Gunther Kiem (1949-2007)

( words)

Gunther Kiem was born in Leoben on Jan. 8th 1949. After termination of his apprenticeship at the legendary “Steirerhof” in Graz and the Tourism Schools in Bad Gleichenberg he immediately switched to work at the InterContinental Hotel in Geneva to broaden his expert knowledge. But the opposite occurred: it was not him, who learned from the Frenchmen, it was they, who learned from him. And thus, amidst the French Culinary Elite, he earned his first award as a Saucier, with many more awards to follow. He worked at the InterContinental Hotel in London, on several Cruise Liners, as well as in Germany and Egypt. Gunther’s real kick-off started with the foundation of the “Austrian Crew” in 1981. Austrian hospitality and sociability was publicized unadulterated worldwide. With a team of renowned chefs, musicians and Austrian products he toured Dubai, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Seoul, London, Germany, Kuwait or Bangkok to promote “Austrian Weeks”. During this time he was regarded as a “Pop Star” and huge billboards screaming “Mr. Kiem is in town” provided evidence of his dealings. There are several anecdotes to be told of this time, e.g. his appearance before the Thai Royal Family or in the world-famous Chris Howland Show, where he prepared the world’s largest “Semmelknödel” (Bread Dumpling). His tours around the globe to promote the Austrian hospitality would most likely never have ended, if not the wine scandal and all its aftermath had gotten in the way. But as everything in this world, there’s also a second side of a story: after his engagement at the Sheraton Buenos Aires and his work as a Camp Manager in Libya he founded the “Rolling Pin”, a Hotel and Tourism Magazine with an international appointments section. It was developed with much time and effort and nowadays one can’t think of the tourism industry without mentioning the “Rolling Pin”. With this tool thousands, if not millions, of people were given the opportunity to implement their career in the national and international gastronomy. It was always his goal to create a network of a huge, worldwide “Gastro Family” to serve the guest. He supported chefs worldwide and provided the possibility of an international appearance. Despite all his achievements, Gunther always kept his feet on the ground. There is no place in this world where his face wasn’t recognized and where he wasn’t greeted with “Servus”. He certainly wasn’t easy to handle, but he had his heart at the right place. His wives and his children can tell you a thing or two about that, but security inside the family was always his utmost concern. As a boss or friend he also cared about the well-being of his fellow men, gave either financial or mental support – he was always there for everyone. Gottfried Kremser

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