Royal Viking Line

Korv Med Potatis Mos (Swedish Sausage & Potato Puree)

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One  of the most satisfying meals I had in my entire life I had in 1973 at around 3.00 am in Gothenborg,  Sweden.
It was certainly not the fanciest or the most beautiful meal, but it was the first food I had in three days and I was starving…….. It was also the first time I ever saw sausage and mashed potatoes served at a roadside kiosk (everywhere else it was sausage and fries) The combination of sausage, mashed potatoes, ketchup and mustard on that cold winter night, together with the satisfaction of a hot meal after nearly starving and the even greater satisfaction of impending hot sex made for a truly exceptional and, as you can see, unforgettable meal 🙂
My friend Heinz and I had finished a short summer season in Torekov, Sweden. After that, we went to Gothenborg, being sure to be able to secure a job working for “Swedish American Line“, which at the time was one of the most famous and luxurious cruise lines in existence. After a few wild weeks enjoying Gothenborgs nightlive, we finally applied for a job at their office.
The HR manager, Helge Swenson, took one look at us and then laughed us out of his office. (Sweden being one of the most conservative countries at the time, I did not look suitable with my shoulder length hair, high platform shoes, skin tight pants and mirrored hippy t-shirt)
So Heinz and I left his office a bit worried, since we had no money left and a hotel bill of considerable heft. (There was money for beer and smoke, but not for food). As we walked down the hallway toward’s the elevator, a very beautiful, sexy brunette passed us. I made some remarks to Heinz in German of the adventures I’d like to have with her. After a few seconds and steps had passed, she turned around and said in perfect German: “Do be careful, you never know who speaks your language in a foreign land”. Turned out she was a manager at the HR office. We started talking and I gave her the address of our hotel. Heinz made fun of me, being sure a hot woman like that would not bother to call a penny-less punk. But low and behold, when we got back to the hotel late that night, there were at least ten messages. I called her back the same night at 2.00 am and invited her out. She said yes and I said wonderful, just one problem: I have no money and if I go out, so does my friend. Well, she agreed, and that’s how Heinz and I finally got food in our belly that night – Korv med Mos.
Needless to say, I held on to that great gal for a while. She got jobs for both Heinz and I on the  MS Gripsholm, and so started a long career on cruise ships for me. Unfortunately the stint on the MS Gripsholm lasted only about one month for Heinz, after which he became very ill. He never recovered and was never able to work again. Myself, I lasted about six months before I broke my spine and was unable to work for about a year. After surgery in Germany, I spend most of the year at Bitte’s house in Sweden, a beautiful house on a lake in the woods near Gothenborg, which she shared with her even more beautiful female friend. Great house, fireplaces all over, sauna, right on the lake. These were the wild 70’s, so we all shared a lot more than the roof we lived under. Life certainly was good 🙂
I slowly recovered while she was still working at the HR office of Swedish American Line. She eventually got jobs for both of us at  Royal Viking Line, where we soon split up and went our own ways…………
Nevertheless, that first Korv med Mos that night was one of the best meals I ever had 🙂
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Smaklig måltid !   Livet är bra !
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Korv Med Mos - Original Version (Image Property: Peter Linquist)

Korv Med Mos – Original Version                    (Image Property: Peter Linquist)

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Korv Med Mos - My Version

Korv Med Mos – My Version

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Preparation :
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Cook diced potatoes in saltwater until tender, drain, mash

cook diced potatoes in saltwater until tender, drain, mash

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add garlic paste, horseradish, heavy cream, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and lots of butter, wisk

add garlic paste, horseradish, heavy cream, kosher salt, cayenne pepper and lots of butter, mix well

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saute onions and sausage, remove sausage when done

saute onions and sausage in garlic oil, remove sausage when done

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add soy sauce, garlic paste, cayenne pepper and a bit of chicken stock to caramelized onions

add soy sauce, garlic paste, cayenne pepper and a bit of chicken stock to caramelized onions

 

add peppers and cabbage

add peppers and cabbage

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saute until heated through but vegetables are still crispy

saute until vegetables are heated through but still crisp

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plate mashed potatoes, make indention in the center

plate mashed potatoes, make indention in the center

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fill indention with vegetables, top with sausage, drizzle liquid from vegetables over sausage

fill indention with vegetables, top with sausage, drizzle liquid from vegetables over sausage

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Korv Med Mos

Korv Med Mos

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Korv Med Mos

Korv Med Mos

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final inspection.....

final inspection…..

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From Cook To Chef. A Very Long, Very Tough, Very Rewarding, Mostly Wonderful Journey

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Chef Hans D. Susser, CEC, CHE
Miami, July 2011

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An open letter to my students at Le Cordon Bleu, and anybody else who want’s to know………
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So, now that you have established that you want to become a Chef, let’s see how you can get there.
Many established chefs will try to warn you not to join our ranks. This probably comes from chefs who are tired of the position they are in at the moment or who never really made it to the top of our profession or are simply burned out after many years of hard work under less than pretty circumstances. Keep in mind that for those chefs, in order to get to where they are now, at one point they had to be as enthusiastic, positive and full of dreams as you are at this moment.

The first question that pops up is usually: “Should I go to culinary school?”

Until a few years ago I would have told everybody that this is a waste of time and money. Unfortunately these days, without a piece of paper which proves that you attended school for a certain amount of time, your life/professional expertise is useless in this country and many others. . Sadly, these days it is nearly impossible to get to a management position in a large company without proof of a degree or at least a diploma from a prestigious school, no matter how much actual experience and skills you possess. (There are of course exceptions, although fewer and fewer as time progresses)

On the other hand, one has to realize that to be a very good cook will only be the minimum requirement once you reach an Executive Chefs position. You must also be very knowledgeable in human resource matters, food cost, labor cost, design, union rules, cleaning/sanitation, public relations and a myriad of other such things. Most places will hire you to fix those things, not to teach them to you. There is a reason the other chef is not there anymore. A wealth of knowledge and skills, patience and diplomacy are expected from you when you walk in the door. Most of this you cannot learn in a school. It will take years of acquired skills and knowledge to become the Chef that you aspire to be. So here it is: You first need to get your papers (diploma) THEN  (maybe) you will be given the chance to actually learn, experience and practice what you already are “licensed” to do. “Catch 22″,  really.

Don’t be discouraged if things seem to go slow and tedious at the beginning. Think of your culinary career as a kind of snowball: Lay a small snowball (your Career) on a snowy hill and see what happens: Nothing! But push, push, push and it starts to slowly roll down the hill and after a short time, it will start to gain momentum all by itself and off it goes to become a giant snowball ( your Career).

Here now, in a few words, is how the snowball of my career rolled for me:

I started as an apprentice when I was thirteen and a half years old, in a small hotel in the black forest in Germany  (Hotel Wiedenfelsen in Buehlertal). Tough times. Hard work. Long hours, sometimes no day off for many weeks. At that time there were no “shifts” you were assigned to. It was normal for everybody to work breakfast, lunch and dinner. Eight hour work days ?! Go work at a bank! During my first year, I earned room and board and approximately $20 cash a month. Second year about $60 a month and during the third year probably around $100. From the second year on, an apprentice was expected to run his or her own station. (VERY few girls in the kitchen at that time, 1967). My secret dream at that time was to become a disc jockey as soon as I’d finish my apprenticeship. Thank God my dad found out and gave me a few fresh ones to set my head straight. The next stations of my journey, as much as I remember now, were as follows:

Hans Susser1

One winter season as a Commis de Cuisine during the winter season in Austria. (Hotel Alpenhof: Jungholz, Tyrol)

One summer season as a Commis de cuisine at the German seaboard. (Hotel See Schloesschen, Timmendorfer Strand).

One summer and winter (1972 summer Olympics) as the lone cook with two helpers in a small restaurant and banquet facility in Munich (Gaststaette Zunfthaus).

hans-susser

One year during which I was promoted from Chef Tournant to Executive Chef at a Congress Center in Germany (Congresshalle Boeblingen)  The Chef got sick and I had to take over – there it was, my first big chance.

After that, I took a year off to live in Hollywood, California. (A whole different story)

Then, 5 years as a Chef de Partie with Royal Viking Line, traveling around the world. Working hard, partying harder. Making tons of money. Spending tons of money.

After that, back to Germany for some time, working in a five-star restaurant as Chef de Partie (Ratskeller Ludwigsburg) and then going back as Executive Chef to the Congress Center in Boeblingen.

hans-susser-ca-1987

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At around 1980 I took a position as Sous Chef at the Manila Midtown Hotel in  Manila, Philippines. I stayed there for a few years and was promoted to my first international position as Executive Chef.

From Manila, I moved to Singapore (Peninsula / Excelsior Hotels) and Thailand (VERY extended vacation :-)  ) and eventually to Miami where I joined Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. During my time there as Senior Executive Chef, I met my lovely wife Maria who also worked for RCCL.

For the next 15 years, Maria and I traveled the world, living and working in a variety of Countries.

During my career in the hospitality industry, I have held the positions of:

Apprentice, Commis de Cuisine, Chef de Partie, Sous Chef, Executive Sous Chef, Executive Chef, Senior Executive Chef, Area Executive Chef, F&B Manager, Owner, Chef Instructor (Le Cordon Bleu), Program Chair for the English Program at a Culinary College (Le Cordon Bleu), Program Chair for the Spanish Program at a Culinary College (Le Cordon Bleu)

I have worked in restaurants, hotels and cruise ships.

I worked in places where I was the only cook, in places where I was leading a staff of a few hundred and in places of any size in between.
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hans-susser-rio-de-janeiro

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I have lived and worked in such places as Germany, United States, Jamaica, Grenada, US Virgin Islands, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, France, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and probably a few more which I cannot remember right now. According to my wife Maria who keeps track of those things, I have lived, worked and/or visited 128 countries in total.

Not bad for a kid who left school before he was 14 years old and, after apprenticeship,   had no further formal education.

During the past 25 years in the hospitality industry, my specialty for which companies hired me was to open new ventures or to bring back the former glory that many places had lost. This made for some very hectic and stressful but nevertheless beautiful and exciting years, which I would not want to miss for anything. (The money was great too). I lived mostly in five-star hotels or other high-class accommodations, provided by the companies I worked for. If one works at this level, most companies provide a high-class expatriate package, which can include great amenities for the whole family such as free travel, insurance, maid service, company car and chauffeur, free food, drinks, laundry, medical service, etc, etc.

During the past eight years, I have worked as a chef instructor at a local culinary college (Le Cordon Bleu, Miami). Life is good, even without the stress and hectic. Sometimes I miss the crazy action, most times I don’t.

Well folks, there you have it. It is all out there, just waiting for you! All you have to do is work hard, never give up and understand that all beginnings are tough.
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hans-susser-five-star-diamond-award

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Good Luck !  Life is Good !

 

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