The Ultimate Timesaver: DIY Dinner in Germany
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When it opened in Berlin in late 2010, customers wondered what Kochhaus was. A restaurant? A cooking school? A grocery store? Its owners describe Kochhaus as a "walk-in cookbook." It's a market that encourages urban dwellers to cook for themselves by making it almost as easy as getting takeout. Customers choose dinner from among the illustrated recipes hanging throughout the store and grab the right number of premeasured ingredients waiting nearby. Every dish costs between €2 and €10 per person, and recipes are simple enough to be conquered by novice chefs and non-German speakers. (My youngest sister can vouch for that; she's the source of this story and the only one of my three sisters who doesn't speak German.) The clever concept was created by Ramin Goo, who took time off from earning his Ph.D. in entrepreneurship to launch the store. It's no surprise that the idea has taken off; Goo quickly launched two more locations in Hamburg and Berlin. Above: The third Kochhaus location, in the St. Georg neighborhood of Hamburg. Above: The store offers plenty of trimmings to take home along with tonight's dinner. Above: The espresso bar at the Prenzlauer Berg location in Berlin offers staples for breakfast at home—bread, jam, and coffee—or instant gratification in the form of a latte to go. Above: Kochhaus also stocks pantry basics and ingredients for the more culinarily independent. Above: A recipe for lemon chicken en papillote comes in at €4.80 per person for dinner. Above: A simple mozzarella starter uses less common ingredients (like marjoram and chili peppers) to guide shoppers out of their dinnertime ruts.