Born in the region of Westfalia, in eastern Germany, Heiko Grabolle grew up in a small villa of around one thousand inhabitants. There the young German learned how to respect the typical nature of Germanic gastronomy, but his desire to seek for new experiences and also his curiosity, carried him away to distant places. In his first work experience at the well known Alter Wartesaal restaurant, where at the time his elder brother worked as a chef, he fell in love by the aroma of professional cooking and right after concluding his sophomore year he moved to the city of Cologne.
Inspired by the herbal aromas of the kitchen, Heiko enrolled in the Fischbacherberg Professional School for Chefs and reestablished his working position at the Alter Wartesaal restaurant in downtown Cologne. During his three years of school he showed distinguished behavior towards his colleagues and superiors.
The German Armed Forces recruited the chef freshman to serve his country. Heiko had a dream of serving as a military in a navy ship, but is sent to aeronautics, where his professional references lead him to chef at the NATO support air base in Decimomannu, in Sardinia, Italy. Besides the contact with the language and culture of the country, Heiko also discovered the authentic Italian cuisine.
After serving his country in the military, He returns to the city of Cologne, in Germany, to work in the Hyatt Regency Five star hotel. Under the command of the chefs Markus Mathysek and Thomas Bähner, who at the time managed the sophisticated restaurant, “Graugans”, he is faced with the new challenge of working with Euro-Asian cuisine. Curious and creative, Heiko begins cooking using banana tree leaves and creates unusual dishes like the chicken with capim-limão and the parrot-fish, in downtown Cologne.
SNo family or siblings who may have pinned him down to one place, Heiko lets his free spirit overtake him, seeking constant knowledge in his work as a young chef. This search lead him to Switzerland, one of the largest gastronomical centers in Europe. For one year he worked as a chef entremetier and chef saucier at the acknowledged Hotel Fletschhorn, belonging to the international chain of hotels Relais & Chateaux which its cuisine was awarded many stars at the Michelin Guide. Heiko saw himself surrounded by black and white truffles, the foie gras, caviar, crème fraiche among other delicacies. A true rebirth for the young chef, who was working then directly with Irma Dütsch (Chef of the year 1994) and Markus Neff (Chef of the year 2007). The passion for the nouvelle cuisine began to reflect upon the creation of his dishes and because of his perfect mis en place, Heiko became a valuable assistant in the preparation and execution of the culinary courses taught by these professionals.
In order to fulfill his dream of working on a cruise ship, Heiko moved to London, England, where he was hired as a cuisine demi-chef at the Marriott Regant Park Hotel. There, he was responsible for the breakfast and the a-la-carte and quickly became acquainted with the language and culture. After four months however something unexpected changed his life. Hired as a chef at the Marinas restaurant in Maiorca, one of the most beautiful Islands in Spain, his brother offers him the chance of getting to know mediterranean food and the spanish language. The lightness of tastes and the artistic colors of the local food fascinate the now talented chef, whom with his brother plans menus that stand out for their excellence and creativity. In this scenery of transformation and enchantment, still in Maiorca, Heiko met his future wife, and at her request, travelled to Santa Catarina, Brazil.
At last, Heiko goes to Ushuaia, Argentina, from where the luxurious MS Bremen cruise ship departed. On the ship he was offered the position of “chef de partie”, first at the post of poissionier and later as gardemanger. The infrastructure, logistics and peculiar administrative ways of the ship were all new to the chef. The trip took from Antarctica to Alaska, passing through the Amazon, the Caribbean, the Panama channel, north Siberia and ending up inVancouver, Canadá. Having fulfilled his dream, Heiko returns to Brazil. This time to the city of São Paulo where he lived for four months. Although fascinated by the life in Brazil, he returns to London to work in the restaurant Chez Gérard.
As a soucheff, he quickly learned how to lead a team, control storage quantity and perfected the french cuisine techniques at the exclusive Chez Gérard, where he became familiar with classical french cuisine and coordinated two shifts at the restaurant. In pursuit of yet another dream, Heiko returned to Germany, this time to the city of Hamburg to take the Maitre d´cuisine Masters degree at the school of gastronomy DeHoGa, attaining the highest title in gastronomical education in Europe for a chef.
Still in Hamburg, Heiko also took a kitchen instructor course, where he learned new leadership techniques towards students, interns and commis de cuisine. Right after his graduation he is hired as chef at the Bistrô Halle 13 to coordinate buffets and catering with a team of 11 co-workers. In this same year, the chef returns to Brazil to the city of Florianópolis where he marries and also falls in love for the Brazilian products and their variety of ingredients, colors and flavors.
At his first job on Brazilian grounds, at the Bragança Gastronomy restaurant, Heiko discovers the differences between European and Brazilian cooking habits. He learns even more about local gastronomy and perceives the interest and talent of the young chefs when he begins teaching at the universities around Santa Catarina. He studies portuguese at a course for foreigners at the UFSC (Fedral University of Santa Catarina) and also in the classroom with his students.
With his ability in languages and technical knowledge in German, Italian, French, euro-Asian and Brazilian culinary, Heiko has already taught more than 2,500 students from various universities at gastronomy courses in Santa Catarina. He is a guest chef in technical, bachelors, undergraduate and post-graduate courses and elaborates his own teaching material and lectures, besides participating in several national and international events.
Heiko Grabolle Heiko Grabolle is a chef, a consultant and a gastronomy teacher. He believes in the potential of Brazilian gastronomy and is currently writing his first book. (Workshop contact)