In the 1990s, Germans were travelling all over the world and getting to know brand new culinary delights in the process. Increasing globalisation also gave new impetus to Germany’s restaurant landscape. The cuisines of Asia, North Africa and the American Deep South are still popular today. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, there have also been many influences from Russian cuisine and the former East Germany. The main characteristic of the exciting new fusion cuisine, which developed in the cultural melting pot of early-1980s California and made its way to Europe, was to take the best parts of different cuisines and mix them up together. Dishes such as papardelle with teriyaki duck, or sour cream ice cream with Szechuan pepper, were surprise hits. We also have fusion cuisine to thank for Surf ’n’ Turf, a combination of lobster and steak invented by North American steakhouses.
Revolutionary and molecular
At the turn of the millennium, Spanish master chef Ferran Adrià turned our perception of modern cuisine on its head with his molecular gastronomy concept. The dishes served at his world-famous El Bulli restaurant are not cooked on the hob or in the oven, they are developed in the laboratory. Adrià processes raw vegetables using high-tech medical equipment, shapes jellied olive puree into olives, and serves fish mousse encased in wafer-thin pork fat. Adrià’s wickedly expensive menus consist of up to 35 tiny portions. Modernist Cuisine, the work of PhD physicist Nathan Myhrvold, who has published a book by the same name, has more to do with tinkering than with cooking. Myhrvold prefers high-pressure homogenisers, freeze-drying equipment and centrifuges to a traditional wooden spoon.