Chef Eduard Frauneder & Chef Wolfgang Ban

Contributed by Sarah Schneider

The Tig Archives 08 / 27 / 2014

The kind of food that transports you to the streets of Vienna, where you have a beautiful schnitzel, crisp and moist, and find yourself capping off the day with a strudel from Demel…

It was the lobby of The Bowery Hotel in New York – the playground for late night jaunts and boisterous conversation over Moscow mules and polenta fries. I remember it like it was yesterday because I had never been surrounded by so many people raving about something with such conviction. “You have to go to Edi & The Wolf!” “You haven’t been to Edi & The Wolf?” “I have a contact and can try to get you a table at Edi & The Wolf – everyone is trying to get in.” Edi & the Wolf. It sounded like a band, or the Grimm’s Fairy Tale that somehow never got on the Zeitgeist and was now being praised by Lower East Side hipsters and foodies as a modern day bedtime story. But it wasn’t a fable. Rather Edi & The Wolf was the brainchild of Eduard Frauneder and Wolfgang Ban, the Michelin-starred executive chefs & owners. Now their claim to fame includes more than this Lower East Side Austrian tavern. The Third Man, in East Village, offers a one two punch of chef driven cocktails and Austrian nibbles in a cool Viennese-inspired setting. And then there’s Seäsonal, their Michelin-starred fine dining institution that is a premiere foodie destination in NYC, offering a refined and modern approach to their soulful cuisine. The kind of food that transports you to the streets of Vienna, where you have a beautiful schnitzel, crisp and moist, and find yourself capping off the day with a strudel from Demel. Or maybe that’s just me…

Here is The TIG Chef Talk with both Eduard and Wolfgang, Sirs Edi & Wolf respectively:

Edi

  1. What’s the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?

    Although we save this one for special occasions, hands down my favorite staff meal would be a Whole Roasted Duck dinner. We’ll typically cook the duck with apples, oranges, chestnuts and prunes, and once the skin is perfectly crisped, serve it with pretzel brioche, braised red cabbage and some marjoram jus. Throw in a big plate of spatzle and you’ve got one happy family.

  2. What is the one knife you can’t live without?

    Togiharu Wa – Chef Knife from Tsukiji Fish market in Japan, it’s an all rounder and its natural wood handle is just the perfect grip. The most interesting aspect of all Japanese chef knives is that they are fashioned by techniques that were originally developed for making katana (samurai swords) over 1000 years ago.

  3. What’s your naughty food indulgence?

    Roasted pork knuckle which normally feeds two people (I can polish it off solo), ideally served with caraway jus, red wine braised red cabbage and spaetzle. A classic dish at Zum Schneider on Ave C, our buddies across the street from Edi & the Wolf.

  4. What’s your mini bar go to?

    I love to go American in a mini bar, a Budweiser and a Makers Mark.

  5. If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?

    Masa would be my choice, it is out of my comfort zone so there is lots to learn and new technique to absorb. It is also the array of ingredients which is very different from the more westernized cuisines of NYC. Also the Japanese dedication to quality and consistency would make working there very appealing!

  6. After a long day at work you go home and…?

    Have a beer on my fire escape. I live around the corner from the restaurant, Edi & the Wolf, so it’s a great place to unwind without having to go too far.

  7. If you weren’t working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?

    Kitesurfing, reading, running along the East River (to get in shape for kite surfing!)

  8. Drink of choice?

    Good glass of Austrian wine, full Grüner Veltliner from the Wachau or a nuclear red blend from Burgenland.

  9. One cookbook you can’t live without/most referenced?

    Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking by Nathan Myhrvold, just the sheer volume and information gathered in this piece of art is breathtaking, I am also a visualist so its pleasing in many ways.

  10. What’s the most overrated ingredient?

    Truffles. It’s wiser to splurge on whatever wild mushroom you can find in its prime; you can die happily without joining the truffle club.

  11. Describe your cooking in one word:

    Playful.

Wolfgang

  1. What’s the staff meal your kitchen gets most excited about?

    I would have to say Kalbsbutter Schnitzel. We take lightly fried veal meatball patties and serve in a cream sauce with mashed potatoes. It’s a rustic and hearty plate that fuels the staff before a long shift. Although both of our restaurants are known for the signature Wiener Schnitzel, this schnitzel variety is a personal favorite.

  2. What is the one knife you can’t live without?

    Togiharu Wa – My Japanese chef and sashimi knives. There is nothing more important to a chef that a sharp knife.

  3. What’s your naughty food indulgence?

    Ice cream. Occasionally I’ll break down and go for the Ben & Jerry’s Late Night Snack. I love the contrast of sweet vanilla and salty potato chips. Guess I should thank Jimmy Fallon for that one!

  4. What’s your mini bar go to?

    Bourbon or scotch. Those are my regular bar go-to’s as well, if the place doesn’t serve good wine.

  5. If you could stage at any restaurant in your city, where would it be and why?

    Sugiyama. A small Japanese restaurant, where Chef Sugiyama cooks everything himself. He has dedicated many years to his profession. I love to eat there on the counter and watch him.

  6. After a long day at work you go home and…?

    Enjoy a good glass of Grüner or Riesling. After serving nice wine for most of the evening, your ready for a glass yourself.

  7. If you weren’t working in a kitchen, what would you be doing?

    Working in the wine industry or in organic agriculture. I grew up on my grandfather’s vineyards in Austria so it’s in my blood. It might still happen…

  8. Drink of choice?

    Most Austrian wines are good by me.

  9. One cookbook you can’t live without/most referenced?

    The Escoffier Cookbook and Guide to the Fine Art of Cookery. There’s a lot to be learned from French cuisine; at our restaurants we definitely utilize some of these techniques with Austrian flavors and ingredients.

  10. What’s the most overrated ingredient?

    Truffle oil. There are many other (better) ways to bring earthy flavors into a dish.

  11. Describe your cooking in one word:

    Tasty.

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