Chef Peter Lammer On The Invention That Changed His Life

By Jenny Jefferies

1 month ago

A pioneering device allowed this chef to continue cooking after a motorbike accident

Austrian chef Peter Lammer, who owns traditional Salzburg eatery Restaurant Johnanneskeller, has an inspiring story. At the age of 44, he was involved in a life-threatening motorcycle accident, which prevented him from working – but the tragic event ended up being the start of an innovative new invention for the culinary world. His friend Bernhard Tichy built a special device which would enable Peter to continue his love of gastronomy and cook his favourite Austrian recipes in his professional kitchen. This device, which is called the Standing Ovation, has now become a landmark invention in the culinary industry, used by chefs with limited mobility across the globe.

5 Minutes With… Austrian Chef Peter Lammer

Your personal journey is an inspiration of dedication, recovery, friendship and the love of food. What is your main message to everyone reading this?

That every truth deserves to be tested and that success also means getting up just once more than falling down.

What is Standing Ovation and how is it a solution for chefs with limited mobility?

Standing Ovation is the only standing and working aid that relieves the strain on the legs while leaving both hands free. It’s not just a solution for chefs, but for any person who is tired of the strain and pain of sitting and standing all the time. The device relieves the entire body and reduces pain.

What inspires you?

There’s a big sign in my restaurant that says: ‘If this is the solution, I’d like the problem back.’ This inspires me to always look for the BEST solution, regardless of the situation.

What makes Austrian food unique?

The colourfulness of the cuisine in Austria is based on the kaiserlich und königlich (K&K history), in which many different countries had and have their influence. At around 1900, Austria was not a landlocked country but also had the port in Genoa, and from there the delicious fish and mussels came directly to Vienna! In short, we got a little something from all the countries of the K&K period – and that is unique.

How do you go about creating a new recipe for your restaurant? 

A new dish is created while shopping at the wholesale market – I love to cook things that you won’t find in any cookbook, and if you do, then unfortunately it doesn’t taste the way I imagine and taste it. It does my soul good to stroll through the market aisles and create something new with familiar ingredients. I like to cook simply and honestly with food that is grown locally and comes from our area, so we don’t have meat that comes from very far away by ship or aeroplane. The same applies to fish. We have plenty of fruit and vegetables from the farmer around the corner.

Peter Lammer

What does ‘Keller’ mean?

Keller is the word for cellar. Our restaurant is located in a 400-year-old cellar of the seminary in Salzburg. This cellar was built as a storage room for food and also housed the in-house butcher’s shop; there were no refrigerators. Up to 300 seminarians were trained in the seminary, and of course, they were hungry.

What does food mean to you?

For me, food is the measure of all things and it has to be celebrated. Whether it’s a four-course meal or a small snack after school for my children or grandchildren, it requires taste, health, time, beauty and, most importantly, togetherness. It is then when we really get chatting, everyone talks about their everyday life, their ideas, their plans.

Where does your love of food come from?

I come from a very simple background and as a small child I always admired my grandmother and how she could cook something out of nothing. With the simplest of means, she gave me a firework display for my palate, so to speak, and taught me that everything takes time and love, even if it’s just bread soup, even that can taste delicious!

What has been your favourite meal of all time?

For me, there is no favourite food, but I have many tasty and visually stunning meals in my memory. One of my favourite meals from my childhood was when my mother conjured up baked porcini mushrooms (a fake Wiener schnitzel, so to speak). I’ll never forget my first octopus from the wood-fired grill in the former Yugoslavia (Rovinj) or my first piece of lamb chop (also from the wood-fired grill) on the island of Crete. I have always been fascinated by the simplicity, honesty and the love of cooking from these chefs.