Pape gives a brief inside view of his Kochinsel, or "Cooking Island": "Opening this cookery school, I wanted to create a workshop for the senses where we can take time and enjoy working together on a project", he says. "I take the time to impart my knowledge and my guests enjoy the time they spend there. Whether cooking courses, cooking events or cooking entertainment, I'm always part of the package!"
Awarded two stars as head chef at the Fährhaus Hotel on the island of Sylt, Alexandro Pape's talents top them all: he not only makes the impossible come true, but extracts table salt from the North Sea too! He operates Germany's most northerly brewery and produces 13 types of pasta. Hailing from Neuss near Cologne, and with Sardinian roots, his credo is: 'No' is not an option.
You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs. And wherever you cook, greasy fingers come into contact with cupboards. Avoiding the need to clean the fronts after every cooking event, Alexandro Pape addressed a small detail in creating his "Cooking Island" on Sylt. One that is the source of tremendous convenience – and astonishment:
"Time and again I notice that guests want to leave their proverbial mark on a drawer, only then to realise they can't because of the surface. This is the sort of thing the ladies mainly go for. And that's important. Particularly as I wanted the "Cooking Island" to have a kitchen I'd like at home – somewhat darker, more subdued."
THE COOKING ISLAND HAS MADE A DREAM COME TRUE
As gourmet chef, Alexandro Pape was passionate about working for guests, but not actually working with them. Being able to celebrate cooking and indulging with "Cooking Island" participants has made a dream come true for the cuisinier who now calls Sylt his home. Making sure the kitchen works with everyone taking part, planner Hélène Bangert demonstrated her creative talent in turning Pape's wishes into reality:
"The kitchen was to provide an area that creates a bridge to the pasta-manufacturing operation. And this is why I asked Hélène to come up with a way for us to get 400V electricity into the kitchen from the ceiling. She embraced my suggestion of using the steel cable conduit and also introduced several other ideas of her own. The talks we had were just amazing. The thing is, you have to put yourself in someone's hands who knows more than you do, and that was so lovely."
BARRIER-FREE ACCESSIBILITY IN THE "COOKING ISLAND" IS PART AND PARCEL
The centre of the 170 square-metre cookery school features two gigantic islands. One provides space for as many as twelve to slice vegetables. The other accommodates a further twelve to cook at. Alexandro Pape explains the special part about his "Cooking Island" which, in a way, was named after its geography on the island of Sylt:
"I want to be able to work with less tall people, with physically limited and disabled people in a normal way. But when you stand at a cooking block like this, that's at least 88 cm off the floor, and then put a saucepan on it – that's just not an option. That is why we decided to lower some of the hobs. They are an integral part of the planning scheme without distracting from the overall look."