Tim Mälzer and Matthias Diether could be brothers. Both loud-mouthed, both big-hearted and both not at a loss for stupid sayings. The two harmonize, that’s obvious. However, both are also ambitious and not at a loss for nasty tricks. The Baltic Special turns out to be a rollercoaster of emotions – and not just for the chefs.

Matthias Dieter has taken top gastronomy in his adopted home of Estonia to the next level. He is the first chef to win two Michelin stars there. His restaurant “180° by Matthias Diether” is considered the best in the country. The Baltic Special is a kind of home game for him – or so he thinks. But Tim Mälzer wouldn’t be Tim Mälzer if he didn’t have one or two surprises in store.

Tim Mälzer cooks in Tallinn in the second best restaurant in Estonia: Mälzer’s tour in the Baltics begins in Diether’s adopted home: Estonia. In the second best restaurant in the country, the NOA, the hamburger has to recreate a dish from Tõnis Siigur. He is not only a friend of Diether, but also a star chef. In the battle with the flambadou and the burnt leek, Mälzer also makes himself a bit of a leek. The task: fire-burnt leek with cured elk and hollandaise sauce as well as scallops with radish.

Matthias Diether travels to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius: Diether encounters traditional Lithuanian cuisine – but interpreted in a modern way as haute cuisine. Original chef Tomas Rimydis is one of the best chefs in the country, the dish he selected is a classic in his restaurant – and extremely detailed in its preparation. Puzzle work for Diether. The task: Beef roulade with vegetables, parsnip puree

Tim Mälzer has to assert himself in a private kitchen in Riga: Matthias Diether sends Mälzer to Artūrs Arnicāns, whom he knows from the “Baltic Chefs” project – not to the restaurant, however, but to his makeshift apartment with a tiny kitchen and sparse furnishings. But the hamburger is allowed to cook the way he likes to do it best: with his heart. The task: Latvian pearl barley risotto

Matthias Diether cooks in a market hall in Riga: The second cooking task is a fitness test for Diether. He has to cook two dishes at two stalls at the same time. That means a lot of walking, a lot of audience, a lot of stress. The dishes, however, suit the star chef, he says. But traditional heart cooking has its pitfalls…The task: cold beetroot soup and khinkali

Diether is completely to Mälzer’s taste, because the star chef can verbally stand up to the hamburger. After Mälzer arrives at the meeting point by boat in Tallinn’s harbor and fires a volley of cocky comments at the opponent’s head, Diether only answers dryly: “I wonder why you came by boat and didn’t walk on the water.”

Tim Mälzer is in the ninth season of “Kitchen Impossible” and sometimes it seems that he has grown tired of the cooking show. He rarely sparkles with motivation in duels. But things are different in the Baltic Special. He puts in an extraordinary amount of effort there. This goes so far that he even gets up extra early in Riga to pick mushrooms in the forest instead of just buying them. An effort that is rewarded.

At the latest after the road trip together it is clear: Mälzer and Diether, this is not a one-off story. The dynamic between the two is right, as is the humor. Within a very short time, a close familiarity develops between the competitors. You can see the two of them together on a bench by the sea – Mälzer sitting, Diether lying with her head on his lap. You rarely see the Hamburg chef so cuddly and approachable.

That was unexpected: After Diether had put down an almost perfect plate in the first match, he experienced a defeat in Riga that was washed out. Although he implements the dishes with great motivation and is satisfied in the end, no one else is. The jury is merciless. Mälzer, on the other hand, really turns up the heat in Riga and achieves what was previously thought hardly possible – Diether’s lead up to Riga was huge – he catches up point by point.

Tim Mälzer belies all critics and warms up to “Kitchen Impossible” best. In the Baltics, he achieved his fourth victory in five matches thanks to a fantastic final spurt. But the far greater gain for Mälzer seems to be something else: the new bromance with Diether.

Episode 1: With cardinal cuts and volcanic cuisine: Testicle chef Richard Rauch flattens Tim Mälzer

Episode 2: “Bachmeier pulverized” – no one has ever let Mälzer get naked so charmingly

Episode 3: Haute cuisine instead of charcoal grill: Tim Mälzer grills the fire master Stefan Wiesner

Episode 4: Maltsters and feasters make “Kitchen Impossible” hardcore again – culinary torture between slum kitchens and blood dishes. “Kitchen Impossible” can be seen every Sunday from 8:15 p.m. on Vox. This and later all other episodes of “Kitchen Impossible” can be streamed on RTL.

Transparency note: Der stern is part of RTL Deutschland