The vegetable whisperer
«Vegetables without a side dish»
Vegetarian chef and photographer Sylvan Müller bring us a fresh new look at vegetables on the Feuerring.
Vegetables are not simply a side dish in Pascal’s recipes: The latest Feuerring cookbook «VEGETABLES» contains inspirational new spicy combinations with fascinating preparation methods on and in the Feuerring.
Pascal loves spices, so it comes as little surprise that special flavours put a unique twist on well-known vegetable tastes; some of the cooking methods will also take you by surprise, re-emphasising a vegetable’s own characteristic aroma.
We picked a picturesque location for the photographs; a forest high above Lake Lucerne, the perfect backdrop for these culinary highlights.
A cookbook for people who enjoy the wonders of nature, the beauty of the changing seasons - also on a dining table - the sheer simplicity of preparation and the meticulous attention to detail throughout.
A cookbook for all those who love vegetables, whether as a complete menu or alongside a delicious piece of fish or meat.
Pascal, you’re already a very experienced Feuerring user. What do you actually think about its form?
I think it’s great. It’s reduced to the essentials and yet - or maybe because of that - the Feuerring allows you to move away from traditional barbecuing and towards preparing whole dishes.
Were you a big fan of barbecuing before getting to know the Feuerring?
Not really. The Feuerring has opened up a whole new world of barbecuing options for me as a vegetarian chef. You can cook whole menus on the Feuerring without the need for additional cooking utensils or without having to pre-cook some of the dishes in the kitchen.
Do you have a favourite model?
Because of my height, I prefer to cook on taller models. My favourite is the TULIP 80.
What aspect of the Feuerring appeals to you as a chef, what is important for your work?
Since you don’t need a lot of cooking utensils for the Feuerring, I can focus fully on the actual product.
To begin with, it was somewhat different. Sauces and larger legumes, for example, are challenging.
Do flavours develop differently on the Feuerring? How does it work with the flavour of smoke?
The good thing is that you can decide and influence how much of a smoky flavour you actually want depending on the dish. For example in «mutabal» - an oriental eggplant recipe - the flavour is ideal. I therefore prick the eggplants and simply leave them to char in the embers. This gives the flesh a very fine smoky flavour. To create a nice smoky flavour from the Feuerring, for instance, I place one or two pieces of charred wood, which are still smoking, directly on the ring. If I want more of a barbecue/roast-type flavour, I just leave out the smoking pieces of wood.
What really motivates you in life?
After completing my apprenticeship as a chef, working in various roles in Switzerland and overseas and spending seven years at the Hiltl Restaurant in Zurich, I decided to start my own business three years ago. Since then, I’ve been able to bring many vegan cuisine projects to life. They include, for instance, vegetable training courses for chefs, developing recipes for companies, organising courses on spices, co-authorship as a recipe developer for the award-winning cookbook «Leaf to Root» and guest chef appearances, where I cook my own dishes that are characterised by seasonal vegetables, legumes and spices. This is exactly where I belong. I want to make a real difference and inspire others with my vegan cuisine.
Does the Feuerring still challenge you after spending so many hours barbecuing with us?
Definitely. To find out what is actually possible, I push the boundaries to the limit and try out as much as I can.
Barbecuing and cooking in the great outdoors, does that involve a lot of work?
Well, you are at the mercy of the weather and since you can’t just pop into the kitchen and open the fridge, you do have to be well prepared.
What do you personally love about the Feuerring?
It’s a beautiful work of art and, for me as a chef, it’s a great tool.