Fast Facts

Susanne

With Prost Mahlzeit I created a platform that showcases food recipes, tips & tricks, wine pairings, pre-dinner drinks, wines, beers, ciders and digestives with a distinct Austrian-New Zealand focus. Insider tips for your next trip to Vienna/Austria will be updated on a regular basis and current news and events in New Zealand will feature as well.

I especially want to mention the section 1899 where I will share recipes from my grand-great mother’s cook book which is very special to me as it has been handed down to me on my wedding day and symbolises my culinary heritage.

And by the way, in case you are wondering what Prost Mahlzeit means:
Prost is a common toast in Austria where you clink glasses before you start drinking meaning “To your health”. Mahlzeit is a polite expression exchanged between people before starting to eat, wishing each other a good meal and healthy appetite.


The Beginning

My career in hospitality started with the enrolment at the International School for Hotel Management Modul, Vienna, Austria, where I graduated with a Diploma in Hospitality Management in 1986. During my studies I was always encouraged to put what I have learned into practice by working in the industry as much as possible. This resulted in stints at the Vienna Marriott Hotel and various catering companies giving me the opportunity to learn firsthand about the challenges and rewards that this industry has to offer.

After working in Restaurant Ofenloch a traditional Viennese restaurant for about 6 months I decided it was time to move on and start exploring other countries! First stop was Switzerland and the beginning of a 5 year work relationship with Moevenpick International, a Swiss hospitality group with hotels and restaurants all over the world combining innovative concepts and high quality customer service.

In 1992 I was given the opportunity to join a management program at the 5 star Moevenpick Grand Hotel in Frankfurt, Germany where I spent the next 2 ½ years. Working at the front desk, purchasing department and cost control, stewarding, conference sales and catering I gained excellent insights in the different departments and how they work together to provide great customer experiences. It was a great time with long hours but so much fun as well and the chance to help out in different Moevenpick Hotels around the country.

USA and back to Austria

While working in Germany I stumbled across an article in an industry magazine about an exchange program from the Karl Duesberg Society. It offered the chance to attend the Professional Development Summer Course at Cornell University, NY, the number one university worldwide when it comes to international hospitality, and a work visa for a year. I jumped at this chance and after the course started working at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel. Experiences and friends I made during this time remain for life.

After the year overseas I went back to Austria and started working for the WIGAST Group at the Wiener Rathauskeller a restaurant and banquet centre within the City Hall in the heart of Vienna. As the Assistant Managing Director I organised and supervised the operation and logistics for in-house functions and off site caterings for up to 2000 customers and ensured the smooth day to day City Hall event catering for the Lord Mayor’s Office. I was lucky to work at such an interesting place buzzing with functions all year round from business meetings to state balls, exhibitions and trade fairs, official occasions for foreign dignitaries to cultural and sport events.

3 years later I was being promoted to Managing Director of the Wiener Kursalon a restaurant and event centre in the beautiful City Park of Vienna and famous for hosting Johan Strauss concerts since 1876.

Spread My Wings

An exciting opportunity arose when I started as Manager In-Flight Product Planning with Austrian Airlines. Based at the head office in Vienna I was in charge for the development and implementation of the airline’s food & beverage concepts, entertainment programs and complex logistic workflows for national and international hubs. Working together with Austria’s highest decorated chefs to create business class menus was a definite highlight. From the first concept through the development stages, taking into account the special requirements for airline food, to the successful presentation of a new menu range the cooperation with the chefs was always interesting and a learning curve for both sides.

Since great food needs great wine to complete the enjoyable experience, the wine selection for Austrian Airlines has always played an important part. Organising and taking part in the annual blind tasting with a panel of well renowned wine critics expanded my wine knowledge. Discovering new emerging wineries and keeping up to date with the latest developments was an interesting and fun aspect of my responsibilities.

Travelling the world while organising and overseeing menu presentations from India to South Africa, Japan, USA and China was challenging and rewarding at the same time. I was able to implement my experience from working in different environments and added a great deal of new skills and experiences to not only my professional career but also personal life. After incredible tantalising and diverse 5 years it was once again time to face another challenge.

Tasmania

After travelling Australia for 4 months, my husband and I decided to take the big step and move to Hobart, Tasmania where we opened an Austrian Restaurant. What a learning curve this experience was! Operating a restaurant is a lot of hard work and an experience I would not want to miss. Taking care of staff recruitment and training, creating menus, daily specials and an annual culinary calendar, conducting cooking classes, organising cooking demonstrations at local fairs, liaising with local producers, coordinating in house functions, organising marketing activities, heaps of administration and paperwork and the list goes on and on.

In my little time off, I explored the natural beauties of Tasmania and became an avid bushwalker. I met a lot of interesting people and made very good friends and came to appreciate the rugged, remote and absolutely stunning Tasmanian wilderness as well as the excellent fresh and unique produce that sets Tasmania apart.

After graduating from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor in Business Administration Hospitality Management and gaining formal qualifications in Training & Assessment we decided after 7 years in Tasmania it was once more time for a move.

Across the Ditch

In 2010 we settled in Auckland and I started working at Alexandra Park where I was able to use my skills in a busy environment catering for a great range of functions from weddings to trade fairs, school balls and weekly race meetings attracting up to 1500 customers. As the Staff & Function Administrator I was responsible for the recruitment and training of casual staff, ensuring a consistent high level of customer service.

After all my travelling and professional background from very diverse environments I feel the time has come to start my own business in this great, multicultural city. My passion for cooking and providing high quality customer service combined with the inspirations , ideas and experience gained over the years provide me with the tools to start my hospitality consulting business Prost Mahlzeit.

Not only will you find food recipes ranging from my great grandmother’s cook book from 1899 to traditional Austrian dishes and contemporary creations but also information worth knowing about wine, beer, cider and spirits, matching food and wine, tips and tricks around the kitchen, cooking videos, interesting articles, news and events. In the future I will also offer cooking classes in collaboration with a local Austrian Restaurant and training for front of house staff. I hope you enjoy my site and follow me on facebook!

Let's get started - PROST MAHLZEIT
Susanne