Ready for Prime Time
The brothers Wrenkh build on family and history.
Practically growing up in the kitchen of their parents’ pioneering vegetarian restaurant in the 1980s, the siblings Karl (31) and Leo (29) Wrenkh are no strangers to the world of gastronomy. The family ate vegetarian six days a week, and on their day off, like flexitarians avant la lettre, they caught up on protein. After their parents’ divorce, the restaurant was rented to others, but after these “dark ages,” the brothers got it back in 2009, starting a Kochsalon (cooking school) plus restaurant under the family name. Designed by renowned Austrian architect Gregor Eichinger, the characteristic amber wooden panels reach to the ceiling, and the rest of the remarkable interior was fortunately still intact.
While mom now runs a small vegetarian lunch spot on Rauhensteingasse and dad owns his own Kochsalon in Hamburg – both using the family name – the brothers are dreaming big. Besides the occasional consulting gig, like creating menus for cruise companies, the youthful and charming Leo and Karl are already occasional guests on Austrian television and are prepping themselves for their own cooking show. But for now, their base is in their successful restaurant and cooking school, where Leo, the creative mind, and Karl, the businessman, draw inspiration from traveling and history. As the latter says: “I like to read old recipes and speak to my grandparents to learn how dishes were traditionally prepared. Mostly, the historical way of cooking still gives the best results. While I was taught to make pörkölt, a Hungarian stew, without flour, I now know that with flour it actually tastes better.” Try it, before ORF calls!
Recipe Glück-salat (Lucky salad)
Karl: “The original meaning of the German word Glück is “made easily.” The Lucky Salad is the best selling dish on Wrenkh’s menu.
· 300g mixed salad
· 200g buckwheat (cooked al dente and cooled)
· 200g smoked firm tofu (diced)
· 150g freshly grated shepherd’s cheese or feta
· olive oil for frying
· 4 tbs apple cider vinegar
· 1 1⁄2 cups cold pressed rapeseed oil
· 2 tbs water
· 2 tbs Dijon mustard
· 2 tbs yeast flakes
1. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients in a large bowl, slowly adding the oil. It should become a milky emulsion.
2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Add buckwheat and roast until crispy, salt lightly. Then fry tofu until crispy. Keep warm.
3. Place the lettuce in a large bowl and toss with dressing. Arrange on plates, sprinkle with lukewarm buckwheat and tofu dices, and finally the grated cheese.
WRENKH Restaurant & Kochsalon
Bauernmarkt 10 – Wien
T: +43 1 533 1526
A slightly altered version of this article was published in Metropole – Vienna in English, September 2018 issue no. 30.