Hans Haas & Sigi Schelling
In a restaurant in which the highest degree of perfection is the standard, each individual employee must not only meet this requirement. That person must live it. A person who has also mastered the art of focusing their full concentration on the well-being of their guests in moments of extreme stress has the perfect qualifications for this job. A person like Florian Kempinger, who took on the position of restaurant manager in Restaurant Ikarus at the age of 24.
In moments of stress and strain, concentrate on the well-being of the guests.
How did you become a professional sommelier?
My passion and love for the wonderful product wine.
Do you have a personal favourite wine or vintage?
I am a big fan of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Riesling. And, of course, I also appreciate the renowned vintages as well as the vintages from the year I was born.
Do you prefer to drink wine at home, or do you also drink a beer sometimes?
I prefer to drink wine, but I’ll also have a beer as an aperitif. There’s a lot happening on the craft beer scene at the moment.
What are the latest wine trends? Are there such things as trends in the wine sector?
The trend is towards biodynamic, 100% natural and organic wines. Rosé is particularly popular right now, in both the champagne and still wine sectors.
What’s your definition of the perfect dinner?
To me, the perfect dinner is a gathering of good friends, with good food and good wine. Or just having a nice dinner with my girlfriend in a cosy restaurant.
Which moments turn a work day into a success for you?
Receiving positive feedback from the guests and winning them as new regulars.
How did your passion become your profession?
With every new month in Restaurant Ikarus – I’ve become truly addicted.
In what ways do you think the beverage and wine sector has evolved over the past few years?
Wine has reached the entire world, and there is now a huge variety available. There’s also a lot happening in the alcohol-free market. In addition, the emphasis has meanwhile shifted more toward a product’s healthiness and origin.
Where do your motivation and curiosity come from with respect to your profession?
From good food and various wine trips. Besides, I am always on the lookout for the new and different.
What does "honest food" mean for you?
Honest or good food doesn’t need to be gourmet food.
If you could eat in any restaurant in the world which one would you choose?
The list is long! ;-)
What feeling do you wish to convey to your guests?
A visit to Restaurant Ikarus should be a very special experience for our guests, whether they come to us once a month or only once a year.
Is there one particular person who you would love to welcome to Restaurant Ikarus?
Donald Trump would certainly be amusing.
Your favourite winemaker?
I can’t name a favourite.
Could you imagine running your own vineyard?
If I had a little more know-how, I would love to do that.
How important is continued training in your opinion?
I think continuing the training process is very important. The Ikarus concept allows everyone to learn something every month.
How important is it to find the right beverage or the right wine for a particular meal?
The right beverage or wine can be the perfect complement to the chosen menu.
What are the criteria for selecting the right beverage for a guest chef’s exotic menu?
No matter if it is alcoholic or alcohol-free, a beverage with slight residual sweetness and less acid is the best choice to go with spicy food.
Will alcohol-free beverages ever replace wine as the accompanying beverage to a meal?
No, because wine is simply the perfect complement to food.
Which experience during your time at Restaurant Ikarus has been unforgettable?
We regularly organise evenings at Restaurant Ikarus in which we introduce noteworthy vineyards. That is definitely one of the highlights for me. Another highlight was the Ikarus Night in 2009, in which I was able to participate. (Note: The Ikarus Night was a gathering of the twelve most recent guest chefs on one evening. They jointly cooked a twelve-course meal, which was served to several hundred guests in Hangar-7.)
What are your personal goals?
To implement new ideas and to create positive surprises over and over again. To become better every day.
What do team spirit and a team concept mean to you?
The team is the heart and soul of every restaurant. Each individual’s personality contributes to the team’s success. High morale, cooperation and professionalism.
What makes you happy?
Spending time with my loved ones.
What would be your biggest dream?
To own a winery with a good restaurant.
What does life mean to you?
Enjoying every day, using your time wisely and making the best of everything.
Who has especially inspired you in your life?
A lot of people are a source of inspiration for me.
Are there any countries that you definitely want to visit someday?
Yes, quite a few! But I haven’t set a date for my round-the-world tour yet.
Do you have anything else to add in conclusion?
Every day is special for me, even after nine years at Restaurant Ikarus. It is wonderful to work in a team like this one, which embodies so much joy, fun and professionalism.
Do you have a favourite personal quote/ motto … ?
“Save water, drink champagne.”