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Wolfsburg, Germany

Meet the Man Behind the Michelin Stars

Renowned for his edible masterpieces, Sven Elverfeld explains how his rise to the top of the food world all started with scrambled eggs.

Elverfeld, the head chef of Aqua at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, recently nabbed three Michelin stars for the 13th year in a row. He can add it to his ever-growing list of accolades, which includes a 19.5 point rating out of 20 from Gault&Millau, the famed French restaurant guide. While Elverfeld may be an international culinary tour de force with a new dining experience launching aboard The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, he finds joy and inspiration in life’s simple pleasures. Here, he answers ten burning questions, including the dish he enjoys devouring off duty.

What is your first food memory?
“My first food memory is linked to my mother. Whenever I came home from school, she used to cook for myself and my brother. The dish I will always remember is scrambled eggs with spinach and potatoes. I ended up using these same three ingredients to create a dish at Aqua, which is our popular pot-au-feu.”

What is the last great dish you ate?
“I really like the Beijing duck made by Mr. Wu at Hot Spot, a restaurant in Berlin. They also have a great selection of wines.”

How did you celebrate after learning that Aqua earned three Michelin stars for the 13th year in a row?
“Due to the lockdown, I could only thank all the ladies and gentlemen on my team digitally. At home, my wife and I celebrated with a glass of champagne.”

What is the most interesting thing on Aqua’s menu?
“If I have to choose one, it would be the Ruinart Champagne crème sorbet. It is one of my signature dishes and has been on the menu at Aqua since day one. The sorbet is inspired by Ruinart rosé and is frozen inside the bottom of an empty champagne bottle before being served atop a wooden base made out of a riddling rack. Sorbet is great any time of day, so expect it to make an appearance aboard The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection.”

Where do you find the inspiration for Aqua’s dishes?
“The best ideas come to me while I’m not working and my mind is free—usually while I’m shopping at markets, on holiday, or simply when I open my fridge at home.”

Elverfeld's Ruinart Champagne crème sorbet

“The best ideas come to me while I’m not working and my mind is free—usually while I’m shopping at markets, on holiday, or simply when I open my fridge at home.”

What is the most underrated spice or condiment?
“Fresh herbs are essential. It’s important to use them according to the right season when they have developed their full aroma and flavor.”

What do you cook when you don’t feel like cooking?
“Simple dishes, like farmer’s bread with scrambled eggs and bacon. Even if it’s easy and fast, it should still be tasty!”

What excites you most about traveling aboard The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection?
“It will be very exciting to see the different ports in different countries. I’m looking forward to the markets, restaurants, and traditional products in each unique location. I’m also eager for guests to experience the five-course culinary experience I’ve created at S.E.A. This tasting menu is only available to 28 guests at a time, so it gives me the opportunity to really personalize each dish.”

What is the biggest challenge that you think you will face while cooking at sea? 
“I know that certain recipes will need to be modified depending on the destination because of the changes in humidity and temperature. For example, the same fish can taste very different depending on local influences, and fruits can be more acidic or sweet depending on the area they come from.”

What’s your idea of a perfect day off?
“Sleep a little bit longer, have a great breakfast, and if the weather is nice, spend the day in my garden and have a BBQ with family and friends.”

LIGHTNING ROUND

Sweet or savory? “Savory.”

Window or aisle seat? “Window.”

Stay up late or wake up early? “Stay up late.”

Chocolate or vanilla? “Vanilla.”

Vodka or gin? “Gin.”

Scrambled or poached? “Scrambled, of course!”