Rare words are heard on day 3 of “Das Perfect Dinner” (VOX) in Ostfriesland. But now she is being spoken by someone who has already been a master in the bodybuilding class “Men’s Physique”. “I track my food and look for a low-calorie balance,” says Michel, flexing his Asian cooking muscles.
Thursday, June 9th: “I live the fitness lifestyle,” announces Michel proudly, host on day 3 of “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX) in East Frisia. It wasn’t always like that: the 30-year-old geriatric nurse shows a photo of himself as a pudgy teenager, not at all wistful. Growing up in the Ruhr area near Herne, he suffered from croup cough as a child, which prompted his family to move to the north German coast. Today Michel lives in Aurich, is now the “daddy” of a little daughter and a competitive bodybuilder.
Therefore, he knows exactly about the connection between training, nutrition and model body. He meticulously keeps a record of everything he eats. He compensates for frequent evening escapades in the form of ice cream (“Ice cream is my life”) with exercise. The essence of all this knowledge goes towards the Far East that evening, where he has not yet been because of his fear of flying, but at least he can greet it in North German.
Motto: “Moin Asia”
Because Michel is by no means a (pure) protein shake consumer, but a connoisseur: “For me, food is joie de vivre.” The longing of his guests is his command. “You asked for fish – then you’ll get fish,” says Michel, commenting on the juicy, shiny salmon fillets, which he marinates in teriyaki sauce for the main course and serves with cornflake-coated chicken and spicy noodles.
The starter comes in roll form: “Do you eat it with sushi?” asks Wilhelmina (34), looking at the soy sauce in the small bowl. Hildtrud’s (52) greatest satisfaction stands in the way of her initiation into Maki: “I love it that way,” coos the declared salmon fan in view of the wonderfully prepared fillet. When the elementary school teacher Carina (36) discovered that both she and the host were holding their knife and fork “the wrong way around”, the cohesion in the group was finally perfect – and Michel switched to coconut ice cream with a mango-kiwi salad at the end of the dinner fabulous 9 p.m. satisfied with himself, the world and above all his “challenge”.
“As an athlete, I really like setting goals and achieving them. Today it was also the time management.” The easy-going Hiltrud went “sometimes too fast”, but she awarded 10 points, which the other two guests increased to a total of 25. Challenge fulfilled: This is currently number 1 for Michel.
Wednesday, June 8th: In Ostfriesland, as the current round on “Das Perfect Dinner” (VOX) shows, the world is still in order. Individuals always refer to their preferences and habits as “we”. The air is fresh, the countryside is teeming with sheep and mills, the homes are stately and the lots are huge.
A cute pony makes its rounds in front of Wilhelmina’s freshly moved into new house in Holtland (district of Leer). However, his owner Luisa (9) doesn’t have time to ride at the moment. Instead, she has to help her nervous mother. For an oriental fattoush salad, tomatoes need to be cut and pomegranates pitted. Because Wilhelmina (34) is fully occupied with looking for bowls and consolidating a potato dough (“Why is it so soggy now?”).
“Maybe pregnancy dementia?” speculates the social media manager and expectant mother of two herself. Whatever the case, it was enough to create an appetizing menu.
“I can cook, I can also cook freely,” Wilhelmina comments on the fact that she is preparing some elements of her menu for the first time – and that too in the first few days at home (and in the fourth month!). As a starter, there is also a curry soup with prawns in a zucchini coat and fattoush salad. In the main course, there is plenty of cream cheese in the chicken sauce, and the mysterious dessert is a cappuccino cake with a berry crêpe.
Wilhelmina fights her way through the preparations with a little jittery, but still with a lot of charm and dignity. The result shows that structure can take many forms: Just as she probably concentrates on the most important moments in her part-time job as a wedding photographer, she also conjures up all sorts of amazing things on the plates in delightful crockery.
Above all, her guests praise the soup: “It really picked me up,” says elementary school teacher Carina (36). Master hairdresser Hiltrud (52) raves about the pomegranate seeds, but not about the shrimp crust and chicken sauce: “Too heavy on cheese for me.” For geriatric nurse and bodybuilder Michel (30), the potato coins were “not the star on the plate”, but he always shouts when toasting more often “To life!”.
In the end there are 24 points for Wilhelmina, currently second place behind Hiltrud, an atmospheric evening and Wilhelmina’s insight into life: “It doesn’t always have to be witchcraft.”
Tuesday, June 7th: In the very north of Germany there is a lot of air and space. Many people are currently testing how wonderful freedom feels near the coast at very reasonable train prices. Far from the island of Sylt, however, there is an insider tip: in the community of Großefehn in the district of Aurich, four gourmets meet at master hairdresser Hiltrud (52) for the four-day East Friesland edition of “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX).
However, at least two of them like to let the wind blow through their hair on longer journeys – and that in their own rolling bedroom. “Ui, another camper child,” says elementary school teacher Carina (36) happily about the mini VW bus on Hiltrud’s mantelpiece. “Hey, we have something to talk about,” says the hostess happily: “Is a ‘dinner’ week enough? Are there two others there?”
We are talking about geriatric nurse Michel (30) and social media manager Wilhelmina (34). While they prefer fixed hotels on vacation, they meet up with the others for a menu of pleasant confrontations:
Hiltrud does not set to work in a camping kitchen, but in a huge living/cooking area – not without giving the camera team a glimpse of her in-house sauna/solarium area and hairdressing salon beforehand. In front of the “shampoo corner” she explains: “For me, cutting my hair is not a job, it’s a way of life.” Again and again falling into Low German, she explains the origin of her passion for cooking (“My parents had a snack and made every meatball themselves”) and her almost stoic composure when preparing (“Everything goes a little better with a glass of sparkling wine”).
The team spirit in the village offers her support in everything she does: She buys the pork medallions, which appear in the main course with a herb and brewer’s grain crust as well as swede and potato gratin, in the village shop cooperative, and the beer comes as an aperitif and breading from the local microbrewery, and the whole thing came up anyway with the local housekeeper.
The guests also feel this sense of community: “Hiltrud is like a warmth-spreading mommy,” says the enthusiastic bodybuilder Michel. Their menu is similarly down-to-earth. “Solid, but with room for improvement,” says Wilhelmina, while Carina misses “some acidity”.
However, everyone more than agrees on the meat (Carina: “Ein Traumchen”) and the dessert chocolates that accompany the vanilla flammeri as well as the exact time management (dessert at 9:13 p.m.!). 23 points for Hiltrud – and the prelude to guaranteed more enjoyable “Moins”.
Friday, June 3rd: In Oberstdorf with a view of the ski jump, the finale of “The Perfect Dinner” will take place in the Allgäu, it could hardly be more idyllic. Steffi only discovered her passion for baking on her 30th birthday when she baked a cake herself: “Now I actually bake a real cake once a month.” She publishes the results in her own cake blog, which is why the guests are there especially looking forward to the dessert. There is:
“Full physical effort” is required from Steffi when she purees the trout mousse – including a mess. “I’m actually a bit clumsy,” which annoys the perfectionist the most. Nevertheless, the preparation is going according to plan.
“You make strudel dough yourself,” says Antje (53) and is not disappointed. However, the white wine causes displeasure at the table. Imke (26): “It smells better than it tastes.” Shad (54): “I rarely have such wines that I didn’t like at all.” Alessandro (44) finally dares to ask Steffi: “You do another white wine?” – “Don’t you like it?” the hostess jumps up and fetches another one from the cellar. Away from the wine, Alessandro expected more trout in the strudel. Shad is also unconvinced: “You could eat. It wasn’t a highlight but it was okay.”
The roulades bring back childhood memories for Alessandro: “I remember them from my grandmother’s kitchen, wrapped in carrots, with gherkins, slathered with nice hot mustard and finely chopped onions.” With this he describes Steffi’s method of preparation exactly. Antje recognizes the risk of roulade roulette: “Although the roulade quickly becomes very dry.”
It gets stressful at the stove. Steffi eyed the steaming roulade pots suspiciously: “They might get dry if they cook too hard. But I can’t make it any smaller.” Shad gets a roulade without bacon, unfortunately it’s really too dry. He is plagued by a completely different problem: “I’m not into truffle oil. That repels me.” Alessandro isn’t a fan either, and neither is Imke: “I didn’t need truffles at all.”
The mood is slowly changing. Even the dessert cannot ignite any fireworks of enthusiasm. Alessandro: “I expected more for dessert.” His biggest point of criticism: “What I thought was a pity that Steffi didn’t take much time for us guests.”
“You were very grumbling today, which I didn’t know from the previous evenings,” Steffi states after the work is done. “I would have wished that the mood tonight had been just as fair and fun as the evenings before. ” She takes last place with 29 points. The winner of the Allgäu week is Antje with her Kässpatzen dinner.
Thursday, June 2nd: “I came to Germany in 1992,” says caretaker and hobby snooker player Shad, host on day 4 of “The Perfect Dinner” in the Allgäu. At that time he came all alone as an asylum seeker because of political problems in Pakistan. He is now firmly rooted in the Allgäu: “I feel really, really comfortable here.” Nevertheless, he serves his guests Pakistani specialties:
Alessandro (44) can’t imagine anything: “It doesn’t matter what he cooks, it’s going to be a roaring evening. Today everyone lets themselves fall.” Steffi is looking forward to the host: “I think he gets a lot out of his sympathy points.” Antje (53) nods: “Sociability is more important to him.”
In fact, Shad has prepared his dishes exactly once beforehand: “I hope that today will be better than when we tried it out.” Too much salt ends up in the pakora dough. Doesn’t matter. “I’ll just say, I was in love 20 years ago and I remembered it today.” He will certainly not top the plate presentation of the others: “I’ll try it, but it won’t look anywhere near like theirs.” Shad estimates accordingly realistically his chances of winning: “What I can do will be the perfect dinner for me, but I don’t think so for the others.”
“Hey, what’s up?” Shad greets his guests. Ciabatta and spreads go with the pomegranate rosé. The host has announced relaxation for today, so the guests lounge comfortably on the sofa.
The appetizer goes according to plan. That’s worth Shad a little dance at the stove. He serves mango chutney and mint yoghurt with lentil soup and fried vegetables in batter: “These are completely normal things. No sorcery.” Steffi feasts: “Tasty.” Alessandro enjoys: “Whoa, that’s awesome!” Shad is happy about the praise: “Then my effort really made sense, yes!”
While the others enjoy themselves in the snooker room, he relaxes with a glass of wine and prepares the rice from his own fields in Pakistan. The lamb curry only needs to be reheated: “No rocket science.” Shad anticipates the concerns about the lamb: “It grew up six kilometers from here. A happy animal.” Imke (26) admits: “I was very scared of lamb. But it tastes really good.” Steffi and Antje praise the taste, but complain: “In terms of craftsmanship, not so much has happened in terms of serving.”
“I absolutely cannot make desserts. My dessert is always espresso”, but Shad still tries to arrange Kulfi ice cream and mascarpone cream nicely. Instead of sugar, he sweetens with erythritol: “We have very slim people with us, and we want them to stay that way.” He serves the dessert to Steffi : “You won’t gain a gram from it.” Well then…
Everyone leans back and is satisfied. Shad has achieved his personal goal: “I really liked that you felt so comfortable.” Steffi’s conclusion: “The highlight of the evening was the Shad.” Alessandro agrees: “Absolutely brilliant host.” The reward: 32 points and second place for the time being.
Wednesday, June 1st: “I’m always the bird of paradise. Here in the Allgäu anyway”, the former model likes it colourful. Antje lives out her creativity when cooking: “Everything on my menu is regional. Then dressed up a little differently than perhaps the regional Allgäuer would do here.” Her motto on day 3 of “The Perfect Dinner” (VOX) is “Globetrotter mixes up Allgäu cuisine”:
“I think it will be fireworks today,” Alessandro (44) expects great things. Steffi (31) also: “If I read it like that, it definitely has potential to win.” But nobody comes up with the most obvious. “Kässpatzen are never served with a starter,” says Alessandro. “Because then we would actually already be done with dinner.”
Even the reception on the terrace with a fire bowl and homemade eggnog with freshly squeezed orange juice is a hit. Shad (54): “Wow! Mega!” Imke (26): “It was warm, it was heartfelt. We were all so welcome.”
Stress? rush? none. Antje glides through her kitchen with routine and elegance. “I’m most afraid of the Allgäu cheese spaetzle.” As a non-Allgäu native, she first had to learn: “There are differences between Swabian spaetzle and Allgäu spaetzle. The Swabians scrape them, the Allgäu grate them.” Imke asks in surprise: “Is there a cheese spaetzle? I’m freaking out!” Steffi: “Not seriously!” Alessandro cheers: “Kässpatzen were a great surprise for me, which made me very happy.” There’s also a cheese praline, cheese soup and salad with chocolate vinaigrette. Imke’s verdict on the starter: “I thought it was outstanding.”
At 8.30 p.m. sharp, Antje serves brook trout on pea-coconut puree and potato gratin. Time management: perfect. Steffi: “The fish was absolutely top class.” Imke: “I had a taste explosion on the plate.” The potato gratin divides tempers: For Alessandro it was the “highlight”, for Imke “unnecessary”.
“Since I’m not the dessert type, that’s my toughest story,” Antje has respect for the desserts. While the guests are nailing it on the terrace (Allgäu people know what I mean), she serves chocolate cakes with ice cream and avocado-oranges cream, a recipe from her Brazilian friend. The guests applaud the sparklers: “Fireworks!” Shad: “It tastes fantastic!” Alessandro is pleasantly surprised by the avocado cream: “I’ve never eaten like this before.”
Steffi’s overall impression: “Mastered with confidence.” Applause for the hostess. She takes the lead with 34 points.
Thursday, May 19: You have to give the Rostock “The Perfect Dinner” group one thing: they are greedy for surprises. Because if the group is already so international, please also “exotic” on the table! Her need for “fragrant worlds of spices” (Bärbel) didn’t just mean stress for the Syrian Mouaz (“I don’t want to overwhelm her with spices”) on day 2.
Bärbel also expects “all kinds of delicacies from Vietnam” from Dao (38), while Bianca (48) goes straight ahead: “It’s not really my kitchen.” Maybe that’s why Dao struggles with her menu plan to the end. In the morning of her dinner, she proudly announces: “I threw everything down”. The menu is correspondingly worthy of interpretation.
Motto: “My little journey for you”
So the enthusiastic sportswoman and volunteer junior soccer coach of SV Warnemünde has an exciting home game ahead of her: “I have no idea what my plan is.” The solution for the appetizer is: Let them “fiddle it a bit” themselves! Under the motto “Freestyle” there are “Do it yourself” variants of summer rolls and sushi, along with a cold mango soup.
After that, it’s 1-0 for the mother of three boys who are also football fans: “Everything is possible, nothing has to be – that got me,” states Paul (29). It gets more precarious with the main course: Dao, who came to Germany with her mother from Vietnam as a child shortly after reunification and grew up in Dresden, decided on roast venison with serviette dumplings of all things: “My neighbor Uwe is a hobby hunter, and the deer happened to be running behind his house.”
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