For Wankerl, fewer calls also means more time in his kitchen without interruption. Asked if wholesale and sustainability are a contradiction in terms, he responds, ‘You just have to talk – then anything is possible!’ He is certain that bolder promotion would anchor sustainability in more restaurants and people’s minds. If there were a labelling requirement for the origins of a schnitzel, for instance – not just in supermarkets, but on restaurant menus as well. Then more people would grasp the concept. Hygiene, Wankerl says, is the only area where sustainability is difficult. Cleaning agents used in the food service industry need to have certain levels of acidity; detergent for industrial dishwashers comes in non-returnable plastic canisters that he has to dispose of. He understands the reasoning behind the regulations, but wishes for a change in thinking here, too – along with some compromises.
‘I’m just not interested in fillet or roast’
When it comes to meat, however, Michael Wankerl makes no compromises. When he uses it in his cooking, it must be very local, just like all his other ingredients. If the nearby farmer that he knows and trusts slaughters a cow, Wankerl takes half. ‘I always leave the fillet and the roast behind,’ he says. ‘I’m just not interested in those cuts. Slap it on the grill, brown it on both sides – to me that’s so uninspired. There’s no character or feeling in it for me. Any meat that comes in my kitchen gets braised!’ Shoulder, cheek, heart, liver, lungs – at Gerüchteküche, nothing is wasted, and everything gets eaten. Even cockscombs. Yes, the combs from the heads of roosters. ‘They take on the flavour of the sauce they’re braised in, and they have a funny texture – a bit like calamari,’ Wankerl explains. ‘If you cut them into little bits, most people won’t even realise they’re eating them.’ But that isn’t Wankerl’s style. He’s provocative. He presents more than just his surprise menu every day; he also serves up his philosophy, and his guests love it: ‘I leave the jagged edge on the combs and lay them across the dish. And then my regulars say, “Look, we’re having dragon again today!”’