Eckart Witzigmann

Eckart Witzigmann ( born July 4, 1941 in Hohenems, Vorarlberg), grew up in Bad Gastein, is an Austrian chef, restaurateur and cookbook author.

Funny man is known worldwide as one of the greatest living chefs. He established in the 1970s, the French nouvelle cuisine in Germany and developed them further. He has founded the new school of cooking in German-speaking, which will also carry ethical and sustainability criteria into account. Many of his former kitchen staff are a regular to the first guard of chefs. Funny man is therefore seen as one of the most influential chefs of the German-speaking countries.

His son Max Funny man is working as an author; his daughter Véronique Funny man, a trained make-up artist, is also active as an author and runs a company that deals with spreads, chutneys and other delicatessen.

Early years

His apprenticeship as a chef graduated Funny man in Hotel Straubinger at Ludwig Scheibenpflug in Bad Gastein ( 1957-1960 ). After he had to repeat the final examination ( by his own account due to being in love ), he held numerous positions in top kitchens in the world.

From Grand " Hotel Axelmannstein " in Bad Reichenhall, the " Castle Hotel Pontresina " in Pontresina, the " Petersberg Hotel " in King Winter in Bonn, the " Villars Palace " in Villars in Switzerland, the " Hotel National " in Davos and the "Grand Hotel Hof Ragaz "in Bad Ragaz migration led him to the brothers Häberlin in Illhäusern. Their " Auberge de l'Ill " was a turning point in his career as a chef, but it came with them on his first approach to his time in Germany still unknown " Nouvelle Cuisine".

Activities at Paul Bocuse, Roger Vergé, Paul Simon and brothers Michel and Pierre Troisgros followed. Other stations outside France were among other things the " Operakällaren " in Stockholm, the " Cafe Royal" in London, the "Villa Lorraine" in Brussels and the " Jockey Club" in Washington, USA.

Eckart Witzig 's rise in the German top restaurants began in 1971 as head chef at the restaurant Tantris Munich, for which he cooked up the first 1973 and 1974, the second Michelin star.


Second turning point in the life of cook's Witzig 's 1978 was the opening of its first own restaurants, the " Eggplant " at Munich Maximilian place. In November 1979 he was awarded for this as the first German chef ( and third cooking world outside France ) three stars in the Michelin Guide 1980. This award kept the restaurant until its closure in 1993. Spite of the culinary reputation and high utilization of eggplant Funny man remained with him failure of the great economic success, since at times 40 employees for a maximum of 45 guests worked.

A conviction for a two -year suspended sentence for cocaine possession in 1993 led to the withdrawal of his license for the restaurant. Alfons Beck took over the license for a year in which Witzigmann further in eggplant cooked before he sold it in 1994.

The Gault Millau awarded him the 1994 Award Chef of the Century, which has so far been otherwise awarded only to Paul Bocuse, Joël Robuchon and Frédy Girardet.

After the eggplant

The New York Times honored him with the title " Chef of Kings and Gods", not least because of the fact that he worked for numerous crowned heads, including Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Phillip, King Hassan of Morocco, King Harald of Norway, King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden and the Maharaja of Jaipur. Admirers of his culinary skills also include the President Gorbachev, George Bush and Valéry Giscard d' Estaing.

Since the object of the activity in eggplant Funny man -employed, among others, as a management consultant in the restaurant industry, cookbook author and head of cooking classes. He is also editor of Gourmet magazine aperitif. During his more than 40 cookbooks he has worked to some extent with other celebrity chefs and television cooks, about Alfred Biolek or Tim maltsters.

In previous through various cities on tour " Funny Man Palazzo ", the guests a multi-course dinner with shows and actors were offered and the host involved in an interactive theater piece, he hosted until 2006 approximately 150,000 guests. The follow-up project, the " Funny Man Roncalli Pagliacci " existed until 2008.

Funny man konzeptierte and advises the Ikarus Restaurant in Hangar-7 Salzburg Airport. In Icarus each month international chefs committed as guests.

In February 2007, Eckart Witzigmann was appointed Professor and Dr. honorary Swedish University of Örebro, the only state- catering university in Europe. At the local restaurant Academy in Grythyttan Funny man holds the title " Professeur de la Cuisine".

From 2007 to 2010 he was president of the German Academy for Culinary.


Students (selection)

  • Harald Wohlfahrt
  • Claus -Peter Lumpp
  • Hans Haas
  • Christian Jürgens
  • Michael Hoffmann
  • Alfons Beck
  • Johann Lafer
  • Erich Schwingshackl
  • Karl Ederer
  • Jörg Wörthersee
  • Patrik Jaros
  • Rainer Wolter


  • Funny Man & Friends: cooking for a small price - A ray of hope for every day! Munich, ISBN 978-3-937090-52-8.
  • Peter Schleicher & Eckart Witzigmann: alchemy of the kitchen. Mosaik Verlag, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-576-11563-3.