WEBASTO - Feel the Drive
  • Outdoor cook Markus Sämmer stands in front of a snowy hut in the mountains

    Adventurous Cooking - 
    an Interview With Markus Sämmer

    When asked to describe himself, Markus Sämmer chooses "a true lover of nature". In an interview with Webasto, he retells his extraordinary life-story from learning the craftmanship of airplanes to finding his love for cooking. Talking about his cooking book, he reveals what he loves about travelling and cooking in a camping bus.

  • Dear Marcus, we would love to learn more about you. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you end up becoming a chef, more specifically an outdoor chef?

    My name is Markus Sämmer. I’m from the Ammersee region of Bavaria and I’m the author of a series of cookbooks called The Great Outdoors.

    When it comes to my career as a chef, I followed my heart. I originally trained to be an aircraft engine mechanic and wanted to study aircraft manufacturing and aerospace engineering. My passion for cooking then drew me to luxury restaurants, where I had to learn everything from scratch. I’ve loved cooking ever since I was a child – both my grandmothers were excellent cooks at home. I learned so much from them in my childhood.

    I equally discovered my love for the great outdoors, the water and the mountains when I was still a cheeky little chappie. At the turn of the millennium – after several stressful years working in the finest restaurants in Munich – I decided to live in Australia for a year. This is what ultimately made me a true outdoor chef. I spent lots of time outdoors in the bush or by the sea, where I started to translate my cooking expertise to the outdoors. This is what sparked the idea for my first book. But it took me quite a while to find the time to write it.

    Markus Sämmer cooks in a small rustic cottage Markus Sämmer has turned his passion into his profession. © Studio Steve
  • Markus Sämmer on the piste - he is also very talented as an athlete. Markus takes off. With a Webasto parking heater you are always the first on the spot and directly on the ski slope. © Dirk Wagener

    In addition to cooking, you are passionate about sports and you’re often on the road with your camper van. What have been your favourite travel destinations so far?

    Difficult to say. I have many favourite places, some of which are right on my doorstep. But Scandinavia, South Tyrol and Corsica were truly amazing from the comfort of my camper. My favourite long-haul destinations are Peru, Australia and Costa Rica. I’ve been to the Caucasus Mountains in Georgia twice for skiing. I’d love to drive there in my camper one summer. It’s a fantastic country with unbelievably nice people and interesting food.

    I’m also passionate about winter camping. It’s great being the first one there, especially on lush powder days or at the start of a ski tour. Temperatures sometimes reach as low as minus 20 degrees, so it’s really nice to hole up in the camper and enjoy a cosy breakfast in a T-shirt – all thanks to our Webasto parking heater… :) 

  • And what have been your best travel moments so far? Is there a special memory that you associate with a particular recipe?

    When you meet people on the road, they’re so welcoming and willing to help. An Austrian mechanic saved me from major engine failure in the Australian outback, for example. Or there was the time in Sardinia when we bought fruit and vegetables from the locals and were invited for a meal and offered a place to stay.

    For my expedition to the Peruvian Andes, I created some simple recipes with only a few ingredients that eventually made it into my camping cookbook, for example penne with tuna and olives. If you catch fish on your travels, it’s always a great opportunity to experiment. This is how I came up with my Portuguese fish stew and the pike curry.

    On my travels, I always sample a wide array of regional specialities, wherever possible. Along with my own creations and traditional German classics, I always try to take a few of these exotic highlights home with me and incorporate them into my books, such as Peruvian ceviche, Moroccan tagine or Georgian khachapuri to name just a few.

    As part of your The Great Outdoors series, you’ve now published a book on winter cooking with 120 recipes for winter. Where do you find the inspiration for these dishes?

    I get my inspiration for recipes from all kinds of places, almost every day. At markets, street food stalls, in down-to-earth local pubs on my travels – not to mention drawing on professional experience. I have spent a long time working with excellent chefs, so I’m very familiar with many delicacies from Bavaria, Austria, South Tyrol and Italy.

  • Do you like going camping in winter? What is so special about it?

    I love winter camping. It has its own special charm. The short days and cold nights mean you spend more time inside the camper than in summer. It’s a great time to get cosy, cook delicious food, read, plan the next day’s tour or play cards. When you get up early in the morning, you wake up to the cosy warmth of the parking heater, which you programmed the night before. Sometimes it will snow overnight, and the camper needs to be dug out. Winter camping definitely has its own charm and a hint of genuine adventure.

    Markus Sämmer sits with friends around a campfire and warms himself with a dish from a thermos flask. Winter camping has its very own charm. © Studio Steve
  • Markus Sämmer sits in the hammock with his girlfriend and warms himself with a warm drink. The thermos flask is always with you on outdoor trips.  © Studio Steve

    Do you have tips and tricks that you can recommend for staying warm on winter tours?

    Of course, there are plenty. First of all, the battery on the parking heater, the diesel tank and the gas cylinder should be checked before you set off on your camping trip to prevent nasty or cold surprises. It’s best to have a backup sleeping bag on board, just in case. Be careful that your water doesn’t freeze. Make a thermos flask of hot tea to take with you before you leave. If you fill it with boiling water 10 minutes beforehand, the contents will stay warm for even longer. There is a whole chapter in my book dedicated to thermos flask dishes – soups and stews that provide sustenance and help keep you warm when out and about.

    Take a base layer as a change of clothes: when you’re all sweaty, you won’t get hypothermia. Marino wool is my favourite – it keeps you warm, even if your clothes are damp. If you really feel the cold, take insole foot warmers and hand warmers.

    Taking an emergency thermal blanket and bivouac in your rucksack is absolutely essential on winter tours.

  • One-Pot-Pasta: Tagliatelle with Smoked Salmon One-Pot Tagliatelle with Smoked Salmon © Gestalten Publisher - Delicious Wintertime (Markus Sämmer) © Photo: www.augustundjuli.de
  • One-Pot Tagliatelle  

    with Smoked Salmon 
    Serves 2

    Simple, straightforward, even trendy... Here's another One-Pot-Pasta dish to save the day. Cooking all the ingredients in a single pot allows the different flavors to marry and the pasta to absorm them all. A real taste explosion! 

    ingredients

    • about 2 cups (500 ml) organic vegetable stock 
    • 1/2 onion 
    • 1 garlic glove 
    • 2 - 3 spring onions or1 leek 
    • 1 small package (about 4 1/2 oz or 125 g) smoked salmon, separated into slices
    • 9 oz (250 g) Tagliatelle
    • 1/2 cup (100 g) sour cream
    • 2 cups fresh spinach, washed and drained
    • 1 bunch fresh dill or chives, chopped
    • zest and juice of 1/2 organic lemon
    • salt and black pepper 

    Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a boil. In the meantime, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Trim and slice the spring onions or leek. Cut the salmon into thin strips. Add the pasta, onion, and garlic to the boiling stock. Stir now and then so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Halfway through the pasta cooking time (check the package instructions), add the sour cream, spring onions or leek, and spinach. One minute before the pasta is cooked, stir in the salmon, dill, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The tagliatelle should be al dente and the sauce nice and creamy.

  • Who says that outdoor cooking in your camping bus is only for freezing winter times? Markus Sämmer definitely does not. If you are ready to try new culinary recipies while on the road, even in summer, Sämmer’s book The Great Outdoors - 120 Geniale Rauszeit-Rezepte is just the right reading for you: The Great Outdoors - 120 Recipes for Adventure Cooking. 

     

     

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