Women power: Chief Cook Kathrin Leitner
Kathrin Leitner has achieved something that not many people can achieve: At the age of only 27, she became chief cook of a 4-star superior hotel. This is not only extraordinary because of her age but because she asserts herself in a man’s world. Kathrin told me about her recipe for success during a visit to her kitchen.
In 2018 Kathrin became the Chef de Cuisine of the Krumers Alpin ****S – Your Mountain Oasis in Seefeld. 16 employees work under her. They come from all over the world. Just like the guests who want to be spoiled daily with culinary delights. Highest demands on Kathrin, who not only satisfies them, but exceeds them.
“I had to bite my way through and fight. It wasn’t always easy as a woman”,
she tells me as we are standing between steaming pots. The air is warm and full of wonderful scents.
“There’s only me and one more woman in the kitchen,” says Kathrin. “Otherwise there are only men.”
This is nothing unusual in the industry, but it has not made her path any easier. “As a woman, I have always had to be a little better than the men. This was already the case during my apprenticeship”. She could have given up, been frustrated. Instead, it made her more ambitious. She worked hard, did many extra shifts.
Her hard work paid off. In the Krumers Alpin ****S – Your Mountain Oasis the young Tyrolean is appreciated for her talent and her vision. As Chef de Cuisine she is responsible for the recipes and menus, the ingredients, the organisation of the kitchen and the management of the kitchen staff. Of course, she also still cooks. This is her greatest passion, which she would not want to give up despite the organisational tasks in the office.
Teamwork makes the dream work
Of course Kathrin has to stand her ground as boss in a team of 15 men and 1 woman. “Not only because I’m a woman, but also because of my age.” The fact that the team itself is still quite young helps. “My sous-chef is only 24.”
“We’re a team!” – Kathrin repeats this sentence again and again during our chat in the kitchen. “We only function together,” she explains. “If the dishwasher is sick and the dishes are no longer clean, I can’t cook anymore.” Again and again diligent employees pass us by and greet me friendly. “When we work, there is always a good, relaxed tone. We are concentrated and focused, that’s important!”
Kathrin began her apprenticeship at the age of 16. At the age of 23, she became Sous-Chef, at the age of 27 Chef de Cuisine. Her passion was born thanks to her parents, who loved to cook with her.
Work-life balance? Yes!
Kathrin also knows how to spend her free time well. She loves to run. It is her balance to clear her mind. The region is the ideal place for this: During her break or after work she can start her running laps directly from the hotel door. The hotel has a perfect location close to Seefeld and in the middle of nature, and not only the hotel guests benefit from that. Kathrin also likes to start her laps from her home in Scharnitz into the mountains of the Karwendel. “There are many very sporty people in our team,” says Kathrin. “Some go to the gym, others prefer cycling or running.”
In addition to running, Kathrin’s favourite activities include travelling and the search for inspiration. She and her partner, who also works at Krumers Alpin in a leading position, use the off season when the hotel is closed to travel to distant countries. “I’m always getting new ideas there, like recently in America, for example,” says the young boss. “You must never stop having new ideas and getting better!” That’s what drives her forward. Kathrin does not rest on the success of her career. She wants more, she can do more. An award, that would be her dream. With her tireless work, her talent, an ideal workplace and a great team behind her, this dream can one day come true. And one thing is certain: on her way there, Kathrin will make many people happy with her exceptionally good cuisine!
The kitchen pilosophy
“Alpine delights” is the kitchen philosophy at Krumers Alpin ****S – Your Mountain Oasis. Kathrin is grateful that her views go so well with those of the hotel. Fresh products, respect for nature and high-quality food from the region are part of the kitchen culture.
Great creations are made in Kathrin’s kitchen. The ingredients are seasonal and regional.
Kathrin’s tasty highlights:
- rich breakfast buffet with high-quality products & seasonal food from the region
- fresh fruit & healthy snacks during the day
- afternoon snack: hearty temptations & homemade cakes
- 5-course dinner of choice or buffet
Fotos: Florian Steiner, Kathrin Leitner