‘I think an artist is anybody who does something well, like if you cook well’
In 2000, Heinz Beck received the Golden Medal of the Artists Foyer, becoming the first chef to win the award in 30 years.
BORN IN GERMANY in 1963, Heinz Beck trained as a chef at the Professional School in Passau, Bavaria. He went on to gain experience in some of Europe’s most prestigious kitchens, including the three Michelin starred Tantris in Munich; the two Michelin starred Residenz Heinz Winkler in Aschau, where he contributed to the opening of the restaurant and gained his kuchenmeister, one of Germany’s prestigious culinary awards; and La Pergola in Rome, where he worked up to the position of executive chef, achieving three Michelin stars along the way. In between, he also spent some time in Berlin, organising events at the presidential headquarters and fulfilling the role of chef de cuisine.
In 2000, Beck received the Golden Medal of the Artists Foyer from La Sapienza Rome University, becoming the first chef to win the award in 30 years. Perhaps this is not surprising, since, in 1996, he had completed a course for sommeliers organised by the Italian Sommelier Association in Rome, thus learning how to create dishes perfectly matched to certain wines – turning the design of the meal as a whole into an art.
Beck continued to reap awards, including Best Kitchen Chef in 2003, and the Ampolla d’Oro from the Enoteca Italiana awards and the Radicchio d’ Oro from the Consorzio Tutela del Radicchio di Treviso, both in 2004. In 2006, he received the Ritz Carlton Life Time Achievement Awardat the International Festival of Food and Wine in Wolfsburg, Germany.
In 2009, Beck arrived in London to embark upon his latest venture, the new restaurant, Apsley's, at the Lanesborough Hotel. This was awarded its first Michelin star just five months after opening.
Beck has also written a number of books on food and cooking, all of which have been nominated for gourmet literary prizes, and has collaborated on other works looking into the impact of nutrition on illnesses such as diabetes, obesity in children and blood pressure.
Beck's culinary style is considered a blend of German discipline with innovative nuances of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. ‘Cookery is interpretation, history and philosophy of flavours, orderly insanity and Mediterranean strictness. Cookery is life. Mine. Which I taste in little, intense bites. To relish it all.’