The Kochklub Kuhn: The First Cooking Club of Vienna

Davia Nelson talks with Felix Muhrhofer at Kochklub Kuhn, his cooking club in Vienna.

Davia Nelson (left) of the Kitchen Sisters talks with Felix Muhrhofer at Kochklub Kuhn, his cooking club in Vienna. David Williamson hide caption

itoggle caption David Williamson

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Felix Muhrhofer's napkin dumpling i

Felix Muhrhofer's "Serviettenknodel," or napkin dumpling, displayed on a terrazzo counter made by his kitchen company, Cuka. See his recipe below. Bob Carrau hide caption

itoggle caption Bob Carrau
Felix Muhrhofer's napkin dumpling

Felix Muhrhofer's "Serviettenknodel," or napkin dumpling, displayed on a terrazzo counter made by his kitchen company, Cuka. See his recipe below.

Bob Carrau
An after-hours dinner menu at Kochklub Kuhn i

An after-hours dinner menu at Kochklub Kuhn that Felix and friends cooked for the chefs of Chez Panisse, while they all collaborated during the Tables of New Crowned Hope. Bob Carrau hide caption

itoggle caption Bob Carrau
An after-hours dinner menu at Kochklub Kuhn

An after-hours dinner menu at Kochklub Kuhn that Felix and friends cooked for the chefs of Chez Panisse, while they all collaborated during the Tables of New Crowned Hope.

Bob Carrau

Felix Muhrhofer, the 30-year-old founder of the Kochklub Kuhn, deserves a whole Hidden Kitchen episode himself. But since we have a story to tell about the festival, the food and Mozart, we can't fit him into our radio story. Here, we share a little bit about this young Viennese architect and his kitchen vision:

"We are planning to make a flea market where you exchange your television sets for cooking books." — Felix Muhrhofer, co-founder of Kochklub Kuhn, a cooking club in Vienna

"My name is Felix Muhrhofer. My friend Jacob Glatz and I founded the Kochklub Kuhn, probably the first cooking club in Vienna, one and a half years ago out of our ambition to cook in groups, not at home, and to make a kind of semi-public space.

"We are ambitious about cooking, and learning to cook from each other, and developing new cultural techniques by cooking. And so we founded this place together to meet, where we can cook together and exchange experiences.

"The club is named after Mr. Kuhn, a regional politician who founded the so-called folkskuchens, 'public kitchens,' which was an institutional place where you could go in and get a meal for 50 cents, just for what it costs.

"The cooking club is just a hobby. Nobody earns money here. We pay 17 euros each just to run this place. And as we get more members into the club who are interested, and we do things together, we get to know each other. It's not easy to develop a culture. To develop a culture, you can't sit down and write it on a paper. You have to live it. So we are always working here on it — how we want to live and cook together.

In our club, we have a social fund. We give 5 percent of the value of all the food we cook here into a pot for our social projects. The project we are developing at the moment is cooking for refugees. We noticed that most of the refugees in Vienna, or a major group of refugees, are from Africa. And when they come here and get Austrian food, they are very irritated physically and psychologically. So we want to give them a place where they can cook their traditional dishes for themselves. We support them by washing the dishes and buying the things, of course. But just to give a place... and probably we can learn some recipes from them. So we will make a night where people from Ghana can cook for people from Ghana. That kind of idea is what we are trying to do.

"This is a bit of philosophy of my kitchen." – Felix Muhrhofer, Cuka


We asked Felix for the recipe for his magnificent "napkin dumpling" and received this note from him.

Dear Sister,

I am delighted to receive a notice from your most secret kitchen. I am pleased to share with you the high cultural technique of preparing the "Serviettenknodel."

First, you need some [half-inch] cubes of dry white bread. It is common in our shops, but if you can't get it, slice some toast-bread and dry it slowly in the oven or in the sun. In a pan, you fry in butter some tiny sliced onions until they look like glass (not brown!!) and add at the end some tiny cut parsley.

Meanwhile, you mix milk with some eggs, add salt and pepper. Afterwards, you mix the onion mixture with the bread cubes, and then you pour the milk mixture over all. The consistency should not be too sticky but not even too dry. Let it rest for 20 minutes. (Don't mix too often.)

Finally, you make some napkins (the fabric on the picture) "Serviette" wet, put the substance in and close it. Cook in water for 30 minutes. Good luck, and sorry for my English.

Good night.
Felix

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