Meet the Chef: Sabine Bachmann

Sabine Bachmann is the  chef/owner of Fratelli's in the Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden.

Photo by Michael Donahue // Buy this photo

Sabine Bachmann is the chef/owner of Fratelli's in the Garden at Memphis Botanic Garden.

Title: Chef/owner Fratelli's in the Garden and owner of Fratelli's Fine Catering.

Hometown: Nordhorn, Germany

Who or what was your first cooking influence? Definitely my mother. She was a great cook and she also liked to make great presentations, but then I moved to Italy. I went to school in Italy and I totally fell in love with Italian food, the simplicity of it, the fact that they only use fresh and ripe ingredients and don't mess around with it a whole lot. To me, the best chefs in Italy are the housewives.

What was the first thing you ever cooked or baked? I layered a dessert. I remember my mom was on vacation. I did that for my dad and he kind of liked it. It was chocolate mousse and then vanilla pudding and then chocolate mousse -- the whole thing just layered. It looked really pretty and I added a little decor on top of it. (I was) 7.

What made you decide to become a chef and when was that? I used to be here in Memphis in the wine wholesale business. ... I always liked to pick a bottle of wine and create some food around it rather than the other way around. ... I enjoyed cooking, period. And then it just came about that there was a location Downtown open . ... That was the first location for Fratelli's and we just jumped in it like kids without any experience. That did it.

What is the Sabine Bachmann style? I like the Italian idea of fresh ingredients and don't mess around with it a whole lot. Let the ingredients speak for themselves. And just use good, high quality ingredients.

Describe a dish you created. I make some really good crab cakes. Of course, it's not really my own dish, but I think what I'm using in there might be a little bit different. I use fresh red peppers, red onion and celery and I do not saute them. Then I just put crab meat in there and then the regular things like egg and stuff like that. And then I just slowly saute it from both sides. So, the ingredients are really crunchy inside. And I also add some chipotle to it and that gives it a little bit of a spice.

What do you cook or bake at home, if anything? I like to open up the refrigerator, see what's in there and just come up with something that's good. Like I did the other day, I had some tilapia fillet in there. I found some millet in the cupboard. A neighbor had fresh-grown cucumbers. So, I sauteed the cucumbers with some garlic, put the tilapia fillet on top, covered it up (with) lemon juice, fresh oregano. And then the millet -- I made it in a spicy couscous and it was really good.

What's your favorite food? Salmon. Any way. I love fresh fish.

What's your least favorite food? Goat lung.

Fratelli's (fratellisfinecatering.com) in the Garden is at 750 Cherry Road at Memphis Botanic Garden.

Michael Donahue: (901) 529-2797. donahue@commercialappeal.com

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