December 16, 2011

Celebrated Viennese Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner Designs Menu for NEC’s Feast of Music, Feb. 25.

Chef Operates Four NY Restaurants, Author of New Cookbook: Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna

Annual Gala at Fairmont Copley Plaza Raises Funds for Scholarships, Pairs Music and Food

 “But isn’t Wiener schnitzel old hat? “If you buy a ticket to Lincoln Center, you will never see a classical musician who is playing Mozart being bored. He is proud of it!”  --Kurt Gutenbrunner

Acclaimed Austrian Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner of New York’s two Michelin-starred Wallsé, Café Kristall, Café Sabarsky in the Neue Gallerie, and Blaue Gans will design the extraordinary menu for New England Conservatory’s Viennese-themed Feast of Music, February 25, 2012 at the Fairmont Copley Plaza.

NEC’s top fundraising gala, Feast brings together 450 of the city’s most prominent business leaders, music lovers, and cultural philanthropists to benefit New England Conservatory’s General Scholarship Fund. Recognized as one of Boston’s top parties each year, the evening features a unique format of alternating courses of spectacular cuisine and fine wines, followed by virtuoso musical performances by our wonderful NEC students. The occasion raises more than $500,000 in scholarship support annually.

Chef Gutenbrunner, who is renowned for his updated Austrian classics and advocacy of fine Austrian wines, came to New York City after a successful early career spent in central European restaurants.  His highly regarded restaurants include:
• Wallsé: Two-Michelin starred in the West Village named after Gutenbrunner’s home town. Modern interpretation of classical Viennese cuisine. Gutenbrunner says his menu at Wallsé is “half Mozart, half Lou Reed.”
• Café Kristall located in the Swarovski Crystallized store in SoHo specializes in Viennese specialties, particularly pastry.
• Café Sabarsky in the Neue Gallerie on Museum Mile. Based on the fin de siecle kaffehaus, boasting authentic Viennese specialties and traditional pastries. The Cafe is outfitted with period objects, including lighting fixtures by Josef Hoffmann, furniture by Adolf Loos, and banquettes upholstered with a 1912 Otto Wagner fabric.
• Blaue Gans in Tribeca features traditional Austro-German cooking fare that pays homage to the traditional wholesome “wirtshaus” (German inn or hostel).

In addition to overseeing his four restaurants, Gutenbrunner is the author of the dazzling new cookbook Neue Cuisine: The Elegant Tastes of Vienna (Rizzoli),  in which he shares his favorite contemporary and traditional recipes and the cultural heritage that has inspired him. The beautifully illustrated volume showcases more than 100 recipes, featuring Viennese specialties such as apple strudel and Wiener Schnitzel, as well as modern dishes using fresh-from-the-market ingredients, such as pea soup with pineapple mint.  The book was recently selected to be included in New York Magazine’s holiday gift guide

Chef Gutenbrunner was also featured recently in the Bon Appetit blog. For more information on Chef Gutenbrunner, his restaurants, and the new cookbook, check out his website here.

To view a video about Chef Gutenbrunner and his dazzling Feast of Music menu, click here:


Kurt's passion for food has been a constant throughout his life. While growing up with garden-fresh cooking in a small village on the Danube River, he decided, at age 15, that he wanted to become a chef. He promptly enrolled in a professional hotel and restaurant school and obtained a degree in culinary arts two years later. At the age of 16, he apprenticed at the Relais et Chateau Richard Löwenherz in the Wachau region, where he developed an appreciation for the wine of that region. These wines are still featured in his restaurants today.

Kurt then journeyed to Switzerland to work at Crans Montan in the Wallis Valley before heading to Vienna to work with Chef Werner Matt at the Rotisserie Prinz Eugen. Under Chef Matt, who is frequently credited with developing modern Austrian cuisine, he helped earn the restaurant its first Michelin star.

Kurt moved on to Tantris, a Michelin three-star restaurant that is considered Munich’s finest. He later was recruited to work at the renowned restaurant Windows of the World’s Cellar in the Sky. He worked there for one year before joining David Bouley as part of the talented team that helped the restaurant upgrade their New York Times review from two to four stars. Kurt’s next position was in Germany as chef de cuisine at Bistro Terrine, a true French bistro that had been dismantled and reassembled in Munich by Tantris owner Fritz Eichbauer.

After three years at Bistro Terrine, Kurt found himself eager to expand his knowledge of exotic cuisine. He began working at Munich’s Mangostin, a contemporary Asian-influenced restaurant, where he supervised a staff of 25 Thai and Vietnamese cooks -- experts in the indigenous ingredients and techniques of Eastern cuisine. After six years in Germany, he returned to New York to become culinary director of David Bouley’s expanding enterprise. He was eventually named executive chef at Monkey Bar, where he became known for his inspired seafood dishes.

By venturing out on his own, Kurt was able to take all of his experiences and fuse them with his passion for Austrian food -- developing creative, yet authentic menus that showcase quality ingredients with an artistic flair. Kurt’s ideals have secured him a unique spot in New York’s culinary world where he is able to harmonize his two great loves, food and art, and for this he is forever grateful.


Recognized nationally and internationally as a leader among music schools, New England Conservatory in Boston, MA offers rigorous training in an intimate, nurturing community to 720 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral music students from around the world.  Its faculty of 225 boasts internationally esteemed artist-teachers and scholars.  Its alumni go on to fill orchestra chairs, concert hall stages, jazz clubs, recording studios, and arts management positions worldwide.  Nearly half of the Boston Symphony Orchestra is composed of NEC trained musicians and faculty.

The oldest independent school of music in the United States, NEC was founded in 1867 by Eben Tourjee. Its curriculum is remarkable for its wide range of styles and traditions.  On the college level, it features training in classical, jazz, contemporary improvisation, world and early music. Through its Preparatory School, School of Continuing Education, and Community Programs and Partnerships Program, it provides training and performance opportunities for children, pre-college students, adults, and seniors.  Through its outreach projects, it allows young musicians to engage with non-traditional audiences in schools, hospitals, and nursing homes—thereby bringing pleasure to new listeners and enlarging the universe for classical music, jazz, and contemporary improvisation.

NEC presents more than 900 free concerts each year, many of them in Jordan Hall, its world- renowned, century-old, beautifully restored concert hall.  These programs range from solo recitals to chamber music to orchestral programs to jazz, contemporary improvisation, and opera scenes.  Every year, NEC’s opera studies department also presents two fully staged opera productions at the Cutler Majestic Theatre or Paramount Theatre in Boston.

NEC is co-founder and educational partner of From the Top, a weekly radio program that celebrates outstanding young classical musicians from the entire country. With its broadcast home in Jordan Hall, the show is now carried by National Public Radio and is heard on 250 stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Ellen Pfeifer
Public Relations Manager
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115