Johann Lafer

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Johann Lafer, 2012

Johann Lafer (born September 27, 1957 in St. Stefan im Rosental , Styria ) is an Austrian chef , television chef , entrepreneur and non-fiction author . Lafer is especially popular with a wide audience through cooking programs such as Himmel un Erd , Enjoyment in good German or Lafer! Lights! Delicious! and his numerous cookbooks.

Career and professional commitment

Johann Lafer caricatured by Michael Apitz

Lafer, son of a farming family, completed his apprenticeship as a chef between 1973 and 1976 in the Gösser-Bräu brewery restaurant in Graz . After passing the final exam with distinction, he completed military service in the Austrian armed forces . His first engagement in Germany took him to the Schweizer Hof Hotel in Berlin in 1977 . From 1979 he worked in Josef Viehhauser's restaurant Le Canard in Hamburg . He proved his baking skills as head pastry chef at the Hotel Schweizer Stuben in Wertheim . His culinary career he set in 1981 in Munich restaurant Aubergine of Eckart Witzigmann continued. He took over the post of head pastry chef and wrote several books with Witzigmann.

From 1982 he worked for the Parisian pâtissier and boulanger Gaston Lenôtre . In May 1983 he succeeded a French colleague as head chef in the restaurant Le Val d'Or of his future wife Silvia Buchholz in Guldental , whose kitchen had already been awarded a Michelin star . Lafer was able to raise the culinary quality of the restaurant even further, even before he took over the overall management of Le Val d'Or in 1988, a second star was awarded by the Michelin guide. When the heritable building rights for the nearby Stromburg in the Hunsrück town of Stromberg , where a rustic excursion restaurant had previously been operated, was reassigned in 1994, the Lafer couple took over the castle. After unexpectedly extensive renovation and renovation measures, which could ultimately only be financed by a guarantee from the State of Rhineland-Palatinate , the Le Val d'Or restaurant was relocated from Guldental to the Stromburg in December 1994.

At the same time as the Le Val d'Or restaurant, the rustic Turmstube as a second restaurant and the elegant Stromburg Hotel were opened on the Stromburg . In the nearby Guldental he set up a cooking school called Table d'Or in the rooms of the former Le Val d'Or. His television and photo studio is located in the same building, in which, in addition to productions for external clients, Lafer's own cookery programs are shot and produced. At the end of 2009, Le Val d'Or was stripped of its second star. The Val d'Or to shut Lafer in February 2019 after restructuring with a changed concept under the name of John Kitchen to start over. He wanted to do without a Michelin star. Nevertheless, the Michelin Guide awarded the restaurant another star in 2019.

Since 2011, Lafer has been committed to healthy and sustainable school catering in the food @ ucation project as the operator of the school canteen in the Gymnasium am Römerkastell, Bad Kreuznach . The project is scientifically supported by the Fulda University of Applied Sciences as part of a grant from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research ; Since the winter semester 2009/2010, Lafer has also been a lecturer at the University of Fulda in the field of nutritional science .

Via the Internet and also the food retail Johann Lafer also sells under his own name as a brand name delicatessen products such as salts , oils and funds , which he partly developed himself. In 2009, the Johann Lafers company achieved a total turnover of around 10 million euros with around 80 employees.

In May 2019 Johann Lafer announced that he was leaving the Stromburg and that his business partners would continue to operate it in the future. Among other things, he wants to expand his cooking school in Guldental.

Appearances in the media

watch TV

Johann Lafer appeared for the first time as a TV chef after taking over kitchen management at Le Val d'Or. This took place on July 28, 1984, when he was preparing a raspberry charlotte on the Südwestfunk broadcast Glaskasten . As a result, he was present in various programs. Between 1993 and 2006 he was the presenter of the Happy Vineyard alongside Ulrike Neradt . He also regularly prepared cooks in the show Lanz! an audience with other TV chefs five-course menus to. The broadcast was discontinued on December 28, 2012. On November 30, 2006, SWR started his cooking show L for Lafer , the follow-up to the series Himmel un Erd , which was discontinued after ten years .

From December 2006 to March 2017 he was on ZDF in the cooking show Lafer! Lights! Delicious! to see, in which he cooked together with Horst Lichter and two celebrities each. On 8 November 2007 Lafer occurred in the VOX telecast The Kocharena against five winners from the cooking show The Perfect Dinner and won in 3 out of 5 courses. Since 2008 he has chaired alternately with other TV chefs the ZDF telecast The kitchen battle .

In September and October 2014, ZDF showed the 35-part baking show of Germany's best bakers with Lafer as the main judge in the weekday afternoon program . This is an adaptation of the British format Britain's Best Bakery produced by Endemol Shine Germany . In autumn 2015, a second season of the show was shown, followed by an 18-part Christmas special in which an attempt is made to determine Germany's best Christmas bakers.


The radio station SWR3 organizes an "interactive barbecue party" at irregular intervals together with Johann Lafer. A prominent personality is invited to each of these and is allowed to help with the barbecue. The audience can preview the ingredients and preparation list on the radio station's website and invite themselves to (according to the station's own statement) the largest interactive barbecue party and grill in front of the radio. The program has always been hosted by Kristian Thees . Prominent co-grillers were Barbara Schöneberger and Andreas Müller on May 16, 2007 , Lucy Diakovska on May 1, 2008 , Simone Thomalla on May 1, 2009 Sven Ottke , on December 4, 2009 Matthias Steiner and Inge Posmyk , on May 13, 2010 Jürgen Drews , on May 1, 2011 Reiner Calmund , on April 8, 2012 Mirja Boes and on October 3, 2012 Maite Kelly . On May 1st, 2013 Sonya Kraus supported the executing Lafer.

Heli Gourmet

In addition to cooking, Lafer also devotes himself to flying with helicopters . In 2002 he passed the exam as a helicopter pilot and founded Johann Lafer Heli Gourmet GmbH & Co. KG . The company offers flights over the Rhine Valley, after which a gourmet menu is served.

Private life

Lafer has been married to the hotel manager Silvia Buchholz-Lafer since 1990 ; they have a daughter and a son.


  • 1980: Best pâtissier in Germany, award for his production method and presentation of desserts.
  • 1987: Best master chef examination in Rhineland-Palatinate with summa cum laude . Johann Lafer was awarded two stars by the Michelin Guide for his achievements and his restaurant; he received 18 points in Gault-Millau .
  • 1994: Lafer received the “Diners Club” service award.
  • 1995: Guldentaler in gold
  • 1997: Lafer was named Chef of the Year by Gault Millau . Together with the team from the Fröhlicher Weinberg program, he was awarded the Neumagen-Dhron community wine prize for promoting steep-slope viticulture on the Moselle .
  • 1998: Gold Medal of Honor of the Province of Styria for special services to the good of the country.
  • 1999: The German Gastronomic Academy awarded him the gold medal for the book Desserts That Accompany My Life and the silver medal for the book Johann Lafers Kochschule .
  • 2001: Honorary trophy Trophée Gourmet Vienna for special culinary merits
  • 2004: Presentation of the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy for Hospitality and Science , appointment as ambassador of Styria
  • 2005: Awarded the Golden Decoration of Honor of the State of Styria . The Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne Association named Lafer Chevallier . He received the first Ecole des Chefs Trophy from Relais et Châteaux for particularly outstanding cooking courses.
  • 2006: Lafer was voted TV Chef of the Year .
  • 2007: Lafer was awarded the Great Josef Krainer Prize , one of the most important honors in Styria, for his services to Styria .
  • 2007: Negative price Saure Gurke for a particularly misogynistic TV report (together with Horst Lichter for Lafer! Lichter! Lecker! )
  • 2010: Silver Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria
  • 2012: Honoring Austrian Abroad of the Year. Award from the World Federation of Austrians Abroad

Web links

Commons : Johann Lafer  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Review by Uwe Wohlmacher of Johann Lafer's autobiography on Deutschlandradio Kultur, first broadcast on September 27, 2007, the text accessed on September 9, 2013
  2. ^ A b Claudia Tödtmann: Jack of all trades in all cooking shows . In: Handelsblatt , December 13, 2009, accessed on September 19, 2015.
  3. Sven Astheimer: Preacher behind the stove . ( Memento of August 6, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , December 30, 2006, accessed on September 9, 2013.
  4. Frankfurter Rundschau: Spikes from the crown: Lafer sees Michelin-Watsche sporty . In: Frankfurter Rundschau . ( [accessed on November 15, 2017]).
  5. Oliver Klasen: “I want to be closer to the people”. In: . January 15, 2019, accessed January 16, 2019.
  6. Restaurant closed - Lafer weiter Michelin- starred chef. Retrieved February 26, 2019 .
  7. Lafers cafeteria is out of the question. In: Rhein-Zeitung . August 23, 2003, accessed September 9, 2013.
  8. Johann Lafer leaves the Stromburg. Retrieved May 22, 2019 .
  9. Waltraud Morawietz: Controlling a helicopter - the dream of celebrity chef Johann Lafer seemed unattainable: He was afraid of heights. Now he's flying free. World on Sunday, December 28, 2003
  10. Anna Warnholtz: A picnic in the park is so delicious. In: . June 19, 2003, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  11. ^ Message on Silvia Buchholz-Lafer in Sommelier-Magazin from September 30, 2010 ( Memento from March 16, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on September 9, 2013