Chef Heinz Beck
Heinz Beck is one of Europe’s most respected three star Michelin chefs, whose career has been defined by an impressive roster of award-winning kitchens and talented chefs he has worked alongside. He finally arrived in London in 2009, bringing his signature Mediterranean influence.
Beck was born in Germany on November 3, 1963. At the age of 17 he enrolled in the Professional School in Passau, gaining his formal chef qualifications in 1983. As part of his training, Beck gained valuable experience in the kitchens of Hotel Holzapfel, Bad Fuessing. In 1986, Beck took a role with one of Munich’s prestigious Michelin starred catering companies, Feinkost Kaefer, before becoming Chef de Partie at the Colombi Hotel in Freiburg, holder of one Michelin star. Beck returned to Munich in 1989 to join the three Michelin star Tantris, before making a decision to add international experience to his career, heading to Mallorca, Spain, to become Sous Chef at Tristan, two Michelin starred.
A pivotal moment for Beck’s culinary development came in 1991, through an opportunity to join legendary chef Heinz Winkler, as Sous Chef at Residenz, Aschau. For Beck this role gave him a chance to further craft his skills under the watch of one of his heroes, while also gaining his “kuchenmeister” one of Germany’s prestigious culinary certifications. Beck also spends time as Chef de Cuisine in Berlin at Germany’s Presidential headquarters. Taking another international move in 1994, Beck came to Rome, at Restaurant “La Pergola”, the establishment that he would become most associated with. In 1996 Heinz attended the Course for Sommelier’s organised by the Italian Sommelier Association in Rome, which led him to obtain his Professional Sommelier qualification. This new knowledge not only enabled him to create dishes designed to perfectly match wines available at La Pergola, but allowed him to assist his Sommelier to build up a wine cellar of incomparable importance. In 2000 Beck was awarded the first of many honours, the “Golden Medal of the Artist’s Foyer”, International Prize of the Roman University “La Sapienza”; the first time in 30 years that this prize was conferred to a chef. In 2003 he was given the “Cuocoric 2002” as “Best Kitchen Chef” and in 2004 Enoteca Italiana awards him with the “Ampolla d’Oro” while the Consorzio Tutela del Radicchio di Treviso honoured him the award “Radicchio d’ Oro”.
Throughout the years “La Pergola” has maintained its primary position in the gastronomic panorama of Italy; the Michelin guide for 2006 awarded Beck with the prestigious three stars. In October 2006 he also received the Ritz Carlton “Life Time Achievement Award” at the International Festival of Food and Wine 2006 in Wolfsburg, Germany.
In September 2009 Beck opened his first restaurant in London: “Apsleys - a Heinz Beck Restaurant”, at The Lanesborough, a St Regis Hotel, which was awarded its first Michelin star just five months after opening. Beck has published a number of leading recipe books, focused on the art of cooking pasta and vegetarian cookery, and a non-recipe book, “L’Ingrediente Segreto”, focusing on his cooking philosophy, all of which have been nominated for gourmet literary prizes.
Heinz says: “Cookery. For me it’s an acronym: how to link communication, astonishment, nature and harmony. Cookery is interpretation, history and philosophy of flavours, orderly insanity and Mediterranean strictness. Cookery is life. Mine. Which I taste in little, intense bites. To relish it all.”