Gernot Leitzinger was born in the alpine town of Kitzbuhel, Austria in 1940 where his passion for skiing, hiking, and cooking began. To keep him from becoming a ski jumper, his mother encouraged him to pursue cooking school and he became an apprentice in a local restaurant. This sparked his lifelong journey as a chef in restaurants in Austria, Switzerland, and Holland. A job opportunity working for a Prince in Florida brought this accomplished creative chef to the United States. His sense of adventure led him to San Francisco where his love of skiing and hiking could be fulfilled in the Sierras. At the home of dear friends, he met the love of his life, Rosemarie.
Gernot and Rosie married in 1968 and moved to the Monterey Peninsula. Gernot became the Food and Beverage Manager of the Beach and Tennis Club in Pebble Beach. His dream to open his own restaurant began in 1973 when they started the Swiss Tavern in Carmel. Three years later, Gernot opened Old Europe and in 1986 opened Gernot’s Victoria House in Pacific Grove. Loyal customers knew where to find the best wiener schnitzel and wild boar goulash. In 1980, Gernot was awarded Chef of the Year by the Monterey Chefs Association. As an executive chef, he was an active member of the Chaine des Rotisseurs and Les Toques Blanches.
As a devoted family man, Gernot instilled his love for the outdoors with his two children, Christa and Peter. Favorite vacations were spent camping in Sun Valley, backpacking in the Sierras, beach barbeques at Stillwater Cove and especially skiing at Alpine Meadows. Gernot also found time to compete in the Grand Marnier chef ski races in Tahoe and tournament tennis in Pebble Beach. With his mustache smile and a genuine sense of humor, he developed many lasting friendships throughout his life.
Gernot’s love of the California lifestyle led him to become a proud American citizen in 1999. Recently, he celebrated his 50th Anniversary with Rosie by taking her back to the San Francisco church where they were married. Family and friends were his inspiration and encouragement to his last day. Gernot will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
He is survived by his wife, Rosie; his brother Volkmar (Elisabeth); his daughter, Christa (Vincent); his son, Peter (Lizzy); his beloved grandchildren, John, Mark, Emily, and Ben.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Salvation Army or Meals on Wheels of the Monterey Peninsula.
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