When IRMA visits DIE KÜCHE, one of the latest restaurants at the Hotel Palais Hansen Kempinski in Vienna, the idea of cooking in front of guests and friends seems to be great fun for both parties. She talks to executive chef Anton Pozeg about tips and tricks when cooking in front of someone and why an open kitchen is the latest hit in the culinary business.
IRMA: What is the biggest challenge when you cook directly in front of your guests?
ANTON POZEG: When cooking in front of guests, it is not only important to prepare a perfect dish, but also to entertain at the same time. That takes a little practice as you have to concentrate on two things simultaneously and make the guests feel welcome, too.
IRMA: When it comes to noise and smell, which cooking method do you prefer?
ANTON POZEG: If you have good equipment, you should not have any problems concerning the smell. Regarding the noise, some nice dishes might include one or two noisy steps. But the guests are more interested in the result, so we don’t really have any limitations.
IRMA: Are the guests starting a conversation with you while you cook? If so, about what?
ANTON POZEG: Some of our guests really just enjoy watching, but of course it is about interaction and there are also a lot of guests who would like to have a conversation. Mostly it is about the dishes we are preparing, they ask for tips and tricks or share their own cooking experiences. It gives a really nice touch for both the guests and the chefs to interact — and that is how we get a lot of feedback!
IRMA: Could you give me some advice when cooking at home in my kitchen in front of my friends. Are their some secrets or tips you can share ?
ANTON POZEG: When cooking at home, do not get too ambitious. It is perfectly fine to serve a simple, but perfectly prepared dish using the best ingredients you could purchase.
It is much nicer to enjoy the cooking process instead of putting too much pressure on yourself – because cooking should be fun! Also, make sure to provide a nice glass of sparkling wine or some finger food as a starter for your guests to keep them relaxed and a little distracted.
IRMA: What is the most ordered dish you prepare at DIE KÜCHE?
ANTON POZEG: Some of our guests’ favourites that could be found on the menu all year are the Wiener Schnitzel as a local classic and the beef tartare. We prepare it at the table and everyone can choose the ingredients they would like to have the meat spiced and refined with.
IRMA: How do the guests influence or inspire you to create a new menu?
ANTON POZEG: Of course our guests’ feedback is very important whenever we set up a new menu. It makes us keep, change or replace dishes. But there are many other influences on a new menu — because there is inspiration everywhere out there, when strolling around a nice market or dining out yourself. Moreover, a new menu is always a team effort and each and everyone contributes their ideas. And we also get inspired by the season and its specific ingredients. That is why we always offer a seasonal menu such as skrei at the beginning of the year.