One likes sharp blades, the other sharp shoes. When we met Hamburg-based celebrity chef Tim Mälzer and his close friend, Cuban catwalk trainer Jorge González, at the Kai exhibition stand, they were on a sharp mission. The pair attracted plenty of attention – and not just because of Jorge’s dizzying Cuban heels.
A fine nose
They make quite a contrast – a North German and a bird of paradise from Cuba. But when you look more closely, Tim Mälzer and Jorge González have quite a few things in common. They are often on German TV and they are both collectors. “I simply adore beautiful chef’s knives. I’ve got about 80 of them. I love looking at them. With Jorge it’s the same with his high heels,” Tim Mälzer reveals. The good-natured González walks as easily on his Cuban heels as others do in trainers. Just seeing this feat is an event in itself. Apparently, even his orthopaedic surgeon finds it hard to believe: “At my annual checkup my doctor is always amazed at how well cared-for and healthy my feet are.” Jorge González, who has worked for industry greats such as Vivienne Westwood and Laura Biagotti and has become a celebrity through his involvement in the “Germany’s Next Topmodel” reality TV show, is the face of a new men’s beauty care line from Japanese knife manufacturer Kai. The former model knows how men and women go about finding the right fashion look. After all, that’s what has made him famous. “Well-groomed nails are a must,” he says. At the Kai exhibition stand Jorge proudly shows us a velvet-soft red leather case containing a wide range of indispensable manicure and pedicure tools.
Currywurst and superfood
“Let’s think. I guess the gift Jorge would give me would be a pair of nail scissors as I often have dirty fingernails from cooking,” says Tim Mälzer. This 45-year-old’s stove is rarely cold. In addition to appearances on various TV shows, he runs his own down-to-earth restaurant, the ‘Bullerei’ in Hamburg’s Schanzenviertel district. He is also the guiding spirit behind several other restaurants. For instance, ‘Hausmanns’ at Frankfurt Airport bears the distinctive Mälzer signature. According to Tim Mälzer: “A good knife not only makes work easier but also helps to make a successful dish.” His experience was invaluable in the development of the collection of ‘Shun Premier’ damask knives for the traditional Japanese manufacturer Kai. The key features he was looking for were extreme hardness and an excellent grip. In addition, the use of walnut for the handle gives precise cutting performance. Mälzer had to make numerous trips to Seki City, the cutlery capital of Japan, to work out the best possible design. The celebrity chef says nonchalantly: “I don’t have a philosophy of cooking. I’m therefore open to new developments. I like award-winning cuisine, but I also like snack bar food. I don’t think drinking a malt beer from the bottle is less pleasurable than a wine costing 1000 Euro.” According to a forecast, the popular German snacks currywurst and Mettbrötchen (minced raw pork on a roll) are acutely endangered species. “Brainfood and superfood are the current mega-trend. The focus here is on nutrition with a medical benefit, i.e. food that promises fitness, a slim figure and happiness. However, it is certainly debatable whether this is a trend that makes sense.”
Food for the spirit
While we’re on the subject of happiness. What about when you notice that your friend isn’t happy? What sort of meal would give a feeling of closeness and warmth? Tim Mälzer doesn’t have to think long: “In this sort of situation I’d make a chicken broth or a chicken fricassee. Something that your mother would have made.” By contrast, friends of Jorge González might expect something comforting from the freezer: “We always have ice cream and strawberry cheesecake there!”