Fred Sirieix travels to Austria’s capital, Vienna, in the company of food writer Rachel Khoo. Rachel’s grandma is Austrian, and visiting Vienna and eating here feels like coming home. Vienna has a famous reputation for its art and culture, but its food scene is often overlooked. Rachel wants to prove to Fred that Viennese cuisine is vibrant and exciting and deserves international recognition.
Rachel and Fred start their journey in the historic first district, home to world-renowned art galleries and museums and the epicentre of coffee house culture. Rachel wants Fred to experience a slice of Viennese history, so she takes him to the iconic Cafe Demel. Founded in 1786, it became one of the appointed confectioners to the imperial and royal court during the Habsburgs’ reign. Fred and Rachel go behind the scenes to join the team of pastry chefs tasked with producing over 30 different types of cakes and bakes 365 days a year. They help strudel master Laia make the fiendishly difficult apple strudel.
Next, Rachel takes Fred on the city’s atmospheric tram to the 4th district, home to Zur Herknerin, a hidden gem that is always booked up in advance. Rachel calls owner Steffi ‘the queen of dumplings’, as she makes traditional Austrian dumplings the old-fashioned way, just like Rachel’s grandma used to make.
Rachel wants Fred to experience the new wave of experimental cooking that is taking the city by storm. Konstantin Filipou is a trailblazing chef pioneering a new approach to Viennese cooking at his two-Michelin-starred restaurant. Eating here in the evening can be costly, so Rachel recommends the three-course business lunch, which is a fraction of the price.
Last but not least, Rachel wants Fred to experience her favourite cheap eat. For many Viennese, a night out wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of the city’s many sausage stands.