How has the way you cook evolved as your career has progressed?
I can say that I have always been true to myself. Although I learned a lot in the places I worked before I had my own restaurant, I can say that I have never copied anyone or anything. What I do comes from my deepest heart, and this is an ever-changing process. Maybe I have become braver and more self-confident over the years.
In Europe alone there are myriad types of edible mushroom. Do you have a favourite either for the restaurant or personally?
I cook with many different mushrooms: chanterelles, cauliflower, button, jelly ear and, of course, with all kinds of truffles, to name just a few. I create dishes to incorporate each mushroom, which we serve during their seasons. Some mushrooms we preserve so that we can use them throughout the year.
Do you ever get the chance to go hunting for wild mushrooms?
Together with my wife I love to hunt for them in the Austrian woods. I have a section in my cookbook dedicated to mushroom hunting. The thing is, my wife is so much better at finding them than I am. I hold the bucket, and she finds them. It is funny but true. The time I love most is when the mushroom season starts, I love being in the woods and breathing in the wonderful scents of mushrooms in the undergrowth
Culinary creativity aside, does the combination of Krug and mush-rooms hold a special significance for you?
They certainly do! Last autumn, after a wonderful mushroom hunt in the woods of Lower Austria, the home of my wife’s family, we came home with a lot of chanterelles and cauliflower mush-rooms. We sat down around the table to clean and prepare the mush-rooms. Being Autumn, it was already a chilly but everybody wanted to eat outside in the garden because it looked so beautiful. In this moment, we shared a bottle of Krug Grande Cuvée. That is as good as it gets.