When the man known as The Power Chef, Franz de Waal starts to design a menu, he takes into account two critical factors: the season and the freshest produce applicable to the season.
Franz also likes to draw on the words of the revered late 19th century chef Auguste Escoffier (who popularized and modernized French cooking): Good food is the basis of true happiness. And, like Escoffier, he wants to bring modern cuisine into the 21st century in a way that factors in social media as a modern branding tool.
I want my food to raise people’s serotonin levels, to make them smile as they eat, to put them in a state of bliss.
Franz de Waal | The Power Chef
#HotCaterers is his brain-child, a catering and events company that will allow the modern consumer to decide exactly what it is they want. “I want to fulfill people’s food fantasies. I want them to be part of the brand, to guide me as to what they want. I would like to give customers a willow tree of options,” he said.
With this in mind, self-trained Chef Franz has created a modern menu that will change as the availability of fresh produce changes. He will also try a host of unusual pairings of food and food, and food and wine. Goats’ cheese and butternut paired with basil and lemon and beetroot; mushroom and thyme; apple and mint foam, salmon with lemon and mustard and saffron… the possibilities are endless.
Chef Franz insists that if food is to bring the diner true happiness, it has to look as appealing as it tastes. And so his plating is intricate and colourful, his food combinations are aromatic and fragranced. “All senses have to be heightened, and my food sets out to do just that,” he said.
His favourite meal comes from his Sicilian mother’s repertoire: lamb knuckle linguini, a slow cooked dish that incorporates rosemary and garlic and balsamic white vinegar with the succulent lamb.
His mama might have been his early inspiration but Marco Pierre White, the British celebrity chef, restaurateur and television personality – often called the world’s first celebrity chef, and occasionally known as the godfather of modern cooking – became Franz’s role model. “He’s a chefs chef, a true master in the kitchen,” Franz says of the man as famous for training chef Gordon Ramsay, as he is for making him cry.