Before opening your restaurant, you were originally an artist. How did the transition from art to gastronomy come about?
I had developed an interest in cooking over many years. I was simply fascinated by good food and the process of how it is made, and I taught myself various culinary skills along the way. Because I come from a family of hoteliers, making the transition into gastronomy was not a far-fetched step.
One of the most striking characteristics of your restaurant is the historical space and its many fine features. How did you find the space, and did its features influence your restaurant concept?
I knew the restaurants that had been at this location before and heard that the space would be becoming free. The pragmatic decision to move into this location had a strong influence on my design choices for the restaurant, though not on the culinary concept itself.
Another distinctive feature at Richard is the modern art that decorates the space. Did you choose these pieces with a particular style or feel in mind?
I did source some of the pieces myself, while others are loans, in which case there was less flexibility to choose. My aim was not to convey one particular style concept, but rather to create a beautiful ambiance using pictures that I personally like.
Given the importance of art in your life, what are your favorite places in Berlin for art?
My personal favorite is the room of Caspar David Friedrich paintings on the top level of the Alte Nationalgalerie (Bodestr. 1, www.smb. museum).
Which neighborhood do you live in, and what makes you feel at home there?
I live on the Kreuzberg side of Friedrichstraße. I like the anonymity of the area, and how it feels like it is not quite a neighborhood at all.
Richard is also located in Kreuzberg, a neighborhood that has not traditionally been known as a gourmet destination, though this has changed quite a bit in recent years. Are there any restaurants in the neighborhood that you particularly like?
My favorite place to go eat is Lode & Stijn (Lausitzer Str. 25, www.lode-stijn. de). This place gets my wholehearted recommendation.
Imagine it’s a beautiful day and you’re free to spend it however you choose. What would your perfect Berlin day look like?
I would spend a wonderful day at Gleisdreieck Park with my young daughter. We’d pack up our things, get an ice cream along the way, and spend the whole day playing and relaxing in the park. My phone would stay at home, of course.
Clockwise from top left: The Caspar David Friedrich room at the Alte Nationalgalerie; pretty table setting at Richard; the interior of Richard; Inset: an octopus dish at Richard; Gleisdreieck Park.