STEVE INSKEEP, host:
This weekend in Austria, the yearlong commemoration of Mozart's 250th birthday comes to a close. The celebrations included a festival put together by theater director Peter Sellars. Tucked into his month of new operas and avant-garde art installations was an unconventional look at the future of food. And that is reason enough for another installment of our series Hidden Kitchens. On the eve of Mozart's 251st birthday, the Kitchen Sisters take us to Vienna to Mozart's hidden kitchen and the tables of New Crowned Hope.
(Soundbite of music)
Unidentified Man #1: You have Mozart schnitzel here, you have Mozart sausages, Mozart coffee, Mozart orange juice. You have a cheese which is called Amadeus. Amadeus cake is Mozart cake, a Wolfgang cake. Chocolate balls - there's Mozart's balls. The name Mozart is as famous as Coca-Cola. It's a kind of image which sells. Yeah, Mozart sells.
Mr. PETER SELLARS (Director, Festival for New Crowned Hope): My name is Peter Sellars, and I'm the director of festival for New Crowned Hope. The city of Vienna invited me to make some big celebration for the 250th birthday of Mozart. I said, OK, as long as there's not one note of Mozart. Let's invite artist from all over the world inspired of Mozart and take the idea forward.
People wonder why for Mozart festival we're bringing farmers. I think one of the most important elements of culture is agriculture. And you cultivate human being through music, through knowledge, through food.
Mr. KURT PALM (Author, "Wolfgang is Fat and in Good Health"): My name is Kurt Palm and I wrote a book, "Wolfgang is Fat and in Good Health: Eating and drinking in Mozart's life and works." New Crowned Hope was this Freemason Lodge in Vienna. And Mozart was part of this lodge. When he came to Vienna, he was looking for people with the same ideas and he found them in the Freemason Lodge. The ideas of the French Revolution - people against the repression of artists, philosophers.
Ms. ALICE WATERS (Owner, Chez Panisse Restaurant): I'm Alice Waters, the owner of Chez Panisse Restaurant in Berkeley, California. We're calling this part of the festival the Tables of New Crowned Hope. I'm here in Vienna trying to bring people to the table in conversations - restaurateurs, farmers, chefs, people from all over Austria and international guest speakers - about school lunch, about sustainability.
(Soundbite of music)
Ms. JEANETTE ORREY: I'll be quite honest when I say I've never put Mozart and food together. My name is Jeanette Orrey. I came to Vienna to tell my story. I started as a dinner lady working in a school kitchen twenty years ago in Nottinghamshire. We were serving things like the Turkey Twizzler, chicken teddies(ph), cheesy (unintelligible). Everything came out of a packet. The cheapest foods that they could get - awful, awful things. And the one that did it for me was the pork hippo; supposedly a piece of pork, which probably you have never seen a pig in the shape of a hippo. The stench was dreadful. I said no, enough is enough.
I started sourcing local and organic produce for the children of our school. The kitchen is the heart, and I believe it should be the heart of every single school. The table is where children learn.
Unidentified Man #2: Mozart loved sturgeon, liver dumplings, capon, you know, the castrated cock.
(Soundbite of opera "Cosi Fan Tutte")
Unidentified Woman: (Singing in foreign language)
Unidentified Man #2: In "Cosi Fan Tutte," when Despina comes onstage, she has a glass with hot chocolate. Chocolate - it was only reserved to the aristocracy. That was a drink for Dorabella and Fiordiligi, her ladies. She's thinking about what it means and she says it's a scandal that she's not allowed to drink chocolate. She's so annoyed about her situation that she is for the first time will actually taste it, which means as a kind of protest against her ladies.
Ms. WATERS: We are in a 18th century game kitchen. Wood oven, fireplaces just for spit roasting. And working with ingredients that were just picked this morning - Brussels sprouts that have a little stripe of red in them, new crop walnuts, a huge mountain of cheese, a (unintelligible) at the farmers' market. Connect the restaurants that make a sustainable network that will work for them.
HANS (Farmer): My name is Hans. I come - I'm a organic farmer north of Vienna. I work for years with my parents, with chemicals and conventional farming. My girlfriend said to me, you will convert your farm on organic farming, then I'll marry you. Yeah, when you not convert, I married you not. I'm here to think about (unintelligible) cheese for a (unintelligible) relationship with kitchens, with consumer. Though I ca say, OK that's (unintelligible). Do you want? I have a new, very beautiful onion store with a sound machine with Mozart. I think fresh onions from the field (unintelligible) first ten days Mozart. It's very good for the quality.
(Soundbite of music)
Mr. STELLAR: In that last year of his life, Mozart composed a little cantata on the future of humanity. The name of this cantata was "New Crowned Hope." This group of people for whom what culture was was a place to cultivate vision. In this 21st century, Vienna leads Europe in organic farming. There are 600 hectares of organic planting within the city limits for New Crowned Hope here in Vienna.
The idea was to take what the city has accomplished to the next level. This is the generation that is looking for something else other than just a toxic schnitzel.
(Soundbite of opera)
Unidentified Man #3: (Singing) (Speaking foreign language)
INSKEEP: Performances from the New Crowned Hope Festival continue around the world for the next two years. The Kitchen Sisters have a book, by the way, called "Hidden Kitchens." You can find out about it and the recipe for Mozart's liver dumplings at npr.org.