People: From the hearth to prison – Alfons Schuhbeck turns 75

People: From the hearth to prison – Alfons Schuhbeck turns 75

He was at the top for years, then came the deep fall: Alfons Schuhbeck lost his gastronomic empire and ended up in prison. Now the star chef is turning 75.

For decades, Alfons Schuhbeck was an integral part of Munich’s kiss-bussi society, entertaining celebrities and becoming one himself. He cooked for the Queen and Charlie Chaplin – then he fell deep. Schuhbeck is celebrating his 75th birthday this Thursday (May 2nd) as an inmate. Last year he began his prison sentence for tax evasion.

He had one of his last major public appearances to date in November 2022: At that time, Alfons Schuhbeck entered the stage of the “Teatro” in Munich, which had borne his name for years, to cheers from the audience in attendance. He sang “Sweet Caroline” and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” – ​​just as he had done countless times before.

Three years and two months

But this time it was a very special appearance. Shortly before, the Munich I Regional Court had sentenced the star chef, who had been an integral part of Munich’s chic scene for decades, to three years and two months in prison.

According to the regional court, Schuhbeck evaded 2.3 million euros. The court was convinced that Schuhbeck had reached into the cash registers of two of his restaurants more than 1,000 times and thus made money disappear. To do this, he used a computer program that an employee had created on his behalf.

Schuhbeck and everyone present knew then: He had to go to prison. The performance could have been one of his hardest ever, a low point after a hard fall from a height.

Schuhbeck was initially held in the Landsberg am Lech correctional facility and is now in a branch of the correctional facility in the Rothenfeld district of Andechs. The fact that he was transferred there is the last officially confirmed news about his situation after entering prison. The “Bild” reported at the time that Schuhbeck was released and was allowed to leave the prison temporarily. Neither the prison management nor Schuhbeck’s lawyer currently want to comment on how the former star chef lives there and what his situation is. How he celebrates his birthday is unknown.

Celebrations were part of his life for decades – often because he was a popular host. Schuhbeck, born in Traunstein in 1949, almost became a television technician. It was only an encounter with the restaurateur Sebastian Schuhbeck that turned things around.

The childless innkeeper was looking for a successor for his restaurant in Waging am See. He adopted the young Alfons and let him go to the Bad Reichenhall hotel management school. In 1980, Alfons – now Schuhbeck – took over his adoptive father’s business and soon impressed everyone with his talent as a cook. He received a Michelin star in 1983, and in 1989 the gourmet guide “Gault-Millau” honored him as “Chef of the Year”. More awards followed.

Schuhbeck became an integral part of the Munich Bussi-Bussi society. He entertained celebrities and became one himself. He cooked for the Queen, the Beatles, Charlie Chaplin and again and again for FC Bayern Munich and became one of the most famous chefs and restaurateurs in the republic.

Debris of a life’s work

His name was a brand for years. Schuhbeck built up a network of companies with three restaurants, a catering service, an ice cream parlor and spice shops. He worked 19 hours a day, he said on his 70th birthday five years ago. But Schuhbeck fell deeply. He filed for bankruptcy for his Munich restaurants, and last year bankruptcy proceedings were opened against him personally.

Now all that remains of the former gastronomic empire are the spice shops. Schuhbeck again gave cooking courses in the Munich store until shortly before he went to prison.

“I did a lot of things wrong,” Schuhbeck said in court in 2022, before he was able to bring himself to make a more extensive confession. “I deceived myself, my friends and acquaintances and also my defense attorneys until the end because I didn’t want to admit that I had failed as a businessman.”

He also said at trial: “If I could undo it, I would do it in a heartbeat.” And: “I’m standing in front of the rubble of my life’s work.”

Source: Stern

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