I was born on 13 January 1991 in St. Martin am Silberberg, a small village in beautiful Carinthia, Austria. I spent a lot of time in my granny’s kitchen and I realised early on that I should turn my passion into my job. So I applied for an apprenticeship in one of Austria’s best hotels, Hotel Hochschober on the Turrach, where on 21 April 2006 I started my training to become a catering professional. My granny was filled with pride – she never had the opportunity to train in a professional hotel kitchen. Therefore, she was all the more pleased for me.
Hochschober, Turracher Höhe
In 2010, Josef Dorner trained me for the “Master Cup”, an apprentice competition, which we won and were awarded the gold medal. After I completed my final examination and graduated with honours as a catering professional in 2011, I stayed on for another six months.
But at the age of 19, I had to make a decision and I didn’t know which direction to take. So the next step on my career ladder was London to join one of the world’s most famous Japanese restaurants, ZUMA in Knightsbridge – my first position as a professional chef.
Porto Colom, Spain
My next stop was Porto Colom in Mallorca. As chef de partie in a small, romantic restaurant run by an Austrian, I was able to be creative. It was a valuable experience and I enjoyed the summer by the sea. After a hectic summer season and a short stay at home, I embarked on an adventure to a country that I only knew from Arabian Nights: Dubai
Burj Al Arab, Dubai
In Dubai I worked as demi chef de partie in probably the most luxurious 7-star hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab. The fine dining restaurant Al Mahara was a modern seafood restaurant. Led by Renald Epie, it has become one of Dubai’s best-visited and most popular restaurants. There I learned the basics of French cuisine and in 2013 participated in the Emirates cooking competition for tapas and canapés. Weeks of preparation and night-long training paid off and earned me the silver medal.
SPAGO, Beverly Hills
Like so many, I dreamed of living in Hollywood. So I applied for a position at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills, the mother ship of the Carinthian chef’s culinary empire, led by Japanese head chef Tetsu Yahagi. Wolfgang Puck has always been one of my most important role Models. Since 2016, I am at his side cooking for the Hollywood elite at the Oscars.
CUT at 45 Park Lane, London
Today I am head chef at restaurant CUT at 45 Park Lane, leading a team of about forty chefs. Starting out as a chef wasn’t easy. Again the expectations are high and the shifts very long. But that is how I learnt it – with a sense of fun, consistent work and my family’s support, I am rising to the challenge.
In the summer of 2017, I reached the finals at the UK Acorn Awards for restaurateurs under thirty. I continue championing my home Carinthia, where I was acting as gourmet ambassador for the Chamber of Commerce in 2016 and the Marktplatz Mittelkärnten in 2018. In 2019 I won the Award for the “Carinthian of the Year”.
2009 International Internship in Malta, sponsored by the European Union
2010 Gold Medal “Service Master Cup” in Austria
2013 Silver Medal at the Emirates Gulf cooking competition in the category canapés
2016 Named as Culinary Ambassador by the economic chamber of Austria
2018 Named as Culinary Ambassador by the State of Carinthia, Austria
2018 Finalist of the Acorn Scholarship
2019 Renamed as Culinary Ambassador by the State of Carinthia, Austria
My idol, Ingrid Wieland
I always knew that one day I would step into my granny’s footsteps. Not just for the love she puts into her dishes. Especially her appreciation of food and her dedication to the preparation of a meal have inspired me to become a chef.
My grandmother, Ingrid Wieland, now in her 70s, runs a small inn in St. Martin. She lovingly serves her guests quality products, like the salad and vegetables that grow in her garden. Fresh herbs are harvested in summer and either dried or frozen for the cold season. Potatoes and onions are stored in the cellar, where you also find home-made jams, pickled cucumbers, mushrooms and much more. What fascinates me are granny’s enthusiasm for food and her talent to appreciate it the way it has naturally grown. Never mind if the carrot is crooked or straight or if the kohlrabi tastes a bit woody at the end of the season: she always knows how to make the most of it and conjures up delicious dishes. This attitude has shaped me since childhood.