Masterchef S03 ep2 : Werner Pichmaier, Restaurant Anna Sacher, [Vienna]
Interview with Werner Pichmaier
Following extensive renovation work the Anna Sacher restaurant is now radiant in bright green pleasantly offset by black furniture with golden highlights. This interior design merely serves to underscore the splendour of the paintings by Anton Faistauer hanging in the restaurant and the priceless Lobmeyr crystal chandeliers. This interior contrasts starkly with the straight, unpretentious line taken by Sacher's chef de cuisine Werner Pichmaier in his contemporary, light interpretation of traditional Austrian cuisine. It goes without saying that he uses high-quality regional products for all his basic ingredients.
We’re sitting in the restaurant Anna Sacher, in the Hotel Sacher , a traditional Viennese house. This
restaurant Anna Sacher has just been rennovated and combines my ideas on traditional and
I learnt my basic cooking skills and craft in the restaurant of my parents. I was also chef there for a few
years. Then I was also managing this restaurant. After this experience, I went to vienna and worked
in the restaurant Steireck which was moving to another location at the time, so I was involved in the
reopening of Steireck which is very famous in vienna, and since 2006 I've been working here at the
hotel Sacher in Vienna.
I learnt a lot from my father who was a famous cook in Austria in former times. Then at the restaurant
Steirick I learnt a lot from Chef Reitbauer, and Hans-Peter Finkel, who was the former chef of Hotel
My father learnt to cook whilst working in France, Switzerland and Germany. French gastronomy
influenced him enormously introducing him to haute and world cuisine. In total, he spent 18 years
studying French cooking.
Since childhood I loved to cook and I learnt from my father how to work with the freshest regional
products. I was dreaming as a little boy to be a cook in a hotel or restaurant in the premier league and
now I’m on my way to making it my profession.
It’s very important to cook with seasonal local high quality products. The meat for example, comes
from selected Austrian farmers who I know and also seasonal fruits and vegetables directly from
farmers I know well. I also purchase directly from Paris – the Rouge express. It's all about flavour and
the freshest possible Austrian seafood, meat and vegetables. It’s important for me to visit the famous
market here in Vienna , the Naschmarkt. To see the best local produce there and to get inspired to
create new dishes when I see them.
For a dish, its important to have the absolute best, freshest products, but not so many ingredients on
the plate. Not French cooking which is complicated, but we are making dishes which are lighter,
simpler and more contemporary.
I’ve tried and created some successful dishes using ideas and techniques from the new molecular
gastronomy, but it's still early days for me. You really need to know what you are doing otherwise it
quickly becomes unrecognisable as grand cuisine.
Molecular gastronomy wouldn't work at the moment in Restaurant Sacher since we are a traditional
house with traditional guests. Your cooking needs to cater to a wide range of guests from the business
traveller to the local customer. You need to have things on the menu they will want to eat. You can try
a few ideas from of molecular gastronomy but not the whole menu.
What is unique here is the original Sachertorte. This is now famous in the whole world, and it came
from this kitchen.
The classic wiener schnitzel , backhendel[Paprika Chicken], sachertorte, Tafelspitz[Boiled Beef] , we
cook these with traditional Austrian cooking techniques, and the other modern menu is cooked with
the latest culinary techniques. Many guest come here specifically for traditional dishes like our version
of Wiener schnitzel, which they rave about.
Once at 5:20pm I received an order from room service to produce a very plain dish of breast chicken
with vegetables. It was for the actress Sharon Stone. No salt, no pepper.
Jose Carreras [opera singer] is a regular guest who comes to eat after the opera, also Nebenko. His
favourite dish is our Wiener Schnitzel.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Werner pichmaier, Restaurant Anna Sacher, [Vienna]