Landhaus Bacher, Chef of the Year 2009
Mautern / Wachau, Austria
Landhaus Bacher has been an Austrian institution for generations. It was Lisl Wagner-Bacher, the grande dame of Austrian cuisine, who elevated it to legend status. The restaurant won top awards, not least two Michelin stars, which lapsed in 2010 when the Guide ceased to rate chefs in Austria. Son-in-law Thomas Dorfer, who took over the baton from Lisl Bacher, was already head chef at the time. The Michelin withdrawal meant that this talented young chef was denied the international breakthrough he deserved. But Dorfer hung on in. Today he is the focal point of the Alpine culinary network and flies the flag for Austrian cuisine far beyond the country’s borders. Today the 41-year old native of the Carinthian region of Austria is without doubt one of the world’s greatest chefs. His cooking style is unique. Visitors to Landhaus Bacher will find the origins of Austrian cuisine coming through loud and clear in his dishes, along with elements of the style of Claus-Peter Lumpp, in whose team Dorfer earned his spurs. But Dorfer’s style – a confident and bold, yet casual and relaxed embodiment of the essence of modern Austrian cuisine – is very much his own. No frills, no razzamatazz. Just simple, honest and unforgettable food.