Christian is extremely excited about the future at the Mallorca Country Club. | MCC


CHRISTIAN Denz has spent 33 years in some of the world’s best kitchens, private homes, yachts and now jets, but it has not always been easy. However today, now firmly established in Mallorca, he claims to be 30% Mallorcan, having moved to the island 20 years ago. He has been the executive chef at the Mallorca Country Club for the past two years and he is enjoying the new challenge at the club while maintaining his high international reputation as a private chef.

Originally from Stuttgart, Germany, he spent three years at hostelry school. Then it was into kitchens peeling potatoes or onions as he learnt his trade before moving onwards and upwards to work in various top Michelin Star restaurants in Austria and Germany and then for luxury hotel chains such as the Hilton Plaza Group and the Luxury Collection Arabella Sheraton.
Then, 20 years ago, he came to Mallorca and stayed.

“I first spent a year as head chef at Puerto Portals’ Restaurant Ritzi, and then one of my clients asked me if I would take over the running of a wonderful rural hotel set in the Tramuntana Mountains in Esporles. But I was still young, too young and had no experience in running a hotel. So I offered to take over the restaurant at La Posada del Marqués and ran my own restaurant there for some 10 years.

A beautiful place
“It was, is, a beautiful place and attracted a great deal of very famous and wealthy clients and it was not long before they were asking me to take care of private events for them. That’s how I branched out into the world of being a private chef and it’s been very successful, not only here in Mallorca but all around the world.

“For example, last summer I was asked to take care of the in-flight catering for Jeff Bezos on his flight back to the States from Palma. To be honest it was really quite easy. An assistant of his contacted me, came to the club. I was given an idea of what Bezos liked to eat, in particular fish. So I drew up a menu, which was approved, prepared it, and off it went. I just hope the stewards on board served the dishes and the meal in the right order. I have no idea,” he joked.

“That was a moment to say the least. But to be honest, I don’t care how rich or famous a private client is. From the wealthiest to the poorest. They give me their budget, let me know what they like and I will make sure they receive the very best meal possible of maximum quality. It’s all the same to me,” Christian explained.

Aurora Borealis lights
But there’s much more to being a private chef than the cooking.
“For me it’s about trust. After all, you’re going into someone’s private residence or on board their yacht. They may have never properly met you before, don’t really know who you are. So, for me, apart from providing a first-class service, I need to maintain standards, live up to my reputation so they feel comfortable calling me again and recommending me to their friends.

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“And fortunately I think I am able to do that. Some eight years ago, another of my clients decided to open two luxury hotels in Russia, one was right in the north near the border with Finland under the Aurora Borealis lights. So I worked with the two hotels as a consultant chef teaching them and guiding them through high-end cooking, that was a real adventure. And then I’ve also catered for VIP clients in top rehabilitation clinics in Zurich and one has to be very sensitive in those situations with regard to the food and the ingredients, etc. Again, it’s all about trust.

“I think the pandemic sparked an increase in private chefs because of the surge in demand for food deliveries. I was doing that. I was self employed, I had to make a living and that’s how I managed to get through the police check points; I was delivering food. Some have continued but others have not.
“And that’s because, on the one hand, the level of quality being offered by so many restaurants has increased so much over the past 20 years or so and that’s great for the island.
“There was a time when it had nearly everything, all that was missing was a good selection of top-end restaurants and now we do. That’s helped to give Mallorca an extra boost, especially in the international market.

“People come from all over the world to dine here but, on the other, there are chefs who don’t really make the mark. Apart from my schooling in the art, I’ve worked in kitchens for most of my life.
“For the best part of 20 years I was standing in a kitchen. To be honest I had no idea about anything else until my daughter was born and I had to take on the responsibilities of being a father. But that was a great thing.

“And going back 18 to 20 years, it was very difficult to get luxury and unusual products like white asparagus or caviar and truffles in Mallorca; now you get almost everything. At the end of the day, perhaps apart from Asian cooking, the ingredients for most dishes around the world are the same. The difference is the technique in how they are cooked, seasoned and spiced.

“But pork is pork, chicken is chicken, same goes for fish, it’s how you prepare it. If someone asks me for a dish I’ve never cooked before, I Google it, for example, and then crack on. I love a challenge in the kitchen and one of those was given to me when I was asked to prepare the first Burns Night event for the Majorca Daily Bulletin.

“Jason said we needed to have haggis, what the hell is haggis? I’d never heard of it. So I began investigating. First thing was that we were not allowed to import it, but like I’ve just said about dishes around the world being very similar, I eventually realised it was like the Saumagen (stuffed pig’s stomach) we have in Germany.

“So I had a good idea of what we were dealing with, the only problem was finding sheep’s stomach to stuff. But I was in a butcher’s one day and saw the butifarrón and thought that would do. Plus, I have a Scottish partner who is based at Wimbledon who helps me in the kitchen and he gave me some tips. So, in the end, I managed to produce the haggis and from what I gather it went down rather well.

“As opposed to having had a 35-strong team in hotel kitchens in the past, I now have an excellent foursome at the country club. We are now open all day, apart from Sunday, from breakfast until a late dinner time, and it’s very much a light, bistro menu. “We’ve come on a long way over the past two years as a country club in general, with spectacular world-class events. And in the kitchen we have to match that, which we do and we’re really excited about what the future holds and continuing to grow and excel,” he said.