Profile

Otto Kamenzin

Pioneer Year

2003 (dec)

Master Chef and Pioneer of the Industry Otto Kamenzin, was distinguished as one of Melbourne’s greatest chefs of the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s, Otto served his apprenticeship in cooking in Bremen, Germany and some time after completion he joined the merchant navy and traveled the world as a cook and chef. On his first encounter with Australia, working on the Castell Felice, Otto he liked what he saw and decided to stay. That was 1955, a year before many more great and adventures chefs arrived on our shores for the Melbourne Olympic Games. Otto spent a short time in Tasmania before returning to Melbourne. Here he spent 11 years leading the kitchen brigade at Antonios, a fine dining restaurant in Toorak, the best that Melbourne offered at the time. He then opened the Lido Theatre Restaurant in the city and two years later became the opening chef at La Casa de Manana in St. Kilda Rd. Otto enjoyed the challenge of furnishing and opening new kitchens, and putting his thumbprint and direction on them for other brigades after him. Le Chateau in Queens Road, a place of grandeur, was his next move and then In Camberwell at the Black Knight where Otto created some memorable dining experiences for his loyal customers who followed him from place to place. This led and it was time to venture out into his own establishments. First there was La Bouffe in the city, then Martins in Port Melbourne and followed by Rabelais in Toorak Road. Then came the need to a change of scenery and Otto and his family moved to Western Australia, in Perth to face more culinary challenges where another aspect of the hospitality industry was experienced when Otto operated a function centre for a number of years. The finishing touch of his career he chose and loved was the running the kitchen in a private hospital. Every year Otto took a trip back to Germany to celebrate his mother’s birthday until she passed away in her nineties. This was his annual holiday, a true family man and son. He was also a great believer in keeping fit and enjoyed swimming and bike riding. One of his achievements was the 19 km swim from Perth Cottesloe Beach to Rottenest Island with each of his children in different years, a great athletic challenge for a man in his sixties. Otto was passionate about his family, cooking and life, noticeable to all around him. He will be remembered as a great chef, good friend to many who got on with everybody, a man with a positive outlook to things around him. Substantially extracted from an article written by Bernd Uber in the Herald-Sun on August 5 2004