Ever since Eckart Witzigmann became the award-winning “Chef of the Century” by the French restaurant guide “Gault Millau” in 1994, he has been considered to be one of the best chefs alive. This award had only been given to three previous chefs, before him: Paul Bocuse, Joel Robouchon and Fredi Girardet. The fact that such a high culinary award, which has not been given out since 1994, went to a non-French chef, shows the impact Eckart Witzigmann had made on the panel.
The Austrian Eckhart Witzigmann was born in 1941 in Hohenems and grew up in Bad Gastein. He was educated in the world’s best restaurants and his extraordinary talent was further promoted by the best chefs. Paul Bocuse, Paul Simon, Roger Vergè, the Troisgros brothers, but especially Paul Haeberlin who all detected his unique talent and supported him during his career. Apart from his long stays in France, Eckart Witzigmann acquired international experience at the most prestigious restaurants and hotels all over the world, like the “Operakällaren” in Stockholm, the “Cafe Royal” in London, the “Villa Lorraine” in Brussels and the “Jockey Club” in Washington D.C.
In total, Witzigmann spent 13 years abroad before he introduced the cuisine revolution to Germany, in 1971. The German public still distinguishes between a time before and a time since Witzigmann. In 1978 Witzigmann opened his own restaurant, the legendary “Aubergine” in Munich, which became the centre of the new German cuisine-wonder. Artists, kings and gourmets from all over the world made their way to Munich, especially to experience and enjoy the creative cuisine prepared by Eckart Witzigmann. In 1978 the “Aubergine” was the first restaurant ever to receive three Michelin-Stars, outside the borders of France. This award was given to Eckart Witzigmann annually until the restaurant’s closure in 1993.
Witzigmann decided to close at the peak of his career. “I realized, that at this stage I cannot improve my skills anymore”, he once said. “The mother of all chefs” – as his students refer to him – is now one of the most popular cook book authors of the last twenty years, and started an unprecedented career as a worldwide consultant and advisor.