Konrad’s Seafood & Grille Room
599 S Collier Blvd, No. 304, at Marco Walk across from the Hilton. Phone: 642-3332
Hours: Dinner served 5 to 9 p.m. seven days a week.
Began working at present restaurant?
When I opened Konrad’s Seafood & Grille Room on Jan. 2, 1992.
Who or what inspired you to become a chef/cook?
Growing up in Germany in the 50’s wasn’t the best of times and I had a teacher who told me, “If you’re a chef you’ll never go hungry,” and I took his advice and started a life-long career, from my apprenticeship through Stuttgart to five years in Switzerland and from there to England and I always worked in hotels. Then I cooked around the world as executive chef on a cruise ship before I came to the United States and worked at the prestigious Essex House on Central Park South which in 1980 was owned by the Marriott. Subsequently, they transferred me here to Marco Island in 1982 and worked as Executive Chef at the Marriott until March 1984 when I opened the Bavarian Inn.
What was your first restaurant job?
The Bavarian Inn in March 1984. Do you know that up until then I only worked in hotels? Technically, the Bavarian Inn was the first restaurant I ever worked in!
How long have you been cooking professionally?
Do food trends affect your cooking style?
I’ve always been aware of food trends. They usually start in California and New York and then they trickle down to Florida. After all, a lot of our business comes from tourists so we must keep up with trends in order to accommodate them.
Are you planning changes to your menu for the new season?
Our changes usually occur when the season ends. I will have a lighter menu in the restaurant, but right now we have an outdoor patio where people can order lighter fare that’s priced accordingly. Then, of course, I’ll be offering my popular Lobster menu — three or four selections made with 1½ pound Maine lobsters.
What is your most popular dish?
Currently, seafood is very popular, mostly the evening special — Snapper Kobe — like the city in Japan. It’s a fresh fillet of red snapper encrusted with wasabi panko crumbs and sautéed in virgin olive oil and finished with ginger sake essence and served with whipped sweet potatoes. I also do a special request like Kartoffel Klose, a Bavarian national dish – we ate it three times a week at home.
What is your favorite wine?
A nice Cabernet when I can sit down and relax a bit – but we’re open seven days a week…
Do you cook at home? If so, what would we always find in your freezer?
Not usually during season, but sometimes I do. I cooked last Sunday — Scallops Provencal with garlic, shallots and herbs in a nice white wine beurre blanc.
What is your secret ingredient? Why?
Fresh, fresh, fresh!
What would you be doing if you weren’t a chef?
Hmm – that’s a big question. I never did anything else; it’s been my entire life. Besides, who could run Konrad’s restaurant better than me!
What annoys you most in the kitchen?
What do you enjoy most about your profession?
When I see a customer leave happy with a smile on his face. Incidentally, I’ve had calls asking if we’ll cook fisherman’s catches, and I tell them bring in your catch and I’ll cook it anyway they like it!