David has been running the German kitchen of Brewhaus for a few years now. This was such a great time getting to drink some great beer and “nerd out” with David on German cuisine, which usually takes a back seat to their beer selection. Here we go…
Q. What got you into cooking?
My grandmother who we visited in Korea, being at her house and smelling 10 year old kimchi, this stuff that smelled like crap and then tasted amazing. We would go visit her about once a year and I got more and more into how she was creating this amazing food.
Q. What do you like about cooking German food?
German and Korean cuisines are actually very similar. They do a lot of the same things with fermenting. Korean’s will use oysters or fish heads to start the fermentation of the cabbage for kimchi whereas German’s will use more of a vinegar base to ferment their root vegetables. SauerKraut is just fermented cabbage with spices and vinegar, so it was interesting to do a lot of the same things in a different context.
Also I love cooking with pork & German’s love cooking with pork. I want to roast a whole hog here at Brewhaus, we just have to find the space. Just have a 24 hour roast and keep the place open one night for a big party. With German food it’s all about the hog and using every bit you can — down to the pork cheeks. We have made them in the stew before, which was so good. Pork cheeks are the best part of a pig, right behind them is, of course, pork belly.
Q. Favorite Menu item at Brewhaus?
It has to be schnitzel, the pork is great. My favorite thing to cook is the rooster schnitzel which has the sunny side up eggs.
Q. How is German food different from everything else in terms of the structure of the dish?
I spent a lot of time in Germany and the first thing that hit me was that there are no individual plates. It’s all platters — it’s’ “Hey, you six (whether you know each other or not), you are sharing this huge platter.”
Building a dish starts with the protein, then your root vegetables (cabbage, beats, carrots, asparagus) depending on what’s fresh. I follow the German calendar on what they are serving throughout the year to the best I can with what we are serving.
Q. Let’s talk about sausage. How crucial is the brat in German cooking?
If you can’t finish a sausage well and choose the right beer to boil it in, you may turn a beautiful sausage into an Oscar Meyer wiener. First, choosing the right link is huge as the fat content has to be just right. Next, you have to have a great beer to boil it in before it hits the pan. Finally, you’ve got to make sure that you get the a charred skin to give it a great crunch with every bite.
Q.If you had to live on a desert island, what 3 foods would you bring with you?
1. Squid. You can do so much with it.
2. Monk Fish or “poor mans lobster.” In Korea, they cook the whole fish in this stew. It’s amazing.
3. Rice — gotta have it to go with the first two.
Q. Favorite place to eat other than Brewhaus?
Il Primo in Riverview.
Q.Favorite comfort food to cook at home?
Alright, I’m going to loose some people here but I can promise you this is amazing.I take rice, soy bean paste, kimchi and fish cakes and mix them all in a bowl — it’s really good.
Brewhaus, Chattanooga’s only German-American gastro pub, has been open at 224 Frazier Avenue since September 2011, serving chef driven food, paired with good ale & wine in a casual setting. Stop by and grab a great beer and some amazing food. Brewhaus is open for lunch as well. Thanks again to David (Panda) Sherrill for the time!