Call it the ultimate goodwill branding event. For three days, Gaggenau took over the 11th loft-like floor of DTLA’s historic Cooper Building—home to the fashion district’s wholesale showrooms—and transformed it into an otherworldly environment. No longer an urban, industrial locale, the pop-up site became its antithesis: a wintry forest wonderland, complete with massive trees and snowclad branches and drifts, all evocative of Germany’s Black Forest where Gaggenau has its roots. Credit Christofer von Nagel, president and CEO, North America, and architect Hendrik Müller of the Munich-based studio Einszu33 for the setting, named Restaurant 1683, after the year Gaggenau was founded. Which brings us to the presentation’s raison d’être: culinary culture plus design.
Yes, this was a real restaurant, presided over by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park and Nomad in New York and Los Angeles. Upon introduction to the scene, the curated culture crowd fortunate enough to be invited literally gasped with awe. More exclamations of surprise came upon discovering the menu and how they would be served. The 48 guests per night took their places at one of six tables for eight, created as a counter around a working kitchen complete with cooktop, oven, and workspace. A pair of chefs at each prepared a six-course meal with wine pairings, while chef Humm mixed and mingled. Dishes were called simply eggs benedict, spring garlic, foie gras, snails, chicken, and peach. Simple, they were anything but. We found the elegant evening truly a night to remember.