Naturresort PURADIES, Leogang, Austria: Greetings from the kitchen
Gourmet restaurant ESS:ENZ at the Puradies focuses on organic and front cooking. We spoke to head chef Albert Dschulnigg and coaxed out of him some exciting kitchen secrets. Plus a top tip for afters.
Q - Lifestylehotels: The hotel restaurant lives and breathes regional cuisine, with produce direct from the source without long delivery times. How do you come up with new regional dishes to suit the time of year? And why is sustainability and regionality so important to the hotel restaurant?
Albert Dschulnigg: Austria is blessed with incredible geological diversity, from the rugged mountains to the smoothed out Pannonian Basin around the Neusiedler Lake. This varied landscape brings with it a particular cornucopia of native fruit and vegetables, flavoursome herbs, fish and meat. That provides variety throughout the season and the creativity emerges all on its own.
In winter, we make use of root vegetables, pumpkin and beets, all of which are organic and sourced from the local region. Summer brings lightness and freshness to the menu with wild mushrooms, tomatoes, cucumbers and berries from our forests and gardens. What’s more, we get our selection of meat and fish from local suppliers. We even get our beef and veal from our own organic farm. We have a long history of being sustainable and organic – under its previous name Embachhof, PURADIES was the first farm in Leogang to convert to being organic.
Q - People can see everything when you’re cooking. Do you notice people watching while you conjure up your dishes?
Our guests are able to observe what’s happening in the hotel kitchen through a window looking in, and in our ESS:ENZ gourmet restaurant they can even watch live – front cooking the PURADIES way. Robin Hagen, the head chef of the hotel restaurant, and I really love it when guests show an interest in our work and show passion for cuisine, and we’re happy to let them join in.
Q - What should we consider in future when it comes to cooking regionally and sustainably?
We recommend produce that’s obtained from the local region ¬– preferably directly from farmers or a farm shop. That supports not just the business but the community as well, and consumers know exactly where their food has come from. In that way, we’re able to appreciate the hard work and love that was poured into our regional produce.
Albert Dschulnigg is an outdoorsman, free spirit and head chef at ESS:ENZ – which has been awarded two Gault&Millau toques, 91 Fallstaff points, three Fallstaff forks and three-and-a-half wooden spoons from the German Schlemmer Atlas restaurant guide (very good cuisine).