By: Ed Jacobi, Master of Ceremonies, Hofbräuhaus Chicago
With great frequency as Master of Ceremonies at Hofbräuhaus Chicago I announce, “When you walk through the front door you walk out of Rosemont and in to Germany.” This is even more evident when you enter our kitchen. In November of 2018 Hofbräuhaus Chicago announced Daniela Amend its’ new Executive Chef. At the same time, Frank Klawunder was named Sous Chef. Both of them were born and trained in Germany and are now working in concert together in our Haus. Although both are fluent in English, when they work together in the kitchen, they speak German to each other, but Daniela shared that when other employees are present, out of courtesy, they speak English. Hofbräuhaus Chicago is affiliated with the original Hofbräuhaus in Munich, which opened in 1589. In the time since we opened in 2013, Daniela is our 3rd Executive Chef and she brings a wealth of knowledge from her experiences working in German kitchens. Frank, who joined Hofbräuhaus Chicago in 2017, has broad experiences in German cuisine. Let’s learn a little more about them.
Daniela was born and raised in Würzburg, Germany and graduated with a Culinary Degree from the Franz Oberthür Professional School in Würzburg in 2005. Before receiving her degree she served a 3-year apprenticeship at the Hotel Gasthof Schiff in Winterhausen, Germany. She credits her time here as being the most influential in establishing herself in the profession. From 2005-2013 she practiced the culinary arts in Würzburg as she gained valuable experience working in various German kitchens. Her first job was working for the United States Army’s 126th Infantry where she prepared all the meals for the 300-army personnel stationed there. Then from 2009-2013 she expanded her experiences working in a Mexican steakhouse in Würzburg as well as some other high profile establishments that served high volumes of people. Along the way she honed her skills to where she became highly respected in her profession. Daniela shared that chefs in Germany are strict and loud and she learned the values of punctuality, cleanliness, and hard work.
In 2013 Daniela moved to Florida and became the Lead Cook for Gate Gourmet, preparing hundreds of meals daily for airline passengers. In 2014 she was the Kitchen Manager at Germans Restaurant and Beer House in Kissimmee, Florida and in 2015 she started working at Hofbräuhaus St. Petersburg in Florida. There she started as a Cook and was very soon advanced to Sous Chef before being promoted to Executive Chef. Hofbräuhaus Chicago CEO, Joe Matuschka, who also owned Hofbrähaus St. Petersburg was so impressed with the quality of her work and the discipline of her kitchen encouraged her to move to Chicago in 2018 to become Assistant Executive Chef and she is now Executive Chef. Her experience in so many German kitchens, along with being raised in a German household brings an authenticity to her culinary product.
Frank Klawunder hails from Nordhein-Westfallen, Germany. His first teachers were his mother and grandmother who started teaching him how to cook when he was 5-years old and living on the farm in Germany. He received a degree in Culinary Arts and Business in 1984 and in 1985 he moved to America where he gained valuable experiences in a variety of venues. Among the places he’s worked include Chi-Chi’s, Ditka’s City Lights, Medieval Times, Silver Spoon Catering, and United Airlines. In 2017 Frank started working in the kitchen at Hofbräuhaus Chicago and has been promoted to Sous Chef. Frank’s culinary training and upbringing in Germany made him a perfect fit for our kitchen. While Hofbräuhaus Chicago serves authentic German food, there are other food options also available and Frank’s broad experience in these areas helps to round out a very expansive food menu.
When asked what they like most about working at Hofbräuhaus Chicago, Daniela expressed her appreciation for working for an ownership that values hard work and loyalty. She also said she loves the opportunity to be creative with her preparations and that she can demonstrate to everyone that German cuisine is both tasteful and delicious. Frank shared that although the work is challenging and demanding, it’s a fun place to work and he enjoys very much working with Daniela. When asked about their biggest challenge they both agreed that it was to develop “culinary pride” among the employees in the kitchen. They hope to grow and nurture the staff to make the Hofbräuhaus Chicago Kitchen a place where employees feel they will grow and want to stay.
As for the menu, Daniela is striving to improve the format and the look as well as adding more flavorful and authentic German dishes and adding more European and American menu items too. As for working together, they share different recipe ideas with each other, taste each other’s recipes, and dialog frequently as they work together to develop new dishes. Daniela and Frank both learned the art of preparing German Cuisine in Germany, the place where they were born and raised. While expanding our menu they are still respectful that there are some dishes served here that are exactly the same that are served at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and are noted in our menu. Together they determine which recipes from Germany remain while they create a more diverse menu that appeals to a very diverse and demanding community. Daniela and Frank both bring their strong German foundation and experiences to the kitchen of Hofbräuhaus Chicago on a daily basis. We are proud to have them as cornerstones in our kitchen at Hofbräuhaus Chicago. We truly are, “An Authentic German Kitchen.”