Sissy Sonnleitner was born in 1953 as the youngest of four daughters to the innkeeper couple, Elisabeth & Herbert Rainer, in Mauthen. As a teenager, she had no ambitions to keep the family tradition, but in 1978, with her three older sisters departing, she and her husband Kurt, ran the “Inn Basement Wall”. By 1982, she received her first Toque award from Gault Millau, who gave her “Chef of the Year” in 1990 and two more Toques. People would travel to the Landhaus, at the foot of the Kellerwand in the Carinthian Alps, for the food, first and foremost.
In May of 1998, the Great Chefs television crew descended on the “Villa Cellar Wall” in Landhaus-Kellerwand, to tape Sissy Sonnleitner for their Great Chefs of Austria series for ORF TV and for their Great Chefs of the World series for the Discovery Channel.
She and Stefanie Sonnleitner have continued to collect award after award, including Michelin stars, for their regional cuisine and the influence of nearby Italy, the so-called Alpine-Adriatic cuisine. Her “old” recipes of Carnic Cuisine have been included in several cookbooks which can be purchased on her website www.sissysonnleitner.at and you can stream and download a sampling of her dishes on the Great Chefs website.