Vegan and vegetarian in Leutasch: Florian Feckl’s kitchen
Vegan in Tyrol? This might surprise you at first. But the holiday retreat aufatmen in Leutasch proves that these two things go well together. If you are looking for meat or any animal products on your plate, you will look in vain. Chef Florian Feckl cooks only vegetarian and vegan dishes. Skeptics and fans may let themselves be positively surprised in the restaurant and hotel aufatmen.
To be honest, the Tyrolean cuisine is known for everything but its vegetarian or even vegan dishes. So you can accuse Florian Feckl of a dash of courage when you hear about his bold plan to run a vegan and vegetarian kitchen in Leutasch. But that’s exactly what he came here for, together with his whole family. His goal: convincing people of his vision with enthusiasm and passion. That’s why I visited him in his kitchen. Was I convinced afterwards? Wait and see!
New ways of cooking
To my delight Florian invited me into his kitchen. I’m especially happy about that because I am curious about this visit. Vegan in Tyrol? Can this work? Florian told me what made him come to this plan.
The decision to do without meat didn’t come overnight, of course. Florian, who originally comes from near Stuttgart in Germany, completed “the classical cooking apprenticeship with meat, fish and everything else”. This was followed by several years in renowned top restaurants, including a star restaurant in Munich. There, meat landed en masse on the plates every day. Even though he wouldn’t want to miss this great experience, Florian realized for himself: “This is just too much!”
His wife Franziska was the driving force behind his discovery of vegetarian cuisine. Florian began to study it and chose his next job accordingly. In the restaurant Tian in Munich he cooked vegetarian food and took more courses and advanced training. After two years it was time for a new change. At just the right time he heard that the aufatmen was looking for a new cook. An appointment was quickly made and Florian and his wife travelled to Tyrol to meet with the family Pfeiffer in the hotel.
“My wife’s heart immediately started beating faster when she said we could move to Tyrol,” laughs Florian. He wasn’t disinclined either. It was immediately clear: Florian and the aufatmen, that fits like a pot to a lid!
Paradise right in front of the doorstep
Moving to their new home was not difficult for Florian and his family. “In the past, when I was on holiday in Tyrol, I felt a little overwhelmed and repressed by the mountains,” remembers Florian. “Today I feel strengthened by them.” He, his wife and little daughter now enjoy the nature to the maximum: Before work and on free days, they go on e-bike rides in the mountains of the Karwendel or walk along the river Isar. They are alerady looking forward to cross-country skiing and skiing in winter. “Nature and our time together in the mountains is precious for our little family!”
Let’s be honest – vegan in Tyrol? Of course!
Since May 2019, Florian has been a part of the hotel’s kitchen. Here he enjoys the full freedom to unfold his creativity. This allows him to create dishes that surprise. Florian always tries to come up with new creations. He is constantly working on new dishes – like so many other things in life, they sometimes work great, sometimes not so well. A vegan version of apricot dumplings, the favourite dish of many Tyroleans, turned out delicious, for example. “But I rather keep my hands off some other dishes,” Florian smiles and tells me about his unsuccessful attempts of making Kaspressknödl. “Some things don’t have to be copied”. He’s right about that, because there are simply too many recipes in his cooking repertoire that are heavenly good without being a copy.
“And how do the guests perceive the new menu?”, I want to know from Florian. “The feedback from the guests is really good,” he says happily. “Sometimes one or the other guest comes with questions or suggestions. I’m always open to constructive criticism.”
The guests in the restaurant can decide whether they like to eat vegetarian or vegan. Sometimes they are so surprised that they can hardly believe that a dish is really free of animal products. “We cook with honesty here”, explains Florian and enjoys telling guests more about his ingredients in the open kitchen. This creates an open atmosphere in the restaurant.
To my great delight, I also get to taste Florian’s creations. Without saying a word he places a cup filled with a white foam in front of me. It looks pretty – and smells even more delicious! “Guess what that is,” asks Florian with a mischievous grin. He probably already suspects that I won’t get it… But I won’t give up that easily! The light foam melts on my tongue, the taste is fresh and intense. The white colour confused me – Florian served me a tomato soup creation. If you now ask for my honest opinion, then I can only recommend you: Visit his kitchen and the restaurant aufatmen. Florian shows new ways into the future and proves how well you can eat vegan and vegetarian. Courageous, innovative and simply really good – that’s his kitchen. If you don’t believe it, you should reserve a table at the aufatmen and try it yourself!
The holiday retreat aufatmen is located in the middle of the beautiful Leutasch valley. There are 10 seats available for external guests in the restaurant every day. If you would like to try Florian Feckl’s cuisine, you can enjoy a 4-course menu or parts of it according to your taste. The aufatmen also offers yoga workshops and retreats for all those looking for peace, relaxation and well-being.
Fotos: aufatmen, Florian Steiner