How one summer can turn into 5 years. And one season's guest into a head chef
Sebastian Daeche had already travelled quite a distance before – by his own admission – he felt drawn to lech for a season. And he was not the first person to instantly fall in love with the place. But we‘ll let our new chef de cuisine speak for himself.
We know what brought to you to the Arlberg – but what has kept you here for so long?
In short: the hotel. The kitchen team has the support of the boss, and we are able to expand culinarily, create new things for our guests …
Let‘s go back a few years. What made you decide to become a chef?
I was already interested in it as a child. Coming from Germany, I decided, among all the possibilities, to train at the Montafon in Austria – I just felt the training was better here. So I came here for the first time when I was 16.
How would you describe the philosophy behind the cuisine with which you pamper your guests at the Hotel Burg?
First of all, we try to cook as appropriate to the region. Without frills and fuss, and with great attention to the quality of the ingredients, we strive for the best every day.
Are there – or have there been – any role models for your cuisine?
As a young chef, surprisingly no. Today, I greatly appreciate the efforts of a number of my colleagues. First up, for instance, Simon Taxacher (head chef Rosengarten/Kitzbühel, awarded 4 toques by Gault Millau). His uncompromising dedication to quality never fails to impress me whenever I am able to dine there.
While we‘re on the subject: what is essential to a successful meal?
Of course, the quality has to be right. The price is of secondary importance. But it annoys me if it does not appear to be justified. And the service has to be right, including excellent support from the sommeliers. Then everything is set for an enjoyable evening …
And what does a head chef eat? Do you have any favourite dishes?
Generally, I like casseroles. A schnitzel is always a schnitzel, no matter how well prepared it is. But a casserole always reveals if the chef understands his craft. When supposedly ‘simple’ items like cheeks or a so-called ‘Schulterscherzl‘, a flat iron steak, become a delicacy.
With all your experience, what advice would you give a young chef who was just starting out?
As a chef, you‘ll often work weekends, possibly miss family occasions, so there will often be conflict. But at the same time, it‘s the best job on the planet. You can work anywhere in the world, are always meeting new people and never stop learning new things. Speaking for myself, I would never want to do anything else.
In closing – before you head back to the kitchen – a question on the subject of stress. How do you relax?
Sadly not with enough sports (laughs), but I do love getting out into the wonderful countryside of the Arlberg. Or just with a good book; that always brings me back down again …
Thank you for your time.
About the man: Sebastian Daeche has been responsible for the culinary well-being of our guests since this season. After spending some time on the high seas (on the legendary Queen Mary II and the Queen Elisabeth II of the Cunard Line), he held various positions in restaurants with a total of 15 toques and 3 Michelin stars. We are delighted to have him on-board.