Jennifer Weber set the scene: “Jurgen opened a restaurant in Eastern Germany and it received its Michelin star after only 10 months. Berliners drove 160km over gravel roads to dine there. He knows what he’s doing. He’s had a Michelin star continuously for 18 years.”
“It wasn’t easy,” says Jurgen, “because there was nothing there when we started but… we have experience in adventures! We lived in a mobile home.” Today, Googling Gutshaus Stolpe shows a different story. They are a couple that revel in big challenges and hard work.
They met while Susanne trained under Jurgen and discovered they shared the same passions. In Germany, they have trained over 60 people under the German apprentice system and they want to do the same in Stanford.
Jurgen’s style of cooking is creative — he’s a forager… you’ll find him out on his mountain bike looking for mushrooms or edible plants. “There’s so much you can do with seaweed, for example,” he says, “in Europe you pay more than €20/kg for it!”
Less concerned “with the optics”, he concentrates on tastes, textures and aromatics: “you can get three or four different tastes from one product.” He tries to find interesting combinations.
A dinner — in the building site of the to-be-restaurant, was held for a German TV crew that filmed their departure from Germany, their arrival in SA and the town they have made their new home. The menu was written on the wall; produce was mainly foraged from around the farm… and the result was a dining experience that all agreed was unsurpassed anywhere!
They’ve already planted their vegetable garden and orchard, and most days that’s where one finds Susanne while Jurgen oversees the renovation of the old building that’s being converted in the restaurant.
When the restaurant opens in October, Jurgen promises a menu that will change daily, be close to nature and very seasonal. Apart from the fine dining area, “there will be a Winemaker’s Table — a long table where guests can come together and interact — we will also serve a very affordable set menu as well as small dishes , like salads and cheeseplatters etc. We think that Stanfordians will want to visit us in the evening just to have a glass of wine,” says Susanne. It will be a very “social” restaurant.
They have lots of ideas, “but we’ll see what works,” Jurgen says.
Expect a new and very compelling reason to visit Stanford from October.