As a lover of fine food one of the greatest pleasures in my life is meeting the masters in the art of culinary. The best dishes, I’ve experienced, have always been those which reflect the personality of the chefs who create them.
Chef David Wagger, from The Gasthof Post, is the latest to head the kitchens at Hotel Post Lech, Austria. With a younger, innovative approach to cooking and a perfect background in Austrian cuisine it’s an exciting appointment for guests. The five star hotel, with 46 rooms ranging from single rooms to chalets, is a surely an exciting place to make a mark given that the region has the highest density of gourmet restaurants in the world. Post is also part of the select group of hotels which belong to Relais & Châteaux founded in 1952. I was fortunate enough to catch up with Chef Wagger to chew over (ha!) all things culinary for the upcoming season. Read on to find out what we talked about.
GTW: What do you find most exciting about cooking here in Post at Lech?
Different restaurants and menus we offer at the Post from the ever changing half board menu to the a la carte menu and my two special gourmet menus in the Jägerstube.
GTW: Postblick in particular looks like an incredible setting for your food. How inspired were you by your surroundings when you created the new menu?
DW: The Post is a very traditional Austrian hotel and has the personal touch of the family in management. It was and still is very inspiring to me to create dishes that combine tradition with modernity.
GTW: Have you been surprised by the positive reaction to your appointment here at Lech as a young chef?
DW: The level of culinary is very high in Lech. Lech has the highest density of gourmet restaurants in the world so the competition is very strong. Therefore, it’s a real challenge to raise the standards. The greatest joy is when I receive positive feedback from our guests and also from other chefs in Lech.
GTW: What’s the focus on your menu in terms of flavour? What would you say are the best examples of this on your menu?
DW: As mentioned before I like to combine tradition with new and modern aspects so a lot of my creations combine the Austrian kitchen with the Mediterranean kitchen. I really like the taste of tomato and basil.
GTW: Lech attracts a group of varied international guests so how do people who’ve never experienced Austrian cuisine react to it?
DW: Those not familiar with the Austrian kitchen are surprised by the variety of flavour and just after a few bites they are already fans! Especially the classics like the Wiener
Schnitzel or the Kaiserschmarrn; they are very popular among our guests.
GTW: What do those acquainted with your cookery make of it?
DW: My two gourmet menus are all my personal creations and interpretations. One of my personal highlights is the white tomato soup served with a scallop. They are what I would always bring to a dish.
GTW: What are you most looking forward to showcasing over the coming festive and ski season?
DW: This year I am very much looking forward to our special New Year’s Eve gala dinner. In particular I am very excited to serve the ibex consommé from our own hunt with cranberry ravioli and small curd dumplings.
GTW: That sounds delicious! Finally, where do you stand on the quail versus veal debate?
DW: I would not put them against each other as they work very well together. You can see in our gourmet restaurant how we combine quail and veal with rosemary polenta soufflé and kohlrabi.