We have pleasure in introducing our Chef Christian Fleiss...
I was born and brought up in Salzburg and from the very beginning it seems that my parents were aware that I showed a more than unusual interest in both the kitchen and in nature. I was often to be found at my mother's side as she prepared the puddings and it was she who once suggested, as I returned with my booty from a wonderful day's fishing at the lake, that having caught it by myself, I should deal with it by myself! From that moment I understood that my future lay in the world of gastronomy. So having started my apprenticeship at the age of 15, I moved on, in 1994, to Vienna and from there to the mountains of Vorarlberg. At this point, having grasped the major principles of Austrian cooking, I felt I wanted to widen my experience and so headed to Andalusia, the Costa del Sol and the Costa Blanca where I came to love mediterranean food. At the end of 2003 I decided to venture on to Italy where I was to encounter yet another style of cooking and a dazzling variety of local produce. Initially I settled in Perugia, working locally, whilst I grew accustomed to the Italian way of life and whilst tackling the language. In 2005, upon the re-opening of Ristorante "Carleni", in Amelia, I was delighted to be given the task of setting up and running the kitchen. In 2006, to my great satisfaction, the restaurant and my cooking were highlighted in the Guidebook "Umbria nel Piatto" as being amongst the best in the province. The same year I married and our first child was born - undoubtedly the most hectic, exhausting, but wonderful year of my life. From Northern Italy, which reminds me of my home, to the South where one senses the Arab influence, this country, for a creative chef, offers an incredible wealth of produce and seduces one irretrievably. Now, in 2007, with the help of young Francesco, I run my kitchen constantly seeking out and using the best and freshest products of the region, creating a menu based on the delights the seasons have to offer. My style is innovative, blending the flavours of the classical and traditional with modern influences. Along with the best gardeners I have succeeded in cultivating, and therefore adopting for my recipes, some of the commercially long abandoned varieties of vegetables together with some of most exciting new cultivars... all organically grown. I love pottering and drinking in the smell of the flowers and ripening vegetables in the garden that I have created at the restaurant - home to some twenty aromatic plants. It is this love of nature that you will see reflected in the dishes that we offer. Everything starts with the earth...
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