Welcome back friends, to another episode of festivalPass Stories podcast. This week, our host Pat Tully interviews the highly-acclaimed, chef Erwin Schrottner.
Chef Erwin grew up in Ligist, a small town in Austria, right outside of Graz. This is where he found his love for food and cooking. As a young boy in the southern part of central Europe, Erwin got acquainted with live stock, fruits, vegetables, and the importance of fresh food on his family’s farm. Just about every ingredient that they needed was grown on their farm; he even recalls the farm having beehives for fresh honey. When Erwin was 15, he decided to begin his journey towards becoming a chef. Starting out as an apprentice in kitchens, hotels, and restaurants, Erwin learned the ins and outs of the culinary business by starting from the bottom.
Fast forward to 1998, Erwin decided to take his talents to New York City after working on his craft in Germany and Switzerland. He started to make a name for himself in the states by playing major roles at high-end hotels and restaurants, not to mention some excellent connections that would continue to accelerate his culinary career. Eventually, Erwin and his business partner, Andrew Chase, would open a restaurant of their own, Cafe Katja. Cafe Katja specializes in traditional Austrian cooking with a great craft beer selection. If you are ever in New York City, you have to visit Cafe Katja and try their famous wiener schnitzel.
Chef Erwin isn’t just acknowledged for knowing his way around the kitchen, he also has a wealth of experience in the business side of restaurants. After the success of starting his own restaurant, Chef Erwin has been asked to help other businesses behind-the-scenes. Another impressive feat is that he was approached to do a cooking show, and after interviewing, the program ErwinCooks was born. In this show, chef Erwin takes us through the history of Central European cuisine, and the influence it’s had on American culture. Erwin cooks up some delicious, traditional Austrian comfort foods on ErwinCooks. The food and the show are so good that he won an Emmy!
The easiest way to put a smile on someone’s face is with good food. As much as we love entertainers and festivals, chefs can make live events just as enjoyable.
“What is so ‘in’ now, the organic farming; this was done hundreds of years ago because there was no mass production. All of it was organic farming. We just got away from it, but now we’re going back to it.” - Erwin Schrottner
Catch the interview on Festival Pass Stories!
You can find Chef Erwin on :
Cafe Katja’s Website- https://www.cafekatja.com/
ErwinCooks Website- https://www.erwincooks.com/ Cafe Katja’s
Erwin Schrottner’s Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/schrottner/
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