On February 10th, in Frankfurt, the S.Pellegrino Kulinarische Auslese 2014 guide will highlight the best chefs and restaurants across Germany and Austria. During the gala event an Acqua Panna special prize will be given to the best female chefs of the two countries: in Germany the competition is between Iris Bettinger and Maria Groß, Ulli Hollerer-Reichl and Rosemarie Trabelsi in Austria.
Waiting for the final winners to be announced Fine Dining Lovers sat down with the four chefs to get to know them and their cuisine a little better: after Maria Groß, Ulli Hollerer-Reichl and Iris Bettinger today the focus is on Rosemarie Trabelsi. With a level at the Commercial Academy she studied as a travel agent and first worked as a receptionist in hotels: this is how she met her husband Ammar. In 1992 she started cooking at the restaurant she was working in and discovered her passion: she trained in different workshops and internships to gain experience. In 1996 she was awarded with the first Gault-Millau toque, followed by the second two years after. In 1997 she launched her restaurant La Torre in St.Veit an der Glan she runs with her husband.
You have been nominated fort he Best Female chef in your Country for 2014. How do you feel?
I am proud of my nomination. To be appreciated, although my restaurant is not in a typical tourist region, makes me very happy and proud. I am also excited. What decision will the jury take? I am looking forward for the gala.
What’s the taste of happiness, for you?
This depends on the situation. Sometimes it is a warm chocolate cake with a soft filling. Sometimes it is my husband and I being in a nice restaurant, having food and enjoying a glass of wine.
Can you describe your kitchen philosophy and approach towards cooking?
My goal is to use basic products of best quality as pure as possible. Vegetables and fish should still be recognizable as such on the plate. Puristic, but fancy. I don’t like to many components on the plate.
What dish are you most proud of and why?
Wild turbot filet “Al cartoccio – Mare e monte” with boletus and ginger. The fish is the sea, the boletus is the mountain and the garlic combines them both. I grill the fish on the boletus in a parchment paper. When you open this paper, the delicious smell of boletus, fish and olive oil escapes.
What’s exciting you about the culinary scene in Austria right now?
I like the fact that chefs rely more on regionality and use seasonal products.
With the cover of Time magazine featuring Redzepi, Chang and Atala as the Dudes of food there’s been a lot of debate about the unbalanced portrayal of female chefs in the food industry – what are your opinions regarding this?
Male dominated-kitchens happen to be kind of rude. As a woman, you have to put up with it and assert yourself. The fact of the matter that female chefs are lacking in the kitchen, probably comes along with the working times. They are not really family-friendly.
What food trends are you expecting to emerge in the country in 2014?
The trend surely tends to buying more regional products and appreciating quality. Since there is an increase of different kinds of food-intolerances, there has to be more flexibility. This is a challenge for chefs. For the guests, it gets more important to know the origin of the products that have been used in their dishes.
What’s your culinary dream?
I already fulfilled my dream. I own my own restaurant.