Interview with the genius chef Konstantin Filippou
Portrait of Konstantin Filippou. Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer.
Konstantin Filippou, a brilliant, one-of-a-kind chef who has modernized fine dining in Vienna, has a style all of his own characterised by creativity, innovation, as well as passion for creating an excellent dining experience. The culinary creations served at Konstantin Filippou gourmet restaurant are modern, elaborate, intelligently designed, considered right down to the smallest detail, and made from the finest produce and ingredients. The minimalistic interior of the restaurant with its wooden floors and tables, straight lines and grey hues is a perfect match to showcase the sophisticated and delicate creations by Konstantin Filippou.
Named the Gault Millau´s Austrian Master Chef of the year 2016, in possession of a Michelin star and three Gault Millau caps, Konstantin Filippou opened his first eponymous restaurant in Vienna in 2013.
We are delighted to have had an opportunity to ask Konstantin Filippou about his professional life, passion for cooking and a newly opened wine bistro.
How did you decide to become a chef? Was there anything that you thought you wanted to do before you started cooking?
My parents always cooked when I was a child. Food and especially great quality food was always an important topic in our lives. So one day I decided I would like to know how to do it myself.
Where did you train to cook? How long have you been cooking professionally?
My years of apprenticeship I have spent in a small family-run place called “Unterhof” in Filzmoos, Salzburg. I started at the age of 15, so I am in the business for 20 years now.
What do you like most about cooking?
That I can work with the greatest products and try out whatever I feel like. Of course, in the end, it is the most rewarding part when our guests like the results on the plate and on their palate.
What are the most important things you learned from your working experience?
Always stay who you are. Know your limits, break them. And: without a great team, you are nothing in the kitchen.
«The key concept of Restaurant Konstantin Filippou is to offer fine dining in a very relaxed atmosphere, combined with great wines most of our guests have never tried before»
How would you describe your style of cooking? What is the special “Konstantin Filippou experience” that attracts so many customers?
My style is sort of avant-garde. People say I am usually ahead of my time with my cuisine.
Restaurant Konstantin Filippou Hauptraum (Main Dining room). Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer.
How is your cuisine influenced by Austrian and Mediterranean culinary traditions?
Usually, my plates are dominated by both the sea and the countryside. I love to combine my “two worlds” in each of my dishes. So you most likely find, for example, a seaurchin, black truffle and smocked egg yolk on one plate.
Do you have a «signature dish», or a favourite dish you enjoy cooking?
My signature dish is the cod brandade with saffron and char caviar.
Which dishes are must-tries when our international readers come to visit your restaurant? In your opinion, which dish on your menu best represents you as a chef?
Definitely the cod brandade (which has already been mentioned). The specialty of our restaurant is, that we only serve menus. So for me the composition of dishes is very important. Therefore, I do not want to recommend one single dish, really. It’s the composition of dishes that follow each other and tell the story of my kitchen.
«Usually, my plates are dominated by both the sea and the countryside. I love to combine my “two worlds” in each of my dishes»
There is a growing trend towards healthy eating almost everywhere. How does this trend affect your cuisine? Do you offer gluten-free dishes?
My cuisine is – in general – not very heavy since we are trying to avoid cooking with a lot of carbohydrates or stuffing components. Other than that, we are of course trying to meet the special needs of our guests and the easiest way to do so is to inform us upon their arrival at our restaurant.
Cod brandade. Char caviar. Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer.
What is the key concept behind your restaurant? What is the key concept behind your recently opened wine bistro “O boufés”?
The key concept of Restaurant Konstantin Filippou is to offer fine dining in a very relaxed atmosphere, combined with great wines most of our guests have never tried before.
The concept of our bistro O boufés is even more relaxed. Mediterranean inspired food on a-la-carte basis and a great selection of natural wines only.
Is there a secret for a successful restaurant?
Always be true to yourself in order to be true to others. I have never tried to act in ways that I am not. And I do the same with my kitchen: it’s real, it’s straight from the heart. I strongly believe that people can feel that when they visit our restaurants.
«Always be true to yourself in order to be true to others»
What inspires you to create new dishes, where do your ideas come from and what is the process behind it?
Everything can inspire me: a produce, new porcelain, a piece of art, a smell I have in my nose which reminds me of my childhood…everything is possible. Therefore, I always carry pen and paper with me…
Sweetbread. Egg yolk. Onion. Truffle. Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer.
Do you enjoy travelling? How does travelling inspire you? What are your favourite destinations?
I love to travel and I do whenever I find some free time! Usually, my wife organizes all the cultural spots, and I organize reservations in interesting restaurants. The most exciting part about travelling is to meet people and to find out about local specialties. I love Paris and many cities in Greece, the home of my father’s family.
What are the three words to describe Vienna? What are the most exciting places/experiences in Vienna that you would advise for our international readers to visit?
Oh, Vienna is love for me! It’s an exciting city that is so open and has – besides a great “old” culture – a very proud and fast moving “new” culture.
«The most exciting part about travelling is to meet people and to find out about local specialties»
How do you balance work and leisure? Is there a second passion or a hobby in your life besides cooking?
There’s not much time left besides cooking. In my spare free time I love to go to galleries and museums, I love classical music and am a passionate bike-rider.
What is your idea of happiness?
Great food, great drinks, great talks, great people.
Langostino. Cauliflower mushroom. Porcino. Chanterelle. Mushroom cream. Beef marrow. Photo Credit: Gerhard Wasserbauer.
We are very grateful to Konstantin and Manuela Filippou for the amazing and inspiring interview!
Those of our readers who have not yet experienced Konstantin Filippou’s fine cuisine should definitely visit the gourmet restaurant and the nearby wine bistro:
Dominikanerbastei 17, 1010 Wien