Our new chef de cuisine Gernot Bischofberger

Gernot Bischofberger is a true native of Vorarlberg. He grew up in the Bregenz Forest, and so you could say that his position at Thurnher’s Alpenhof is really a home fixture. He will be in charge of our kitchen from the coming winter season, and so of course we wanted to ask him a few questions.

What can gourmet guests at Thurnher’s Alpenhof look forward to in future?

A culinary journey from the Alps to the Atlantic.

What exactly does that mean?

First of all, we shall aim to preserve the fine culinary traditions of our region. We have no objection to hearty dishes, especially in winter – like Kässpätzle (spätzle with cheese) or Käsdönnala (cheese flan), for example, made with tangy Bergkäse (‘mountain cheese’). Dumplings are also a long-established tradition. In addition to dishes like these we shall be serving a lot of specialities based on fine French cuisine. So – a pleasing mix of down-to-earth Alpine cooking and classic haute cuisine, but invariably with that unique twist which we cooks always like to add.

Which of your previous posts as sous-chef or chef de cuisine, would you say, have influenced your own culinary style the most?

On the one hand there was Richard Hessl during my time in La Terrasse Schloss Seefels on the lakeshore at Wörthersee. He is a supreme master of the art of combining local products creatively with elements from French gourmet cuisine. There are good reasons why Richard Hessl’s cuisine has been awarded two toques since 2001.

And on the other, Christoph Zangerl also influenced me greatly when I was cooking at the Burghotel. His somewhat unorthodox culinary style, his passion for hospitality and his way of creating not only menus but also experiences, was a real source of inspiration.

So would you describe those two chefs as your culinary role models?

Yes, they were also that! As I said, they influenced me greatly, and without them I would most certainly not be the chef I am today. As regards my culinary style, however, I would tend to describe Dieter Koschina and Daniel Humm as my role models. Perhaps because they both enrich their Alpine roots even more with international flair. Dieter Koschina, for example, is currently cooking in Portugal, and Daniel Humm is in New York. But my most important role model was always – and always will be – my grandmother. No starred chef anywhere in the world can make better Kässpätzle than she does :-)

Documentary films about chefs have become increasingly popular in recent years. What would be the main subject of the Chef’s Table programme about you?

 “You really don’t need saddle and fillet.”

Why?

Saddle and fillet are the premium cuts of the animal and correspondingly for decades now, dishes – or even entire menus – have been created that are based on them. Even gourmet chefs are gradually giving up this bad habit, however. I believe that every part of the animal can be a delicacy if you know how best to cook it. That is not only a sign of respect towards the animal; it also opens up whole new possibilities. If I can use every ingredient I am much freer and more creative as a cook. Recently, for example, I prepared a dish using dried fish belly flaps. In spite of their initial scepticism, the guests really enjoyed it.

Fascinating! Since we are speaking of creativity… What percentage of your time is really spent on the creative part of a dish, and how much is hard work?

In my opinion the creative part of the preparation of a dish cannot really be measured in percentages. I see cooking as a craft which requires discipline, precision, time and fantasy – each dish is individual and different.

How did you decide to become a chef? A childhood dream, a sudden passion, or chance?

Cooking always fascinated and interested me. As a job it is very varied, creative and demanding – and exactly right for me.

One final question: What do you like cooking best of all?

Fish and seafood – my personal favourite is paella.

We would have guessed that you would opt for your grandmother’s Kässpätzle :-) Thank you for your time, Gernot! And now we shall let you carry on perfecting your creations for the winter.

It was a pleasure! I hope I shall soon have the opportunity of welcoming some of your readers to Thurnher’s Restaurant. 

 

GASTRONOMY

You will not need mountaineering skills to dine in the restaurant which critics and testers have confirmed to be one of the top gastronomic addresses in Austria.

Rooms & suites

Variety instead of monotony! Our rooms and suites are as unique as our guests. What they all have in common is the attention to detail, a classic ambience and top level of comfort.

Contact & Reservation

Just a few clicks and you can be with us! If the room category you have chosen is not available on the dates you prefer, we shall be pleased to make you an alternative offer.