koschina friends

The party of the year!

Koschina & Friends never disappoints, as the International Gourmet Festival 2013 drew to a close

And so that was it. The last night of the International Gourmet Festival 2013, and it certainly went with a bang.

In a complete break from tradition, the now iconic Koschina & Friends followed a very different format on Sunday evening. For the first time it wasn’t a sit-down dinner but rather a stand-up affair, with each guest chef – representing a whopping total of 25 Michelin stars – given their own cooking station placed throughout the winter garden, the terrace and the kitchen. Guests mingled in what was certainly a far more relaxed affair than in the past, lining up for their chosen dish and getting the unprecedented chance to speak with the chefs about their creations. On this truly unique evening, Vila Joya welcomed 13 of the world’s cooking legends who were in a true party spirit right from the start: Juan Amador (3 stars, Juan Amador), Enrico Cerea (3 stars, Da Vittorio), Andreas Caminada (3 stars, Schloss Schauenstein), Sven Elverfeld (3 stars, Aqua), Mario Lohninger (1 star, Lohninger), Thomas Dorfer (2 stars, Landhaus Bacher), Peter Knogl (2 stars, Cheval Blanc), Jacob Jan Boerma (2 stars, De Leest), Heinz Beck (3 stars, La Pergola), Hans Neuner (2 stars, Ocean), Peter Schachermayer (15 points in the Gault Millau guide) and of course Matteo Ferrantino and Dieter Koschina (2 stars, Vila Joya).

Music came courtesy of well-known local DJ China, and even the wines were presented in a very different way – displayed on a large central table with Vila Joya’s sommeliers extraordinaires Arnaud Vallet and Miguel Martins on hand to help guests, alongside dedicated bars dotted throughout.

There wasn’t a menu as such, but rather extraordinary individual dishes that guests enjoyed as and when – and sometimes doubling up on a particular favourite. From Elverfeld’s rice variety, Mimolette and Périgord truffle, Dorfer’s marinated char à la Ramsauer, Ferrantino’s codfish belly and caldeirada sauce, Amador’s Ora King salmon, and Knogl’s cucumber, escabeche and yoghurt, amongst all the other fabulous creations, two chefs that never fail to raise a smile were party host Koschina and the Ocean’s Hans Neuner. With their own Austrian corner in the prep area of the kitchen, Koschina presented the delectable Dom Pérignon nage, followed by a Gillardeau oyster and Imperial caviar, washed down with a glass of Dom Pérignon, whilst Neuner served spare ribs (cooked on the Big Green Egg), onion potato purée and cabbage sauce. The paired beverage? A cold beer.

Towards the end of the evening, the chefs got together to auction off their chef’s jackets, a last-minute idea of chef Elverfeld to raise money for the typhoon victims of the Philippines, which raised around €3,000.

True to its word, the Koschina & Friends event was a bona fide party, with impromptu prawns cooked on the terrace, copious amounts of Champagne and dancing until the early hours of the morning.