It began with a glorious event at Villa Necchi Campiglio, a stately 1930’s villa that you may recognize from House of Gucci, 2021. This Art Deco home, which was one of the first in Milan to have a swimming pool and tennis court, was built by the sister heiresses of the Necchi Campiglio sewing machine business, which was integral to the success of the Milan fashion industry. Designed with a smoking room, library, and grand salon for serious parties, to this day accommodates SERIOUS parties like Gaggenau’s Design Week Event. Gaggenau tented the tennis court and created a party space the sisters would’ve been proud of, with architecturally chic kitchen installations, Michelin chefs, and magnificent food prepared right before our eyes.
The following day, our group departed Milan for a lovely Michelin lunch at Roter Baren in Basel, Switzerland, and then hopped across the border for a private tour of the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, Germany. One of the museum buildings is Frank O. Gehry’s first building in Europe.
From the foothills of the Black Forest, we were at the border triangle- five minutes away from both France and Switzerland, all three countries simultaneously within view. Pretty amazing.
From there, champagne on the way to Strasbourg to check-in to one of the oldest hotels in Europe near the Strasbourg Cathedral, Hotel Cour du Courbeau. Strasbourg is the capital city of the Grand Est region, formerly Alsace, in northeastern France. It’s also the formal seat of the European Parliament and sits near the German border, with culture and architecture blending German and French influences.
Then we departed for the 2nd Michelin the day: dinner at Buerehiesel. If you’re a French cuisine connoisseur, the names Eric and Antoine Westermann might ring a bell. Antoine is the father, Eric the son, both Michelin chefs for this same restaurant at different times in their careers, with Eric now the chef for quite a while.
If you are wondering why all the Michelin meals, Gaggenau is the preferred kitchen appliance brand of the Michelin guide.
The next morning we departed Strasbourg for one of the Gaggenau factories, in Lipsheim, Alsace. It was incredibly impressive. Gaggenau’s commitment to craftsmanship and advanced technology was clear. Their attention to detail, meticulously designed and tested products was amazing to witness. Rather than depend on parts from elsewhere and subject themselves to supply chain or quality issues, they make their parts. Their factory is a spotless, tightly run ship . Gaggenau’ s head of design, Sven Baacke, matter of factly stated ‘We do things a certain way, not to impress or differentiate, but because that is what is required to achieve perfection.’
A product of particular interest to me was Gaggenau’s Vario Downdraft Series.The modularity of this integrated system allows for completely customizable to any combination of cooktop assortment that you want- gas, wok, electric grill, Teppan Yaki, induction. Rectangular flex induction zones can optionally be combined to a larger zone or split into two smaller zones. Gaggenau’s full surface induction was new to me, offering the flexibility to use an oversized pot or pan or cook multiple things at once. As you move pots and pans, the heat setting will travel with them. Another feature that I was unaware of is that an induction cooktop can be used as a hotplate to keep food warm before serving.
The downdraft ventilation is the quietest Gaggenau downdraft yet, with an all-new automatic function that detects odor and steam when the cooktop is in use, and reacts automatically to draw them away before they get the chance to offend. This happens super quietly because of the bespoke engineering with high performing blowers to ensure reduced noise.
Downdraft ventilation also offers design flexibility with the ability to place the range against a wall or in an island without the need for a traditional hood, and the additional perk of uninterrupted views. This allows the cook the ability to enjoy the view and conversation as well. Homes that were previously bound by structure to not be able to have island ventilation now can. In fact, Gaggenau has even upped the ante with a recirculating downdraft that fits in the toe kick. In kitchens with high ceilings, downdraft ventilation installed in the toe kick may be more effective in removing smoke, steam and cooking odors than a vent hood which is installed higher up. Advantages of downdraft ventilation in a kitchen include:
- Improved air quality: Downdraft ventilation systems effectively remove smoke, steam, and cooking odors from the kitchen, improving the overall air quality.
- Reduced grease buildup: These systems also help to reduce the buildup of grease and grime on kitchen surfaces and in the air, making it easier to keep the kitchen clean.
- Increased safety: Downdraft ventilation systems can also help to reduce the risk of fire by removing smoke and steam from the kitchen.
- Better visibility: With downdraft ventilation, the cooking surface is visible and not obscured by smoke or steam.
- Enhanced design aesthetic: Downdraft ventilation systems can be integrated seamlessly into the design of a kitchen, making it possible to have an open, modern kitchen without sacrificing functionality.
- Improved energy efficiency: Downdraft ventilation systems can also help to improve energy efficiency by removing heat from the kitchen, reducing the need for air conditioning.
After the factory tour we were treated to an induction demonstration by Michelin Chef Marc Haeberlin, as he prepared a phenomenal lunch for our group. You may know of Chef Marc Haeberlin from Auberge de l’lll, his 2 Michelin Star restaurant.
(Side note: Auberge de l’lll was one of the 1st places Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten apprenticed. )
The following morning our group met for a grand architectural walking tour of Strasbourg France- charming and rich in blended French and German history.
Our walking tour concluded with lunch at Les Haras, ANOTHER Marc Haeberlin restaurant (!!), his first brasserie, a 3 star Michelin restaurant in a 4 star hotel.
The history of this location is noteworthy: Built in the mid 18th century, the former National Stud in Strasbourg constitutes a remarkable group of buildings of which the facades, the roofs, the monumental entrance gate and the grand stables built in the classical style, are all classified historic monuments. Founded in 1621, the city’s Equestrian Academy was initially a riding school for young well-to-do French and Germans students from the University of Strasbourg.
My part of this incredible adventure stopped short of a few final stops along the culinary adventure because unfortunately I had to make my way to Paris to get home. Having the opportunity to see the precision of Gaggenau’s products up close, and internationally renown chefs working their talents and magic with Gaggenau products was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always treasure. I completely understand why Gaggenau is the preferred appliance brand of the Michelin Guide.
Note to design professionals:
Club 1683 is an exclusive program for trade professionals offering concierge services including customized personal specification and product knowledge guidance, project support, unique design and culinary experiences, rewards and recognition. This unique membership is open to a select number of luxury market trade partners who are committed to the Gaggenau brand when specifying residential kitchen projects.