Top chef Theresia Palmetzhofer is also actively involved in training young talent, in order to promote the future of gastronomy.

Top chef Theresia Palmetzhofer is also actively involved in training young talent, in order to promote the future of gastronomy.
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Pure excellency: The best female chefs in Austria

On the occasion of International Women's Day on March 8, Austria's outstanding female chefs, who enrich the country's gastronomy scene with their talent, creativity and passion, will be celebrated.

Theresia Palmetzhofer

Theresia Palmetzhofer is one of Austria's leading chefs and the driving force behind the Gasthaus zur Palme in Neuhofen an der Ybbs. With an impressive career that includes stints in renowned restaurants at home and abroad, she has established herself as one of the country's most creative and innovative chefs. Stops such as the AOC in Copenhagen and the Arzak in San Sebastian have broadened her culinary horizons. Her time as sous chef at Konstantin Filippou's two Michelin-starred restaurant, where she played a key role in shaping the kitchen line, was particularly formative.

Despite these international successes, Theresia Palmetzhofer remains true to her home country and her roots. In her restaurant, she mainly uses products from local producers and gives her cuisine a unique touch through her love of experimentation. With attention to detail and a special flair for quality, she creates dishes that delight both the palate and the soul. She learned to cook from her mother.

In addition to her culinary work, she is actively involved in training young talent to promote the future of gastronomy. The Gasthaus zur Palme is not only a place of enjoyment, but also a meeting place for people from different backgrounds to enjoy culinary experiences together. Theresia Palmetzhofer not only embodies outstanding culinary artistry, but also the combination of enjoyment and community in her region.

Johanna Maier

Johanna Maier is a legend among Austrian chefs, the first and so far only female chef to be awarded four toques by Gault-Millau and two stars by the Michelin Guide. Her career began modestly, with an apprenticeship as a cook and waiter in the sports hotel in her home town of Radstadt. However, she found her true calling in the kitchen and inspiring assistantships with renowned chefs such as Hans Haas in Munich and Jean-Georges Vongerichten in New York.

She met her husband Dietmar Maier at an apprenticeship competition and the two returned to his parents' business Gasthof Hubertus in Filzmoos after spending time abroad. There the tasks were divided up: Dietmar and his mother were responsible for the kitchen, while Johanna lovingly took care of the service and the guest rooms. Johanna later took over the management of the kitchen with heart and passion. Eventually, the family decided to sell the restaurant and hotel Hubertus, and Johanna devoted herself entirely to her cookery school and private dinners in small groups. Johanna Maier remains a role model for generations of chefs and a symbol of passion, perseverance and innovation in gastronomy.

Johanna Maier & Söhne.
Johanna Maier & Söhne.

Ethel Hoon

Ethel Hoon, a talented chef with roots in Singapore, already had a strong desire to become a chef as a child. She began her career with a bachelor's degree in restaurant and hotel management in New York, followed by studies at the renowned Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris. She gained valuable experience in restaurants in Singapore and the vibrant metropolis of Tokyo before finally taking over the management of the Klösterle restaurant in Zug together with Jakob Zeller in December 2019. These two chefs, with their diverse culinary experience and passion for regional ingredients, filled the pantry of the Klösterle with delicious creations inspired by the nature of the Austrian Alps.

Now they are taking the next step. With a view to the future and a new concept in tow, they plan to open their own restaurant in South Tyrol from 2025, inspired by their previous success in capturing the culinary richness of the Alps. Until then, Ethel and Jakob will be travelling through various cities as guest chefs and presenting their creative cuisine, adapted to regional foods and local culinary traditions, in pop-up restaurants.

Jakob Zeller und Ethel Hoon
© Mario Heller
Jakob Zeller und Ethel Hoon

Milena Broger

Milena Broger, who grew up in the picturesque Bregenzerwald, discovered her passion for cooking at an early age and courageously pursued her dreams. She honed her culinary skills during internships in Japan, Italy and Denmark, which had a lasting influence on her cooking. After running the kitchen at the Klösterle restaurant in Zug am Arlberg for four years, she is one of the youngest top chefs in the German-speaking world.

"Cooking is the activity I have chosen. She is the only one who always brings me back to myself," says Milena Broger. This passion and dedication is reflected in their cooking philosophy, which combines tradition and innovation. In the Weiss restaurant in Bregenz, which she runs together with her partner Erik Pedersen, she uses regional ingredients and creativity to conjure up dishes that not only satisfy, but also surprise and inspire. With a focus on regionality and sustainability, they constantly offer their guests new culinary experiences that reflect their love of the art of cooking.

Milena Broger.
© Ian Ehm
Milena Broger.

Elisabeth Grabmer

Elisabeth Grabmer, owner and head chef of the Waldschänke, taught herself to cook and now runs the gourmet restaurant in Grieskirchen together with her son Clemens. Her culinary journey began on a farm, where she helped out from an early age and was inspired by her mother-in-law, who ran the Waldschänke snack bar on her own. Originally from a service background, Grabmer unexpectedly found herself in the kitchen one day and discovered her true passion there.

With gratitude and humility for the recognition of her work, she uses her culinary skills to reinterpret traditional dishes. Her home and her family play a major role in her cooking, and the connection to regional cuisine is reflected in every one of her dishes.

Clara Aue

Clara Aue is the head chef at the Gralhof on Lake Weissensee and is characterised by her passion for cooking as well as her flexibility and creativity in menu design. She creates new menus every day, which she adapts according to the preferences of her guests and the seasonal conditions. Her versatility is demonstrated by the fact that she creates sophisticated dishes for couples as well as family-friendly menus for summer guests. Thanks to her sensitivity to the culinary preferences of her guests, Aue succeeds in offering each visitor an individual taste experience.

Clara Aue's kitchen philosophy is marked by her passion for the complete use of food and her love of regional cuisine. These values are also reflected in their commitment to sustainability, which ranges from using locally produced ingredients to using the whole animal.

Astrid Krainer

Astrid Krainer' s career path was not a straightforward story. With various ideas in her head, from sculptor to pharmacist, she was looking for something practical. However, the one common thread that has always run through her life is cooking, a passion she inherited from her grandmothers. But it was only during her training at the Westin Bellevue in Dresden that cooking became a passion for her. Inspired by a passionate fellow apprentice, she found her purpose in life and her vocation in the culinary world, shaped by stations such as the Walserhof and Eden Roc in Switzerland and the Landhaus Bacher in the Wachau.

Die einzige Köchin unter den Jeunes Restaurateurs: Astrid Krainer.
Die einzige Köchin unter den Jeunes Restaurateurs: Astrid Krainer.

Anna Haumer

Anna Haumer, Austria's youngest star chef, discovered her passion for cooking at an early age and has steadily developed her talent over the course of her impressive career. After gaining further culinary training in renowned restaurants such as the Landhaus Bacher and the IGNIV in Switzerland, she achieved her first Michelin star at the Blue Mustard in Vienna at the age of just 23.

But Anna's ambitions went beyond Michelin-starred cuisine. Together with her partner, she decided to start her own culinary project, the Kochnomaden, in which they organised sustainable, regional pop-up events. This adventure allowed her to combine her passion for cooking with her love of corporate culture and to actively advocate for positive change in the catering industry.

Anna Haumer und Valentin Gruber-Kalteis.
Anna Haumer und Valentin Gruber-Kalteis.

Agnes Karrasch

Agnes Karrasch, an aspiring chef, has made a name for herself with her unique career. From the legendary Steirereck in Vienna to the title of world champion chef and international star temples, she has made her way into the top culinary league as an exceptional chef. Her journey was accompanied by a camera team and captured in the documentary "She Chef", which was released in cinemas in May last year. The film gives an insight into her life's journey and questions traditional role models in gastronomy.

In »She Chef« geht es um die kulinarische Reise der Agnes Karrasch.
© CROSSING EUROPE Filmfestival Linz
In »She Chef« geht es um die kulinarische Reise der Agnes Karrasch.

Elisabeth Johan

Elisabeth Johan, a former office career aspirant, found her calling through a kitchen internship and is now one of the up-and-coming talents on the cooking scene. As Chef de Partie at the Restaurant Florian in the Parkhotel Graz, she not only demonstrates her culinary skills, but also her passion for the art of cooking. Thanks to her outstanding achievements, she became a member of Austria's national team of young chefs and won both silver and bronze at the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart.

Despite her initial disinterest in the cooking industry, Elisabeth Johan found her passion and proved her talents on the international stage, making countless contacts and gaining recognition. Their experiences and success motivate them to continue on their own path and encourage other young people to gain a foothold in the catering industry and realise their dreams.


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Hannah Speyer
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