"I like the unpretentious sheds with the great food".
Food podcaster Olaf Deharde from GEO Saison on his gastro discoveries
"Dat war jewesen." That's how Olaf Deharde and Matten Kersten summed up their visit to Düsseldorf in dialect. Over a long weekend, the two podcasters of the travel magazine GEO Saison experienced the Rhine metropolis in its purest form. Their conclusion: The special to Dusseldorf is that one does not see the special. They took a close look at the city themselves - and discovered, for example, that the four reception desks in the 25hours Hotel are based on Kraftwerk's stage design. We want to find out more about it afterwards: What blew you away the most in Düsseldorf? Olaf Deharde reveals it.
You say in your podcast that Düsseldorf is underrated in terms of cuisine. What surprised you the most?
To be honest: Personally, not that much surprised me, as I've known Düsseldorf since the early 2000s and have come to really appreciate it as a culinary destination. I worked as a commercial photographer in the automotive industry back then and was often here for weeks at a time. Back then, we went out to eat twice a day: once for lunch, usually at Olio, and then again in the evening, usually at Reusch on the harbor. But who was really overwhelmed on our podcast tour was Matten, who didn't know the city yet. I could read the surprise on his face the whole weekend.
You're the smart one on your team. How do you prepare yourself?
Well, I do research, of course, but since I've already been to many places, I'm also just deep in the subject of travel and gastronomy. So you know a thing or two. However, our head honcho Fabio (Fabio Haebel, usually the third member of the GEO season podcast/editor's note) wasn't there at all, he always goes the extra mile. Especially when it comes to culinary finesse. As for me, I'm always on the lookout for places that aren't too obviously commercial. I especially like the unpretentious joints with great food. That's the kind of thing that interests me.
In your podcast, you've also introduced places that even some locals have missed: the Finanzamtche, the Cucina Vitale, the record store Minty Vinyl. Do you work with tips from locals?
Yes, our network is large. In every city there are a few people I can approach. Cucina Vitale, for example, was a recommendation from a well-informed acquaintance. However, I discovered my favorite record store, Minty Vinyl, by accident. I was walking in Flingern and - attracted by the music - happened to wander into the interior design store 69m². Also in the store is Minty Vinyl, and Günter Herke, the owner of the store, is exactly on my wavelength when it comes to music. We chatted easily for an hour. Since I found a few gems at his place and happened to have records myself, we swapped. My second hobby besides gastronomy is music, you know.
You really celebrated Düsseldorf in your podcast. Which location is your secret favorite?
The Olio. When we were there, I met the owner, Roman Jasper, for the first time. He's considered media-shy, but I approached him anyway because I wanted to get him involved in my personal travel food project. I take something to eat or drink with me from every trip - something that a local gives me along the way and that I document in pictures and text. Then, on the next trip, I exchange that product for another local specialty. The idea is to connect people and places through these stories. Roman agreed to participate and he gave me a huge jar of homemade black walnuts boiled down in sugar syrup. I was very happy about that.
You say in the podcast that you have discovered the secret of Olio. What's behind the decades of success?
In my eyes, the secret is the timeless presentation and at the same time the constant development of the menu. This applies to both the food and the wines. Olio always has its finger on the pulse. In addition, everyone is treated equally here, from soccer players to neighbors. No one can make reservations, no one is given preference. And that has been true for decades. That is an art in itself!
Do you have another tip for our readers that you didn't reveal in the podcast?
Try the papaya salad at Manima - the Laotian. And I would definitely recommend the fried chicken at Hitchcoq. Both are a poem!
Cover image: © Extended Weekend
You want to listen to the full podcast episode now? Then you can find all the tips from Olaf and Matten here.