Holzer, who has a strong influence on the Austrian culinary industry, shared his love of Vietnamese cuisine, as well as his journalism experiences, on the occasion of Vietnam’s Journalism Day (June 21).
Almost every Austrian person I‘ve met knows who you are. They also said that if journalist Florian Holzer comes to a restaurant, that place must become crowded with diners, and vice versa.
Austrian people are quite conservative. They believe in professional morals. So that’s not strange when they trust the critiques of experts, professors, artists or journalists.
How did you come to know Vietnamese cuisine?
I know some Vietnamese people and they invited me to try some dishes they cooked. I think Vietnamese foods taste gentle and looks colorful.
In your opinion, what is the basic condition needed for a Vietnamese restaurant to succeed in Austria?
It’s the specialization in bussiness. Currently, Austrian people do not know much about Vietnamese cuisine. So Vietnamese restaurants have to serve dishes from the North, Central and South of Vietnam, but it’s still a neccessary to specialize in something.
Some Vietnamese restaurant owners in Austria told me that it’s hard to find a good chef.What do you think about this?
As I know, in Vietnamese cuisine, spices play an important role. So if your chefs cook dishes with all their hearts, I think Austrian peopel will be interested in them.
What’s your favorite Vietnamese dish?
Goi cuon tom (Vietnamese Soft Shrimp Rolls). Let me guess, it includes seven ingredients: shrimp, lettuce, cucumber, coriander, banana, rice paper and boiled meat.
One more thing, garlic chive leaves. Do you think restaurants need to change anything about this dish to adapt to Austrian tastes?
As a journalist, I have no right to say how to change the dish. I myself see it as being really delicious, although it looks quite rough but very Vietnamese.
What‘s your favorite international dish?
Japanese sushi. I once wanted to eat and went out for it even though it was 4 in the morning.
Why do you choose to write about cuisine?
At the age of 4, I was diagnosed with diabetes level 1. I had to be very careful in eating and drinking. My father was a culinary journalist of the Austria National Broadcasting Station. He always took me with him to restaurants. I was a trustworthy secretary for my father at a very young age and tried to write culinary pieces for local children’s newspapers. When I was 21, I officially started my culinary writing career with Falter Newspaper.
It’s not easy to find a person like you who has to be very careful about what they eat but has become a famous culinary writer.
I’m a lucky person. I’m very sensitive in distinguishing foods. Not everyone has that ability.
In your opinion, what makes a successful journalist?
First, you have to respect the person you’re interviewing. Journalists are usually egotistical. So am I. You have to be confident in the right time at the right place. Second, you have to work with honesty, diligence, enthusiasm and passion. And the third factor is that you have to adapt well with the working environment.
How is your job now?
I’m working for three Austrian newspapers and TV stations. I’m also attending a culinary movie titled “Sarah Wienner” and finishing eight cuisine books.
“Florian Holzer is one of the most famous culinary writers in Austria. His pieces seems to cover up some newspapers like Falter, Kurier, Courier and, nowadays, cuisine books,” journalist Harald Frohnwieser said of Holzer.”
“Holzer is the author of cuisine pieces on local as well as overseas cuisine for newspapers and magazines. He has judged around 1,500 restaurants and still loves the job,” said the Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2006.