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Chris Engel

Biography

Christopher Engel always dreamed of being a chef. Working as a porter—up to his elbows in suds—in a small restaurant on the outskirts of Frankfurt, this dream started to evolve into reality. This led Engel to Bad Homburg’s Maritim Hotel, which he describes as the toughest challenge of his early life, as a kid looking for an extra bit of pocket change. It was there he transformed into a young cook, providing him with a strong foundation to build a successful career.

With newfound knowledge, a passion for food, and a growing vision, Chef Engel... READ MORE

Christopher Engel always dreamed of being a chef. Working as a porter—up to his elbows in suds—in a small restaurant on the outskirts of Frankfurt, this dream started to evolve into reality. This led Engel to Bad Homburg’s Maritim Hotel, which he describes as the toughest challenge of his early life, as a kid looking for an extra bit of pocket change. It was there he transformed into a young cook, providing him with a strong foundation to build a successful career.

With newfound knowledge, a passion for food, and a growing vision, Chef Engel went to work at some of Europe’s finest establishments. At the age of 19 he received an opportunity to work with the famed Michelin-starred chef Martin Göschel. Under Göschel’s guidance, Engel’s culinary knowledge grew in ways he had never imagined. 

With a hunger for continuing his culinary development, Chef Engel set out to travel through Europe. He found a new home at Italy’s Hotel Castell and a great mentor in Gerhard Wieser, where he not only became Executive Sous Chef, but also helped the restaurant receive its second Michelin star. It was here where he reached new heights in his career—from creating innovative dishes to executing worldwide culinary events alongside renowned chefs. These culinary and regional influences aided Engel in finding his own unique, personal cooking style and he attests that “Gerhard Wieser, Martin Göschel and Bobby Bräuer are the three most influential chefs of my career.”

After meeting Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner in early 2014, it was quickly apparent that Chef

Engel would be an excellent addition to the Austrian chef’s New York team. Shortly after their meeting, Engel made his way across the pond to New York City to be the newly appointed Executive Chef at the Michelin-starred Wallsé where he spent two years working closely with Gutenbrunner, creating upscale Austrian food influenced by the varied cuisines of Europe he had touched over the previous ten years. 

Having followed the career of Charlie Palmer for over two decades, Engel was thrilled by the opportunity to be part of the celebrated chef’s New York team. Chris was hired as Executive Chef of Charlie Palmer at The Knick and The Knickerbocker Hotel in October 2016 and was eventually promoted to oversee all food and beverage for the entire luxury property as Director of Food & Beverage and Executive Chef.

The fortitude Engel displayed at Charlie Palmer at The Knick ultimately led Palmer to tap him to become Executive Chef of his flagship, award-winning Aureole. Now manning the stoves at the legendary New York City establishment, Engel incorporates his diverse culinary background onto the menus at Aureole. When he’s not in the kitchen, he loves to travel with his wife, go fishing with his two brothers, and expand his horizons with destination adventures. In 2014, Chris took a walking pilgrimage throughout Europe where he journeyed 750 miles on a solo mission with only his backpack through Spain, Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France, which has now surpassed his first cooking job as the biggest challenge of his life. 

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What is your favorite NYC restaurant? And what is your go-to dish? That's a difficult question, but I love going to Restaurant Batard. Chef Markus Glocker's tasting menu is truly exceptional.

What is your favorite beverage? It depends on the occasion! Maybe it's a Hefeweizen, a glass of Champagne, or well-made gin and tonic.

What three things are always in your pantry? Italian pasta, EVOO, canned tuna

If you weren't a chef, what would you be? Professional soccer player

If you could cook with anyone, who would that be? Anthony Bourdain

What’s your favorite NYCWFF memory? I was hired as the Executive Chef of The Knickerbocker Hotel one week before NYCWFF in 2016. I had six days to organize everything and sample all the dishes and recipes. It was a big challenge, but so much fun to work together and knock it out of the park.