Your browser is out of date. It may not display all features of this websites. We recommend to use one of these browsers or versions Mozila Firefox or Google Chrome

To Top

“We don’t want an image!”

By: Reading Time: 4 Minutes

Surfing mega-waves with a finger in every pot – the guys at Salt & Silver refuse to be categorized, and they’re leaving the Hamburg culinary scene breathless.

Salt & Silver

Image: Salt & Silver

Glasses clink together. The room is filled with the sounds of cheerful voices and mellow music. Outside, night is falling over St. Pauli; inside, the kitchen crew’s juggling pots and pans, sending up clouds of mouthwatering scent. One by one, bowls and plates head out to the tables—served up Balagan style, so it’s all meant to be shared. “Eating together and trying a little of everything is the best,” says restaurateur Johannes Riffelmacher, who everyone calls “Jo”. He and “Cozy”, his long-time friend Thomas Kosikowski, run Salt & Silver together. The two of them share a passion for surfing, traveling, and cooking for friends; when their paths crossed again after they’d spent years apart, it didn’t take them long to realize they wanted to do all of those things together. Just like that, they left their old lives behind them and started a brand-new project. “Our mission,” Jo says, “is to bring the best food from all over the world to Hamburg.” And it’s working: Their customers are foraging enthusiastically through the large bowls arranged in the center of the table for everyone. There’s chicharron, pork belly with apple cream and fried corn pudding, and pulpo, octopus with salsa Veracruz. The tacos and ceviche are still the biggest sellers, though.

Salt & Silver

Image: Salt & Silver

“Those are the first things people came to know us for,” Jo says. Fun fact: neither of them is a trained chef. Cozy was a photographer in his previous life, and Jo worked as an art director for a big advertising agency. “I never wanted to be a restaurateur,” Jo says. “Or write a cookbook. Or become a mezcal importer.” Now they both do all of those things. In fact, they’ve got two cookbooks to their names, and now two restaurants as well: this past summer, Salt & Silver opened its restaurant next to its street food bar, and its casual sharing-style food was an instant hit. “Even with guys in suits,” Jo grins. But really, who can resist great food and a fabulous view of the harbor? “Our guests are a really random mix of people,” Jo says. “People from all walks of life, including families and senior citizens.”
The one thing they all have in common is an appreciation for a good meal at a good price. A few of the main dishes do crack the €30 mark, but at Salt & Silver, that’ll get you Irish steak, Canadian lobster tail, or a freshly grilled whole fish with all the trimmings.

Salt & Silver

Image: Salt & Silver

Johannes Riffelmacher praises his suppliers to the skies—including when he’s talking to customers. “For example, we tell them that our meat comes from a small farm in Ireland where they only butcher 20 cows a week, so we have to order in advance,” he explains. “We deal with them directly, not through a middleman, which helps keep the price down some.” Salt & Silver’s focus is on good, honest products, not frou-frou: “It’s important to us that the animals had a good life. You can taste the difference.”
Biokiste Hamburg, an organic food delivery service by Grünkorb Nursery, is another supplier. “We get seasonal vegetables, wild greens and herbs from them,” Jo says. “They even grow rare chili varieties for us, native to Mexico and Peru, as well as exotic herbs like epazote, hoja santa, and betel leaves.” Now Jo and Cozy are taking the relationship a step further— They’re working with the nursery to create a cultivation area of their own, where they’ll be growing herbs as well as around 70 regional varieties of corn from around South America.

Salt & Silver

Image. Salt & Silver

In fact, the whole Salt & Silver project started in South and Central America back in 2014: Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, Chile. That trip resulted in their first cookbook, and gave them a life motto:

“Travel – Surf – Cook”.

Travel, surf, cook. Sounds like a pretty great life, right? “It’s also hard work, of course, but nobody wants to hear about that,” Jo says. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the mellow surfer-dude image? Whatever. “We don’t want an image,” he says decisively. Okay, well, let’s put it differently: How do you guys manage to do all of this? What’s your secret recipe?
“Just do it, don’t waste time blah-blah-blah-ing about it,” Jo replies. “I mean, now that I’ve said that, it’s not a secret recipe anymore!” He laughs. And then goes back to work. Not long ago, they finished shooting a documentary in Morocco for German television. Most recently, they were in Beirut, and they brought a few exciting Levantine recipes home with them. “I’m sure we’ll go back there again someday. But we want to go further. Israel, Palestine, Iran. Sounds dangerous?” Jo waves the idea away. “We have friends all over the place. And it’s not like we’re going to Aleppo!”

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: WHAT’S HOT in Concepts & Food: The 2019 TREND GUIDE | KTCHNrebel

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Chef's Life

  • 20 Best Chefs on Instagram 2020

    Underdogs and top stars, hobby and professional gourmets: They all cavort on Instagram. Instagram connects gourmets across kitchen and country borders....

    KTCHNrebel editorial teamJune 15, 2020
  • Raw desire

    A health food deli is shaking things up on the Florentine culinary scene. #RAW, in the up-and-coming Santo Spirito district, breathes...

    Ilona MarxMay 25, 2020
  • Hemp – A crash course

    Ostrasized or valued? The consensus is in: the potential of this plant has not yet been fully tapped. One of the...

    Alexandra Gorsche - Falstaff PROFIApril 23, 2020
  • Food School: Vegan Pulled Pork Alternatives

    Pulled Pork has been in trend for years, but vegetarians and vegans don't have to fear missing out on anything: For...

    Alexandra Gorsche - Falstaff PROFIMarch 23, 2020
  • One hundred percent passion

    The shortage of skilled workers makes today's gastronomy industry hot under the collar. The future looks bleak. However, the orange flame...

    Maya WilsonMarch 2, 2020
  • How much does one earn in gastronomy – An international overview

    We shouldn't talk about money. Or should we? We take a look at the current state of wages and salaries...

    Isabell KniefFebruary 19, 2020
  • CBD: Game-changing hit or passing fad?

    CBD, THC, hemp, cannabis – trendsetters are touting them as the next big high for food service operators, but legislators remain...

    Thomas Lawrence - FCSIFebruary 6, 2020
  • Check out what’s fermenting!

    Fermentation is the next big thing. Trendy kitchen professionals are catapulting techniques from the olden days directly into the future.

    Barbara E. EulerJanuary 30, 2020
  • Five-star cuisine and starry nights

    After six weeks crossing Kavango Zambezi National Park, living among oryx, antelope, and kudu herds, René Linke’s passport has just two...

    Heike LucasJanuary 22, 2020