The chef who cooks the mountains

Norbert Niederkofler
St. Hubertus ★★★, No. 58 / 100 Best 2021
San Cassiano South Tyrol, Italy

The imposing massif of the Dolomites in South Tyrol: it’s understandable that a chef who travelled the world for years would eventually be drawn back there. Norbert Niederkofler grew up here among the mountains. “Nature and its wonders have always been a constant in my life,” notes the three-starred chef. During his time abroad, he learned to value his homeland, and back home he has developed a unique relationship with it. “It all started with thinking about what contribution mountain cuisine could make to the sustainability development of our planet,” says Niederkofler. One aim was clear in particular: “For sustainable economic and social development, every part of the value chain, from the producer to the product and its region of origin, to the consumer, must be included.” This also means rediscovering local cultures, preserving biodiversity and using organic or natural zero food mile products. Living at a slower pace and enjoying life. “Cooking the mountain” is what the chef calls this, serving orzotto, fenugreek, goat’s butter, and chicory/coffee powder or ravioli, mountain cheese & chicken consommée, pioneering cuisine with Tyrolean roots at the Michelin starred restaurant in the Hotel Rosa Alpina.