Mountain Mayhem: Farewell to chef Martin Oswald after long Aspen run |

Mountain Mayhem: Farewell to chef Martin Oswald after long Aspen run

May Selby
Mountain Mayhem
Pyramid Bistro chef-owner Martin Oswald
Shawn O’Connor

Before Martin Oswald bid Aspen farewell to return to his native Austria with his wife Carolyn, son Gus, and daughter Emily after nearly 30 years here, I caught up with the beloved chef for a Q+A about his culinary career here, which spanned Syzygy, Ute City, and Pyramid Bistro in Aspen; Riverside Grill in Basalt; Mix6 in Snowmass Village; catering for Jazz Aspen Snowmass and more. 

Master Chef Jacques Pepin with Chef Martin Oswald and his son’s sword.

May: When did you move to Aspen, and what brought you here?

Martin: In the winter of 1995, I was hired by Walt Harris to work at Syzygy after I cooked a multi-course dinner for him at Sweet Basil in Vail. 

May: What have been some of your favorite professional memories?

Martin: At Syzygy, we achieved multiple esteemed Dirona Awards, and I was nominated twice as a top 10 chef for Food & Wine Magazine. Back in the late ’90s, I got to cook my dream menu: a 10-course meal for $2,000 per person. The event required me to use an abundance of luxurious ingredients. All this was matched with the most exquisite wines from legendary master sommelier Jay Fletcher.

Also, catering the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Experience, I worked with 15 executive chefs and 150 local restaurateurs each year. While plating 30,000 plates was at times stressful, we all pushed each other to be the best. It was a thrill to be part of the biggest Aspen social celebration.

And, while at Pyramid Bistro, I participated in a medical trial. Dr. Laurie Marbas took blood measurements, and I cooked lunch and dinner for 30 days for 26 participants. The highlight of the results was a 27.7% overall cholesterol loss. It is easily the biggest and most rewarding achievement in my culinary career.

Chef Martin Oswald with Dr. Joel Fuhrman at Pyramid Bistro whose nutritional research allowed Martin to shed extra weight and made him understand the importance of nutrient density.

May: Where are you moving exactly, and what plans are in store for you there?

Martin: First, we’ll spend some time with my parents, and, then, we plan to move to Vienna. My goal is to continue my work with doctors by means of aggressive nutritional interventions for cardiac and diabetes 2 patients. In the long term, I hope to create an individualized nutritional plan based on age and health history.

May: Will we see you again anytime soon?

Martin: I hope to be part of the Aspen Mind, Body & Spirit community for many years to come.

May: We’ll miss you, chef! Thank you for all you’ve contributed to our community in the way of delicious and healthy cuisine and creating memorable moments for your staff, patrons, colleagues and friends.

Chef Martin Oswald with Mariel Hemingway at Pyramid Bistro.
Chef Martin Oswald with Chef Mawa and Daniel McQueen.
Chef Martin Oswald with Chef Mawa and Daniel McQueen.
With Chefs Peter Coyne, Rob McClanahan and Gus Oswald at a last catering event together.
Former Syzygy co-workers on a surprise visit to Pyramid Bistro – Frank Todaro, Anna Cheyne, Paul Williams, Catherine Anne Couch, Chef Martin Oswald, Chuck Fillion, Colin Marshall, and Gerald Theron.
Gus, Carolyn, Emily, and Chef Martin Oswald.