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WORK & LIFE
Tessa Mellinger

von Tessa Mellinger

September 19, 2019

WORK & LIFE

Leutasch eats vegan: Florian Feckl's creative cuisine

Vegan in Tyrol? That may first cause astonished looks. But the fact that these two things go together perfectly is proven by the vacation retreat "aufatmen" in Leutasch. Who looks here on the plate for meat or at all animal products, looks in vain. Chef Florian Feckl cooks namely exclusively vegetarian and vegan. Skeptics and fans may be positively surprised in the "aufatmen".

Admittedly, Tyrolean cuisine is known for anything but its vegetarian or even vegan dishes. So it's fair to accuse Florian Feckl of a little courage when you hear about his bold plan to run a vegan and vegetarian kitchen in Leutasch. But that's exactly why he moved here - with his family in tow. His goal: to convince people of his vision with enthusiasm and passion. That's why I paid him a visit in his kitchen. Was I convinced afterwards? Let me surprise you!

And then came one who did everything differently

To my delight, Florian has invited me into his kitchen. I am particularly pleased because I bring a very special curiosity with me on this visit. Vegan in Tyrol? Can that work? In conversation, Florian told me what brought him to this plan.

The decision to give up meat did not come overnight, of course. Florian, who originally comes from the Stuttgart area, completed "the classic cooking apprenticeship, with meat, fish and all the trimmings." This was followed by several years in renowned top restaurants, including a starred restaurant in Munich. There, meat en masse landed on the plates every day. Although he wouldn't want to miss the great experience, Florian realized for himself: "It's all just too much!"

His wife Franziska was then the driving factor for him to discover vegetarian cuisine more and more. At her request, he engaged in it and thus also chose his next job. In the restaurant Tian in Munich, he cooked vegetarian food and also took courses and advanced training. After two years, it was time for a new change. Just at the right time, he heard that "das Aufatmen" was looking for a new chef. An appointment was quickly made and Florian and his wife traveled to Tyrol to meet with the Pfeiffer family of hoteliers."

My wife's heart immediately leapt when they said we could move to Tyrol!" laughs Florian. He was not averse to the idea either. When we first met, it was immediately clear: Florian and the Aufatmen fit like a glove!

Paradise on the doorstep

The move to their new home was not difficult for Florian and his family. "In the past, when I was on vacation in Tyrol, I felt a little depressed by the mountains," Florian recalls. "Today, I feel strengthened by them." He, his wife and young daughter now enjoy them to the fullest: Before work and on days off, they ride their e-bikes in the Karwendel or go for walks along the Isar meadows. In winter, they are already looking forward to cross-country skiing and skiing. "Nature and our time together in the mountains is precious for our little family!"

Naturhotel 'aufatmen' - Chef Florian Feckl

Now really - vegan in Tyrol? Of course!

Florian has been a permanent part of the hotel's kitchen since May 2019. He enjoys full freedom here to develop his creativity. This is how dishes that surprise are created. Florian strives to always conjure up something new on the table. He is constantly creating new dishes - as with so many things in life, sometimes they work great, sometimes not so great. Marillenknödl, the favorite dish of many Tyroleans, for example, have worked out perfectly for him as a vegan version. "I prefer to keep my hands off other dishes," says Florian, telling me with a smile about failed attempts at Kaspressknödl. "Some things you don't have to imitate". He's right about that, because there are just too many recipes in his cooking repertoire that are heavenly good without being a copy.

"And how are the guests taking to the new menu?" I ask Florian curiously as we talk. "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 happy to receive constructive criticism."

Guests at aufatmen can decide whether they want 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 honestly here!" explains Florian, who is happy to tell guests more about his ingredients in the open kitchen. This makes for an open atmosphere in the restaurant.

To my great delight, I also get to taste Florian's creations. Wordlessly, he puts a cup filled with a white foam in front of me. It looks pretty - and smells even more delicious! "Guess what this is," Florian asks with a mischievous grin. He probably already suspects that I won't guess... But I'm not giving up that easily! The gossamer foam melts on my tongue, the taste is fresh and intense. The white color has confused me - a tomato soup creation Florian has served me. If you now ask for my honest opinion, then I can only recommend: Pay a visit to aufatmen! Florian shows new ways into the future and proves how well you can eat vegan and vegetarian. Courageous, progressive and just really good - that's his cuisine. If you don't believe it, you should book a table at aufatmen right away and start the self-experiment!

The vacation retreat aufatmen is located in the middle of the beautiful Leutasch valley. In the restaurant 10 seats are available daily for reservation for external guests. Those who want to try Florian Feckl's cuisine can enjoy a 4-course menu or parts of it according to taste. And for those seeking peace and relaxation, the yoga workshops and retreats are just the thing.

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