Bread soup, Pongau olives and Woodcutters’ Mush
The film “Lehrling der Zeit“ (Apprentice of Time) depicts how it feels to take one step at a time in a sheer hopeless era. It offers an educational, humorous and exciting view of the life of our ancestors in Pongau and the present day – in which regional food and their producers gain more and more importance.
During his “Walking Dinner“, Rudi Pichler cooks live and invites the audience to try his specialities. Thus the show kitchen in the film “Apprentice of Time“ serves as a stage. Visitors can expect a 4-course menu with carefully selected ingredients. Due to his journey through time in the film, the chef learns to appreciate the value of regional produce once more and interprets them afresh. You can taste the results for yourself.
At these events, first of all the film is shown, then Rudi Pichler invites the audience to a “Walking Dinner“, which is quite simple really: everyone gets a wooden board with the first course. Afterwards the empty bowls are exchanged for the next course. We were able to enjoy the following menu:
Bread soup | Rye bread from the wooden-burning oven with sour butter | Leaf bread
Wild herb salad with young venison | Pongau olives
Topinambur chips on topinambur cream
Festival roast with herb salad and spinach dumplings
We particularly enjoyed the “Leaf Bread” and the “Woodcutter’s Mush”. I’d like to share recipes with you. (you can find it beneath the article)
Rudi Pichler reports: “Thanks to my mental journey through time to the post-war period, I learned to appreciate the value of food once again and to prepare the products available at the time with today’s possibilities. Thus, long forgotten culinary methods influence me in the modern kitchen and I combine traditional roots with contemporary culinary skills. Regionality is the key focus. My motto is local produce from local producers.“
Apprentice of time – an exceptional journey through time
The hustle and bustle of everyday life and its fast pace got to head chef Rudi Pichler and he hankers after a precious life and above all tasty food. In the film “Apprentice of Time” he heads off an extraordinary journey through time.
Pongau 1945: The German Wehrmacht had just surrendered. The local population had to share the little available food with the soldiers heading homewards. The Windhager Family is hoping for the return of the father. For the mother of the family with five children, a piece of meat on Sunday, a loaf of bread per week plus a warm snug are very special things. This fate of the farming family is shared with many others. Nowadays these unbelievable life stories are things of history books and chronicles, the memories of which have already faded.
Two men from Pongau Simon Tasek (producer) and Rudi Pichler (top chef), highlight in this film the roots of our cultural identity, which are characterised by values more topical than ever: gratitude, appreciation, from just getting on with it and working together. The film also broaches the issue of handling of food, which at the time ensured survival and today count as delicacies of Austrian cuisine. The authentic scenes provide food for thought, but also put a smile on your face. Due to the experiences from the journey through time, food gains more importance for Rudi Pichler today. This he passes onto the guests at his “Walking Dinners“.
The film was shot in the resorts of Wagrain, Flachau, Pfarrwerfen and in Goldegger Seehof as well as in the film studio „Bronxx“ in Bergheim and in the Museum “Zum Pulvermacher“ (Powder Maker’s Museum) in Elsbethen.
Local produce from local producers
The lesson for Rudi Pichler from his journey through time is the increased appreciation of food, which back then was a source of survival for many very poor people. He interprets these partly forgotten products in a totally new way. Yet regionality is his prime focus. He purchases most of his ingredients from local producers, from his neighbours, as it were. And these special ingredients give the dishes, in combination with Rudi Pichler’s cooking skills, a very special taste.
Photo credits: Lehrling der Zeit