His esteem for regional natural treasures extends far beyond the usual level. In a virtuous way, he makes them into newly interpreted Austrian classics: always looking for a new aspect and never forgetting the old.
Heinz Reitbauer grew up in a gastronomic family in combination with agriculture. When he was born, his Styrian parents opened an inn in Vienna. In his teenage phase, he recalls, it was always about the search for the product and for quality. Torn between the career aspirations of architect and cook, Reitbauer first went to the hotel management school in Germany after completing compulsory schooling and then began an apprenticeship as a chef in his own house. After a year he continued his apprenticeship with the Obauer brothers in Salzburg.
“That was definitely a very defining time for me. I was young and I felt quite ahead of my time. I was a bit on my own mental fast lane. It is very clear when you grow up in the restaurant business that you have a superficial idea of a lot of things, but there they gave me depth and grounded me.”
Reitbauer then went to France to work with Alain Chapel, whose uncompromising attitude also shaped him. His career also took him to London to Anton Mosimann and to Paris to Joël Robuchon. At home, Reitbauer took over his parents’ inn in Styria, the Steirereck am Pogusch. Initially planned for only one year, it became almost ten in which he incorporated a strong regional reference into his cooking style.
Austrian Cuisine beyond its boundaries – “at Steirereck we are constantly searching for the aromas and flavors of Austria.”
Eating at Steireck leaves you with a real sense of admiration for Reitbauer’s commitment to local Austrian products and promoting a sustainable restaurant and business model. His efforts to bring out the taste of every element of the dish, no matter how small, allow his creations to become a flavor spectacle that can hardly be surpassed in finesse.