner” (VOX) in the Lahn-Dill district. Their motto is “Three Personal Duos”:
Gabi starts preparing the dessert. The “nemesis” is the mango. “There are one or two dishes that I don’t shake out of my head. That’s the mango mousse, for example.” It’s because she’s never made the dessert before. Nevertheless, everything is going according to plan – for the time being. Quickly fill the mousse into the glasses and into the fridge.
“I’ll get the salmon,” Gabi disappears briefly into the pantry. Then it rattles. “No!!! The enemy has taken his revenge!” A glass of mango mousse fell on the floor. “I can not believe it. Now I only have four left.” Because Gabi only bought one mango, making it new isn’t an option.
“Don’t ask me how I’m doing,” she greets the guests in the evening. At the aperitif, she admits the mousse accident: “Don’t be surprised if there are only four glasses here. Unfortunately there isn’t a fifth one, it’s in the bin.”
The hostess takes her time to prepare the starter. There is herb panna cotta, herb quark, tuna tartare, salmon tartare and homemade bread. “I think salmon tartare is really tasty,” Reinhold (69) enjoys the fish. Julian (33) has another highlight: “For me, the bread was a 10 out of 10.” Reinhold agrees: “I liked it better than my bread last night.”
It follows: the next breakdown. When searing the pork fillet, all the smoke alarms go off. The guests cover their ears. Leander (63) finds the action very convenient during the long wait for the main course: “That loosened up the moment.” Reinhold climbs onto the stool and silences the beeping.
Gabi only puts the meat in the oven at 9.37 p.m., then the dumpling dough comes on. Julian looks at his watch: “I was a bit amazed when Gabi started forming dumplings at half past nine.” At least the smoke is clearing.
At 10:11 p.m. the main course is finally on the table: stuffed pork loin wrapped in bacon with bread dumplings and potato dumplings. At least the wait was worth it. Leander: “Very tender meat.” Reinhold: “I have nothing to complain about.” Vivi (27): “The sauce blew my mind.”
Then Gabi serves the dessert and is annoyed about the delay: “11:10 p.m., I’m really sorry.” Julian hits the chocolate cake: “It’s very, very good.” Vivi also raves: “The cake – highlight.” Food great, points are deducted for the long waiting times. With 33 points, Gabi moves up to second place for the time being.
Tuesday, May 10: In Waldsolms Brandoberndorf, the retired entrepreneur is already in the kitchen early in the morning. “Yes, it’s a lot,” Reinhold (69) plagues, despite 48 years of cooking experience, with the fear of not being able to do everything. “Everything can go wrong.” With his “The perfect dinner” motto “Heimat – Being a guest between Dill, Lahn, USA and Wetter Brandoberndorf” he defines the culinary boundaries of the Lahn-Dill district:
“My wife and I try not to use any ready-made products,” which is why Reinhold does everything himself. The retiree processes the regional ingredients and the self-smoked fish in a structured manner. His biggest concern: “That tonight a guest screams: Ouch! Fish bones!” An hour before the guests arrive, he has gotten the preparations over the stage smoothly.
Let’s start with the starter, a fish plate with char tartare, salmon trout and smoked fish mousse based on a recipe by Johann Lafer. The many components put Reinhold under pressure: “I’m glad that I have it here on the table now.” Vivi (27) enjoys: “Mmmm. The mousse is super delicious. I’ve never eaten anything like that.” Leander (63) feasts: “The mousse was great. And the salmon too, you didn’t need teeth for that.”
The main course is veal cheeks in a red wine sauce with a variety of purées made from paprika, peas and potatoes. “Cooking sauces is my passion,” says Reinhold with dedication to the veal stock. “Some chef once said: The real chef is the sauce chef.” Leander cuts his cheeks: “Oh, they are tender as butter.” After the first bite, he praises: “The sauce, too, delicious.”
The highlight of the menu is ready in the fridge: Mirror Glaze cherries with Amarena cherry pits. “It’s a process that takes two or three days,” which is why Reinhold prepared the dessert days ago. He also serves butter crumble and a ragout made from sour cherries from his own garden.
The dessert presentation provides the hoped-for wow effect. Leander is amazed: “Great cinema!” Gabi (62) has never seen anything like it: “At first I thought that what was on the plate wasn’t real.” Vivi dared to try the cherry: “Mmmmm! Super delicious.” Julian (33) appreciates the effort: “I wish I had this finesse and craftsmanship with desserts.”
“The dessert was awesome,” enthuses Leander. “For me it was the perfect dinner.” For the others it was at least very close. The guests rewarded the successful evening with applause and 35 points: “Great performance!”
Monday, May 9th: In Wetzlar, Vivianne (27), known as Vivi, is excitedly looking forward to her evening at “The Perfect Dinner” in the Lahn-Dill district: “I’m really happy when the day is over today.” The clerk on parental leave trusts grandpa’s kitchen wisdom: “My grandpa always said when it came to butter that you shouldn’t be stingy with butter, because the shit has to shine.” She wraps her hip gold in the following dishes:
“My menu isn’t that elaborate now,” Vivi pays attention to quality. “The meat is simply the highlight. It’s like truffles, only as meat.” If you cook it right…
“I don’t eat camel eyes, otherwise everything,” Reinhold (69) nods the menu. The two over 60s Reinhold and Leander (63) would have nothing against a female hostess around 30: “Would loosen up the round a bit.” Their wish comes true when Vivi opens the door for them.
Beetroot, mozzarella and lamb’s lettuce hide behind the starter. Vivi calls from the kitchen: “Does everyone like beetroot?” Unanimous yes. Vivi surprised: “Oh, that’s good!” However, Gabi (62) complained: “The beetroot would have needed a bit more bang.” Julian (33) misses the crunch, otherwise finds it delicious: “I like to include it in my recipe portfolio up.”
When Vivi reveals that there will soon be Wagyu beef, a murmur goes through the dining room. Julian is looking forward to a feast for the palate: “I said I would definitely like to try it!” Leander: “I love the meat. That’s great cinema.” But when it was cut, Vivi was horrified: “It looks ok. But not perfect.” With that, she bids farewell to victory: “It’s not perfect, folks. It won’t be the perfect dinner.” The disappointment increases slice by slice: “Whoa, catastrophe. I’m so sad.” Perhaps she shouldn’t have cut the precious piece along the grain…
Reinhold notes the faux pas: “I was very disappointed. From the degree of doneness, that was a bit more than done. And a technical error: It was cut with the grain and therefore not so easy to eat.” In short: “The meat was not prepared as it should have been.” The real highlight for Leander is therefore the side dish: ” The pumpkin mash alone: 10 points.”
Speculatius tiramisu and lemon tiramisu should save the evening. According to Reinhold, this is at least partially successful: “For me, summer was clearly the absolute favourite. I really liked that.”
All in all, Vivi gets great praise from the experienced gentlemen: “You did a great job.” Reinhold still sees small flaws: “There’s still a lot to be done technically.” With 30 points, Vivi opens the race for the dinner victory.
Friday, May 6: “Really nice to take off your shoes,” praises half-British Christian (53) the “French 75” aperitif from “The Perfect Dinner” final cook Agnes (41). The cheerful designer didn’t skimp on the gin – and as a native Polish woman who grew up in the Allgäu, she didn’t skimp on puns and international flavors either:
Motto: „Lucky Happy Happa Happa“
But it’s the generously mixed drink, the relief after the main course you’ve just finished, or the nervousness in the face of the approaching judgment: Agnes’ wine glass fatally gets caught in that of her neighbor Christian…
But the consistently strict (and fashion fanatic) half-Brit (Agnes: “My boss”) keeps a “stiff upper lip” and even certifies the hostess’ aesthetic security due to the pastel-colored suit pattern: “At least no red wine. You must have thought ‘pink goes better with a suit’.” A relaxed reaction by his standards. Nevertheless, the hostess knows: “He was not amused. That will definitely deduct a point.”
Agnes makes no compromises when it comes to the look of her dishes. As an enthusiastic food blogger, every quinoa grain has to be just right: the fish, pureed with kaffir lime leaves, appears in the form of a lollipop, each sprouts are placed individually on the cream topping of the soup, and the lemon pralines for dessert shine in gold leaf.
All very “instagramable” – it’s a good thing that such portals don’t reveal any time management. This threatens to slip away from the graphic designer. How good that she can count when preparing for a universal husband (“Can you please unpack the green mangoes, peel the pomelo and fix the strainer?”). In the meantime, son Fritz is “allowed” to arrange the table decorations (“Can I go now, Mom?”). May he: Together with the helpful father he sleeps tonight “in our office”.
There they don’t get how much Agnes’ guests celebrate their menu despite the rosé faux pas: “Everything was right there,” enthuses Denise (30), and even the drenched Christian has to admit tight-lipped that he has been trumped despite all his own ambitions is: “A mega composition. I’m jealous.”
10 perfect points from Joachim Llambi of the Ruhr area dinner, as well as from Denise and a total of 38: That makes Agnes the winner on and in the pot. With the appropriate local color, the group says goodbye: “Bye, bye with ö and ciao cocoa!”
Thursday, May 5: So far, half-British Christian hasn’t exactly stood out with laissez-faire. He carefully inspected the compositions of his predecessors Denise (30), Alexandra (37) and Antje (54) for richness (“Afterwards I’ll make myself something to eat”) and variety of spices (“What, just salt?”).
This time, however, the “kitchen diva” that Agnes calls “kitchen diva” will not look strictly over another shoulder into the cooking pot. Rather, Christian now has to prove his own ability. The bar is set high: “Christian is very sure of himself,” says Alexandra, summing up the character of the half-British man who grew up in England, Africa and Asia. “If he shits today, I have no knowledge of human nature,” Agnes formulates her expectations.
The fashion (“I like to have things custom-tailored”) and art fan Christian begins the preparations with corresponding tension. Motto: “Guess what’s for dinner!?”. Well, this is what the card says:
Knowledge of foreign languages is desirable, as well as culinary openness: Christian describes the gourmet trip through the Orient as an “aroma trip”. Between sometimes strange paintings (“My daily meditation”) and in pink cargo pants (“Not everyone wears them”), the tasteful guesswork and queries can begin: “So, what do you taste like here?”
The “Goat” detects a positively surprised Antje in the cream cheese of the starter made of lukewarm beetroot with baby spinach and sherry dressing – fortunately not too intense for the purist: “I tasted goat, but no fur.” The search for the ” Beef”, on the other hand, leads nowhere or vegetarian: A celery steak is served with Café de Paris sauce. “I don’t need it,” admits Denise: “And my sweet potato fries are burnt.” Can’t be, says Christian: “That’s how they are!”
According to Alexandra and Agnes, the situation is similarly precarious with the orange blossom panna cotta on angel hair. It is also what it is – namely “soapy in the finish” (Alex). “The taste reminds me of sauna infusions,” says Agnes: “I’d rather leave the flowers in the vase in the future.”
This is reminiscent of the slogan that Christian issued when it came to the aperitif (rhubarb gin): “It has to taste good or hurt.” The “flavor explosions” he expected were not only missed, according to Alex. So where are the points? At least 33 points for Christian, which catapults him to the top shortly before the final.
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