Story

Anton Schmaus and his passion for detail

Replenishing creative energy is child's play.

“Titta”, says Matilda, pointing to a cat. That’s Swedish for “look!” She’s 19 months old, so she can only say a few words, but she’s learning them in both German and Swedish, because her mother Anna is from Sweden. “Titta,” she says again. At the playground, she’s the boss – in the kitchen that’s her dad’s role: it seems as though Matilda has definitely inherited her father’s assertiveness.

“Young Matilda is completely in charge of her world,” says Anton Schmaus, clearly very proud of his daughter, adding with a smile, “of course as her parents we always have the final say.” Anton, Anna and Matilda Schmaus are a well-rehearsed team, and with the help of their au pair Johanna, they navigate the daily challenges of both family life and gourmet cooking.

Anton Schmaus travels all over the world, cooks for Germany’s national football team and runs three gourmet restaurants. His wife Anna also works in the restaurant, so coordination and organization are the order of the day. “It’s complicated, but we manage it,” says Schmaus. Matilda is a bright young thing and usually spends the mornings with her mum, then when Anna needs to work in the restaurant at lunchtime and in the evenings, their au pair Johanna looks after her. This means that despite their work, the parents still get to spend lots of time with Matilda, and it makes daily life much easier for the restaurateur family.

The Schmaus family have life under control. They manage to fit everything in. Is life stressful sometimes? “Of course you need patience, a certain amount of organizational skill, and energy too,” notes Schmaus. Where does he get this energy from? There’s no need to ask him that, because when he looks at his little girl, his face lights up proudly: Matilda clearly means the world to him.

Whereas in the kitchen he needs calm and patience to get all the details perfect, when he’s on dad duty life is completely the opposite – and he loves that. “When I’m with my daughter, nothing else matters – that time is for Matilda and for us as a family. I don’t allow myself to be distracted, and I can also switch off completely,” says Schmaus. And that’s how he gets the energy he needs for his work as a top chef. It’s immersing himself in the world of a child, where what’s important is not perfection but just being present in the here and now, that gives him strength and energy.

19-month-old Matilda is also bursting with energy, and certainly keeps her dad on his toes at the playground. Will she be a chef one day? “I think she’s more likely to do something with animals,” says top chef Schmaus. “Titta”, calls Matilda as the cat goes past again. Her little eyes light up, as do those of her father. After all, what could be more beautiful and uplifting than a child’s beaming smile? “That’s what gives me energy and makes me feel calm inside,” says Schmaus.

But then the peace and quiet ends: “Mecka”, says little Matilda. Is that Swedish? No, it’s Matilda’s own made-up word and it means food! So now it’s over to her dad and his special culinary skills. Maybe some “gröt”? Sure, porridge always goes down well.

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