I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A FOODIE.
From the tranquil village of Oetz, Roland Auer was drawn to the world. During his world travels and the many stations in his life, there was one constant: a passion for good food.
The best way to convince yourself of the food is to visit our restaurant. We wanted to learn more about Roland Auer as a person. Why it is important to discover the world, why it is important to come home again and why food is much more than just eating, he tells us in this interview. A sympathetic, interesting and self-critical conversation with our new chef.
Roland, you come from the tranquil town of Oetz. Has your home had a strong influence on you?
Where you come from is not really important. What counts is the person. Together with my three siblings, I grew up on my parents' farm. If my homeland has shaped me, it's because I learned early on to pitch in and understand how much work goes into some things. That helps me a lot in my work today.
How does this understanding help you at work?
A product is not just a product. There is a lot of work behind it. A lot of value. I expect the resulting high standards from myself, but also from others. Ingredients, for example. We source from local suppliers wherever possible, but quality always comes first for me. And knowing that our suppliers invest as much time and heart and soul in the production of these products as I do in the processing creates a very special appreciation for the product and our partners.
"I MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY WITH MY JOB. IT DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT."
How did you get into cooking in the first place?
I've always been a foodie. A very fussy child when it came to food. And if there was something I didn't like at home, I would sneak off to my grandparents' house. There we played cards with grandpa and grandma fulfilled my every food wish. Basically, that was my first experience with à la carte. (laughs). One of my very first stops took me to one of the best restaurants in the country. I learned how much you can perfect and improve things. How you can taste even the subtlest differences and train your palate. Food was always an experience. Never a means to an end, but always connected with wonderful memories. And today, with my profession, I can offer other people these experiences. I have become more and more aware of this over the years and it makes this profession the most beautiful in the world for me. With my profession I make people happy. It doesn't get any better than that.
When you say it became more and more clear to you, was it once not so clear?
From my training onwards, I only ever worked in international teams. At some point, the desire to get to know the world grew. When I was 23, I was the boss of 12 employees for the first time. In retrospect, that was much too early. After that job, I took the chance and went on my first big trip to Bali. After my return, I worked in different stations and even trained as a raft guide. Here I was again in an international environment, which made me want to see more of the world. It didn't take long before I was travelling again. This time through India and Southeast Asia. And that changed a lot.
"TO CREATE SUCH TASTE EXPERIENCES FROM THE SIMPLEST OF MEANS REQUIRES INCREDIBLE DEDICATION."
Has this journey had an impact on you as a person or your profession?
Both. Personally, through the experiences. Professionally, because I became even more aware of the value and importance of good food and the art of cooking. Food brings people together in all cultures. It is so much more than just food. And then there was this pride. I could see on the spot how people prepared the most delicious dishes from the simplest ingredients. Knowledge gained over generations is kept like a fire and passed on to the next generation. Not all curry is the same, not all rice is the same. There is an incredible variety of ideas and preparations and one learns to know and taste the finest differences. It takes incredible dedication to create such taste experiences from the simplest of means. This fascinated and inspired me and rekindled and strengthened my passion for cooking. I came back with many experiences that have helped me professionally and personally.
Does this mean that this trip has also changed you personally?
After the trip, I really wanted to keep learning. I wanted to experience new impressions. I regularly exchanged cookbooks for business books. I informed myself about bookkeeping, finances and employee management. I felt an enormous maturation process triggered by my impressions of the trip. I was now able to combine my practical experiences with theoretical ones, and in the stations that followed, I was able to get more and more enthusiastic about my profession. I have also grown in my dealings with staff. You need time, you have to take time for the concerns and at the same time create an atmosphere in which everyone can, may and wants to make their contribution. That's how you create the space in which you can then fully concentrate on the craft. I had the focus on cooking early on, but the atmosphere in the kitchen, the appreciation and also the cooperation with other departments is an equally important factor. And you also learn to appreciate the cohesion of the family. So it was clear that as a person I also wanted to be close to home again.
Was war der Grund für dich hier im Hotel Aurelio zu arbeiten?
Kreativität braucht Zeit. Und die habe ich hier. Durch die klare Aufteilung in Saison und Nebensaison kann ich alle Faktoren, die für mich wichtig sind, kombinieren und kann mich mit jedem einzelnen befassen. Ich kann regelmäßig die Akkus laden, neuen Ideen nachgehen und mich dann wieder in die Arbeit stürzen. Wir sind ein kleines, eingespieltes Team, man kennt sich, kann sich aufeinander verlassen. Man hat die Zeit Wissen weiterzugeben, Neues auszuprobieren und die persönlichen Stärken aller Mitarbeiter bestmöglich einzusetzen. Das alles kommt vor allem dem Gast zugute. Ich habe hier die Möglichkeit meine Philosophie so umsetzen zu können, wie ich es mir wünsche.
Was genau kann man sich unter deiner Philosophie vorstellen?
Purismus. Die Aromen und Geschmacksrichtungen der Zutaten sollen hervorgehoben werden und nicht durch zu viele Zutaten überdeckt werden. Dabei muss alles perfekt aufeinander abgestimmt sein. Purismus bedeutet die Reduzierung aller überflüssigen Zutaten und erfordert höchste Konzentration bei der Zubereitung. Das war schon immer meine Philosophie. Alles, was man macht, sollte man richtig machen. Nur Hingabe und Liebe, davon kann es nie genug geben. Und genau so arbeiten wir hier im Aurelio. Wir achten genau darauf, welche Zutaten wir kombinieren, wir stimmen alles miteinander ab, wir optimieren, wir perfektionieren jedes einzelne Gericht.
"WHEN YOU EAT, YOU GIVE YOURSELF THE MOST PRECIOUS GOOD OF ALL: TIME."
What would you recommend to our guests in the restaurant?
Enjoy! For me, that's the fundamental aspect of coming together over a meal. You laugh, you joke, you have great conversations, you give each other the most precious commodity of all: Time. And we contribute to this by putting a lot of time and dedication into our creations. With these, I would like to be the reason why every dinner in our restaurant is a unique experience.