In 2016 Christoph Eckert originally from Germany won the 2016 Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition. He came to Le Cordon Bleu Paris to study pastry. We asked him few questions.
Meet Christoph Eckert
You won the contest “Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs”, can you tell us more about that?
One day, my chef at Der Butt restaurant came to see me and said “I have entered you in a competition which is taking place in 2 days time”, I didn’t really have any choice. It was the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Chef Competition.
During the competition we had 3 ½ hours to make 3 dishes, a starter, main course and dessert for 4 people. You do not get any information prior to the competition, everything is revealed on the day. A mystery box contains the ingredients that must be used.
You need to write your menu, prepare and serve the dishes, all within the allotted time! In my opinion, it is a competition which is suitable for professionals, those who already have 3 to 4 years experience in cuisine.
What I appreciated most about the competition was that I didn’t know what I was going to cook: this enabled me to be spontaneous and creative. It was, nevertheless, essential to work quickly and cleanly.
Competitions are not my favourite activity but I do perform well in them. It was a very positive experience for my career, my creativity and my inspiration.
You are now in Paris, attending the Pastry Diploma? How does it go?
When I arrived, I said to myself “wow, I am going straight into superior level of the Pastry Diploma”. Classes are going really well and there is also enough time to discover Paris.
Le Cordon Bleu is an international school of the very highest standard, it is interesting to meet other students, to interact with them: I am building a vast network. I have also learnt sugar techniques, something I hadn’t had much experience with before.
You are specialized in cuisine, why did you choose pastry?
I have dabbled in pastry during the past 3 years, but have always preferred cuisine. However, if you want to become a cuisine chef or sous-chef, it is essential to be competent in both! I said to myself that this was the ideal opportunity for me to try some pastry classes. This decision has enabled me to increase my experience, stimulate my creativity and strengthen my interest in this domain.
Could you tell us briefly about your career path?
I worked for a year and a half at the Relais & Châteaux Richtershof, as chef de partie, during my studies. I was then chef de partie, and 2 years later sous-chef, at the Relais & Châteaux Schlosshotel Burg Schlitz, one of my favourite hotels in Germany. I stayed there for 4 years. I then wanted a different experience and to evolve, that is when I began working at Der Butt, where I remained for 2 years.
What advice would you give to future students?
This is one of the most widely recognized and important schools in the world, but if you want to work in a business afterwards, you need to carry out some internships to experience the reality out in the field and how things truly work in a kitchen. I wouldn’t advise trying other schools and carrying out multiple training programmes, work is real life!
What are your plans for the future?
After my training programme at the Paris school, I am going to return to cuisine. Even if I prefer cuisine, I am also skilled in pastry. Initially, I am going to return to my homeland, Germany, and will seize any opportunities with which I am presented. I would like to work in a good restaurant to gain experience. I am only 25 years old but in a few years, I would like to be a chef and open my very own restaurant.
Read more about the competition on our article "Final of the 2016 International Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseurs Competition" :