The Cook of the Year 2016 takes us on a culinary tour through Vienna
Konstantin Filippou has modernized fine dining in Vienna. Forget about any frills. Gray walls, black aprons, bare wooden tables. Nothing should distract from the essential and this is the great taste of his fine cuisine.
It was in 2013 when Konstantin Filippou opened his first restaurant in Vienna. Now the Master Chef holds 1 Michelin Star, 3 Gault Millau Bonnets and recently started his new Bistro O boufés. Austria’s Master Chef 2016 (by Gault Millau) offers a unique blend of Austrian and Mediterranean cuisine reflecting perfectly his multicultural Greek/Austrian background.
In an interview he gives us exclusive insights on his professional life and shares valuable secrets about his beloved Vienna.
Three things about you that not many people know…
I would like to be able to speak French.
I can be really lazy (in my spare free time).
I can catch an octopus with my bare hands.
How did you decide you wanted to become a cook, a chef?
As a young boy, I watched my parents cook every day. I loved it. I love to touch and work with great products.
Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer, Konstantin Filippou Restaurant, Dominikanerbastei 7
You have been working with many great chefs in Austria, UK and Spain. What are the most important or the most surprising things you learned from them?
At Steirereck/Austria, I have learned what it means to act in unison: I have learned that great things can only happen when everybody speaks with one voice, walks in the same direction – together.
At Gordon Ramsay/London, I have learned that absolutely nothing is left to chance and I was trained in Ramsay’s drill. London’s gastronomy inspired me with its special way of performance and presentation, its architecture. I discovered that the glass is always half full in this vibrant melting pot.
At Arzak/Spain, I had the time of my life. Everything revolves around food and drinks – in a manner I have not experienced before. The Spanish flair of this Michelin mainstay was inexpressibly motivating for me. The perfection in the kitchen is paired with the boundless joie de vivre of this nation.
What inspires you to create new and surprising dishes and which one is a must-try when our readers come to visit your restaurant or bistro?
My whole life inspires me. My travels, meeting people, new products, strolling through the forests – everything. Right now, my two favourite dishes are: Mieral pigeon. Almond. Celery. Quince. (Restaurant) and Prawn Saganaki (O boufés).
You once said, what really matters is the essence of taste? What would you like your guests to say after they finish tasting your dishes?
I would love it when my guests say that they tasted – no matter if it’s a carrot or a langoustine –like they have never done before. I want to get out the essence of everything.
I know your dishes are inspired by both Mediterranean and Austrian culinary traditions. How would you describe contemporary Austrian cuisine?
Creative, very personal and individual – and also flexible, due to season.
What is your favorite food/dish? What do you like to eat?
I actually like simple food as much as high cuisine. I can be very happy with a great chicken with vegetables and potatoes, homemade by my mom.
When it comes to life in Vienna, what do you like most about this town?
I love Vienna. I love everything about it. It’s a great city with a strong history, an inspiring present and a promising future.
The three things aside from the sightseeing highlights we must see/try while in Vienna are…
– Going on the Third Man tour
– Visiting the “Himmelwiese” overlooking the city
– Hanging out on the ENZIs in the Museumsquarter
– Talking a long walk on Donaukanal
– Doing a tasting in one of Viennas great production sites like: Andreas Gugumuck/Wiener Schnecke, Erwin Gegenbauer/Vinegars
Your favorite restaurants in Vienna are (apart from your own amazing ones of course)…
Meiners Gastwirtschaft and Marco Simonis-Bastei 10/Deli and Designshop.
The best bar in the city is…
A night to remember in Vienna. How do you spend it with friends?
Starting with a good meal at Gasthaus Wolf, after that having a great drink in the Bar at Sofitel, overlooking the city. Of course you have to go to a Würstelstand at night and then sneak into the Bonbonniere Bar.
What is Vienna´s best kept secret? A place not many people know.
This will stay my secret ☺.
You are Gault Millau´s Austrian cook of the year 2016 and beside a Michelin star received numerous awards. What are the goals you want to achieve in the coming years?
To keep up with the speed, quality and perfection that we are working with every single day. And being happy and spending more time with my wife and family.
We thank Konstantin Filippou and his wife Manuela for the interview.
If you are planning to come to Vienna we strongly recommend to visit their fine restaurant or the new bistro O boufés. You will not regret it. For some more valuable inspiration see the Vienna Insider Guide based on Konstantin Filippou´s recommendations.