Torben´s place – Luxembourg, 24th February 2013

“Once we made a promise we swore we’d always remember
No retreat, baby, no surrender
Blood brothers in a stormy night
With a vow to defend
No retreat, baby, no surrender”

Bruce Springsteen – 1984


It is always great fun to cook with my lifelong friend Torben. Besides being my friend and “partner in crime” on many wine tastings, he was also my partner on the German television show, where his great performance almost brought us to the final.

It somehow flows when we are in a kitchen. He was always as wild as me – trying out strange combinations. They did not always work, but like me he seems to avoid recipes, and like me he collects cooking books mainly for inspiration.

I always thougt I was better chef than him, but these days I think that is very well balanced out. His cooking has really improved rapidly the last few years, and the most apparent place he needs me these days is in arranging the food.

Lunch on this day was supposed to happen 12ish, and I entered the house a good hour before to see “what was cooking”.

My role today was merely helping arranging  and being spoiled with good food and great wines.

Salmon & Spinach Pancake in rolled on a salad of young peas.

Slices of Salmon & Spinach Pancake on a salad of young peas.

First up a GREAT colourful starter. It worked so well Torben. Go green. 7.5p

A Benjamin Romero effort...

A Benjamin Romero effort…

I had this one before, and found it more interesting the first time. But it opened up a lot in the glass and shows that BR knows his trade.

Peking Duck

Peking Duck

The missus of Torben prepared this favourite chinese dish of mine. Mrs. Torben – this was the best peking duck I have ever had. Using the confit de canard instead of the breast is a GREAT idea. 9.5p



Great label, great fruits, I think it was 100% Malbec. A very good product. Malbec not being my favourite grape, but Argentina being Torben´s favourite spot on this planet. I would love to see those wineyards with you one day mate.

An oldie...

An oldie…

I have fond memories of Pichon-Longueville. Pauillac being my favourite area in Bordeaux. This was a host gift from an earlier occasion from business partner and friend Gijs to Torben and I. And since Gijs was “in da house” – it seemed very appropriate to open it. For my taste it was over the hill. I do like the vibrant young good Bordeaux´s – not the brownish silky old ones. Not a bad drop, but I would have enjoyed it more 5 years earlier Im sure.

Parmesan crusted Cod on Jerusalem Artichokes with a cauliflower creme....

Parmesan crusted Cod on Jerusalem Artichokes with a cauliflower creme….

Very nice presentation, everything worked, except I would have added a small crunchy salad on top. I got the chance to use my sauce dispenser which Torben gave me last year for Christmas. 7p

Another Spanish gem...

Another Spanish gem…

Torben has a few of those Spanish gems in his cellar. This was stuning. What a damn nice wine. I could drink that one every Sunday.

Iberico Porc with Tortilla and Oyster mushrooms

Iberico Porc with Tortilla and Oyster mushrooms

I think this has to be one of the best dishes I have ever had at Torben´s place. Stunning meat. And that with the above wine was simply heaven. The tortilla spot on. 10p

Say cheese....

Say cheese….

To go with this little selection of cheese – Torben opened another stunner. We were not hungry or thirsty at this point, but there is always room for some cheese…

As good as they come...

As good as they come…

I have been lucky to try Opus One on a good five occasions. I always loved it. It was the wine of the day. For me its like a Chateau Margaux or Sassicaia, laid back and straight elegance. Not overpowering, never too  much, but very complex.

My conclusion:

Today´s lunch was way up there with my best private meals. It was balanced, surpricing and some of it damn good.

Torben, I appreciate our friendship, I respect your cooking skills, and I hope for many more of these improvised sessions. You are not only a sarcastic mf´er – you also care about your friends and you know how to spoil them. Here´s to our friendship. Rock on.

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