For my parents, good food had high priority. Both in our own restaurant, and during gourmet trips, they introduced me to fine dining early on.After one year’s training in my parents’ hotel, I switched to the brothers Karl and Rudi Obauer in Werfen and finished my training there. They were also the people who laid the most important foundation stones for me, both in human and in culinary terms. I still benefit from what I learned from them even today. Alain Chapel in Lyon, with his great timeless cuisine, and Anton Mosimann in London, were other important mentors on my path.>br>In 1996 we opened a restaurant in the Steiermark, the first Steirereck, in which I worked from the very beginning as executive chef. That’s where we took the decision to open our own farm, a wonderful decision because even today we still source most of our products for the cuisine at the Steirereck im Stadtpark from there.I would describe my cuisine as a contemporary reinterpretation of Austrian cuisine, which is very much shaped by products and seasons.In 1986 we became a member of Relais & Châteaux. One special highlight was, for me, the international Relais & Châteaux Congress in 2008 which was staged in Vienna. There I had an opportunity to meet many of my colleagues from across the globe, and to invite them to get to know my take on upscale cuisine. The spirit of Relais & Châteaux was really tangible for me during that congress.
Duck meat is nice and tender, with just the right amount of fat to keep it moist as it cooks. The flavor is delicate but also hearty and meaty. We buy our ducks from an organic farmer, Mr. Sallmanshofer, who raises a small flock of Pekin ducks in the Schneebergland region at the frontier between Lower Austria and Styria. We get them eight weeks old, when they have a nice size and enough fat and are still very tender.
We cook the filets on the bone in melted butter at 65°C [150°F] for 35 minutes. We braise the legs and use the livers to make pâtés or parfaits, and we make confit with the hearts and gizzards. Our Schneebergland duck is served with Schoderleer onions and couscous with orange beetroot and chia, or with sautéed sprouts, black radish and peanuts. The giblets are served with purple salsify, fennel and Buddha’s hand citron.