Wolfgang Mätzler – haute cuisine to go
In the middle of Vorarlberg’s Bregenzerwald, an award-winning chef combines the finest ingredients in glass jars. Wolfgang Mätzler works with flavours like an architect and then preserves them, making him a perfect match with the Bregenzerwald: Vorarlberg connects nature with architecture, making it a hotspot for people who like spending their time outside but want to enjoy culture as well.
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A chef with a vision
A good example of this is Wolfgang Mätzler’s approach to fish: “Lake Constance is greatly overfished. This applies primarily to game fish, because there are plenty of predatory fish. So I arranged with my fish supplier that I would buy up his predatory fish, such as bream.”
In this way, with FAIRkocht the gourmet chef supports the natural biological cycle as well as local fishermen. Another example: the ingredients for his carrot soup all come from within a 30-kilometre / 20-mile radius – and he often fetches them himself on his bike.
Wolfgang Mätzler’s own story
The young Wolfgang Mätzler actually wanted to become a farmer. But when the family farm was taken over by his uncle, he embarked on a different path: “My father told me at the time that I couldn’t become a farmer without a farm. That’s when I decided I wanted to make great food out of farm products.”
The decision to become a chef was then very logical. During his apprenticeship at the Hotel Post in Bezau he learned the fundamentals of his desired career. “After that I just wanted to get away from the Bregenzerwald.”
For two years he worked at an haute cuisine restaurant in Munich. Every day offered something new and exciting: “It was like leafing through a cookbook: pak choi, lobster, spiny lobster – these were things that I only knew from picture books.”
After a job in Salzburg and a brief stint in Liechtenstein, he came back to his native Bregenzerwald. Deeply rooted and full of ideas, he was taken with the idea of returning to the place of his apprenticeship as sous-chef. At the age of 24, he then became executive chef at Hotel Post: a storybook career.
This is how the region gets in the jar
“As sous-chef, my passion for local ingredients was reignited,” recalls Mätzler, “because I bear responsibility not only for my team but also for my region.”
Even back then he was experimenting with home-canned foods. For him, they combine the sustainable treatment of vegetables, fruits, and animals. This is why he not only uses entire animals in his cooking – making him one of the first in the region to do this – and follows the seasonality of the ingredients, but also puts this approach into practice in his process of canning food.
“My goal is to preserve organic foods at the optimal time and seal them in jars in accordance with the highest hygienic standards,” says Wolfgang Mätzler, explaining a vision that he has never stopped pursuing.
After numerous experiments, at the beginning of 2020 he decided to make preserving foods his career and launched FAIRkocht. His food start-up now offers entire ready-to-eat meals – vegan, vegetarian, and with meat – in a jar as well as haute cuisine components for the amateur chef such as broths and base soups.
The recipes are developed by award-winning chef Wolfgang Mätzler himself; he is supported in the processing by Engelbert Kaufmann.
Kaufmann was Mätzler’s mentor and now provides his former apprentice with professional assistance. “Engelbert and I have the same passion and get along well. He works the same way I do: responsibly and calmly.” In Wolfgang Mätzler’s kitchen, there is a climate of concentrated cooperation: “A hectic atmosphere is the result of a lack of preparation,” says the Vorarlberger.
For this reason, he allows only trained chefs to assist him. Depending on the season, he is supported by Engelbert Kaufmann and one or two others.
Then everything happens very quickly: “I can vegetables, fruit, and meat the very day they are delivered.” Some 60 kilograms / 132 pounds of organic vegetables, for example, are then placed into jars with a black screw top and a chic label and await their destiny: putting Wolfgang Mätzler’s haute cuisine onto a plate.
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