It's all about pots and pans for him. Ulf Lucassen is the chef at Rüdenstein, an old Bergisch restaurant in the town of Solingen. Idyllically situated directly on the Wupper river. Together with his team of 10, he makes sure that his guests are well taken care of.
"The way to a man's heart is through the stomach", is what an old proverb says. This seem to be quite true in the case of his wife, says the chef with a smile. They met in Scotland. She was on vacation there and he was working there. It all happened quickly. "It was love at first sight," enthuses Ulf Lucassen.
He had been a wanderer for a long time and had now found his new home in the Bergisch region. Family is important to him. He runs Rüdenstein restaurant together with his wife and mother-in-law. Of course, everyone has their part to play. They supplement each other across generations. A family business in its fifth generation.
Bergische hospitality is truly written in capital letters here. We want every single guest to feel at home. And Ulf Lucassen really means everyone. In some restaurants, his family gets an irritated look from both staff and guests if their four children haven't been sitting quietly at the table all the time, says the chef. This is definitely not the case at the Rüdenstein Restaurant, he says. Children are welcome and are allowed to act like children.
The menu has something for everyone – for young and old alike. Of course, as a typical Bergisch inn, the menu primarily offers a rustic cuisine, such as the "Schnitzel Rüdenstein", the Kottenbotter sandwich or the buckwheat pancake with bacon and the regional sausage, Kottenwurst. But the menu also boasts some exotic dishes: Pike-perch fillet on coconut curry lentils or rump steak with chimichurri. Cucumber monster, Leo the lion and Rudi the caterpillar are rather something for the younger guests.
But the long-running favourite is the "Bergische Kaffeetafel" (coffee spread), says Ulf Lucassen. You just order one dish and there is something for everyone. And it is unique. And only to be found in Bergisches Land.
In earlier times, when visits were announced, everything that one could find in the pantry was put on the table. Even if you weren't so well-off, you would still have wanted to offer a proper meal, says Ulf Lucassen. Sweet, salty, hearty - all at once and the "Droppelminna" (an old-fashioned coffee pot) at the centre of the table. Impressive and delicious, then as now. "Just give it a try," recommends the chef from the Rüdenstein restaurant.