Hans Röckenwagner was born in southern Germany in the late 1950s to parents who owned a restaurant there. After three years of schooling in the Black Forest, he apprenticed at the Michelin two-star Zum Adler restaurant near Basil, as well as other restaurants throughout France, Germany and Switzerland. In 1979 at the age of 22, he was recruited by Jovan Tryboyevic to come to Chicago and work at his Le Perroquet restaurant.
In 1984, he moved to Los Angeles and in 1985, he opened Röckenwagner Café in Venice, California, and Fama in Santa Monica. In 1991, the Venice building was sold, so Chef Hans moved Röckenwagner Café to Main Street in Santa Monica, in a building that was designed by Architect Frank Gehry. In a corner of the café he had opened a little bakery, called Röckenwagner Bakery, and today it has expanded to stores and products throughout Southern California.
In 1996, Great Chefs Television was producing their Great Chefs – Great Cities series, and showed up on Santa Monica’s Main Street to tape Chef Hans Röckenwager preparing three dishes: a Langoustine Purse with Mango, Leeks & Ginger entrée, a Tuna Sashimi Salad appetizer, and a White Chocolate-Passion Fruit Mousse dessert.
In 1999, Chef Röckenwagner opened Rock Bistro & Bar. In 2002, he hired Wolfgang Gussmack from Graz, Austria to help him out as he expanded, and in 2007 opened 3 Square Café back in Venice, California.
Early in 2014, Chef Hans opened Café Röckenwagner in Brentwood, California. Chef Röckenwagner receives accolades from critics and patrons alike for his restaurants and food. Some day we will get the recipe and photo of his favorite breakfast food, Apple Pfannkuchen.