Saturday 24 January 2015
1 Michelin Star
When the offer came in January 2014 Martin gave up his previous job on an island in the South Pacific and headed to Austria where he was appointed Executive Chef of the Ikarus restaurant. “It was an opportunity to work with a unique team on perhaps the most interesting gastronomic idea in the world and the chance of a lifetime.” said Klein.
For the management team led by patron Eckart Witzigmann, it was the first and logical choice. Not only because the native-born Alsatian made a name for himself in international haute cuisine a long time ago, but also because he is familiar with the guest chef concept like no other. After all, Klein was Chef de Cuisine at Ikarus Restaurant for nine years from 2003 until 2012. Add to this his childhood in Alsace, his training at the School of Hotel Management in Strasbourg and his rapid development at some of the best restaurants in Germany.
Klein’s culinary philosophy is product-conscious and honest. He greatly values fresh ingredients and shortcuts in the kitchen are inadmissible. “The preparation of each individual dish should – and must – be difficult” according to Klein. Thus, he went from Commis to Chef de Partie within 18 months while at the Zum Ochsen restaurant in Karlsruhe and while at the Wielandshöhe in Stuttgart he became Sous Chef within two years.
His next position was at the Marstall in Munich, where he worked as Sous Chef alongside Christian Jürgens, who today is a three-star chef and later with Bernhard Diers. During this period, the Marstall was awarded two Michelin stars and this was reason enough to offer 26-year-old Klein the position of Chef de Cuisine after Diers’ departure. He showed his thanks by cooking his way to his first Michelin star before he received the first offer of Chef de Cuisine at the Restaurant Ikarus where he remained for nine years.
However, when the opportunity arose even the lure of five exclusive restaurants and bars on a private island in the South Pacific were not sufficient to prevent Klein returning to Salzburg.