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Behind the scenes of a Swiss Cooking show: Beef Club

My personal highlight: Squeezing myself behind the camera team with my own camera to catch the best move of two young Swiss Chefs cooking live on stage

What happens behind the scenes of a cooking show with the setup of a fight ring?

You see a bunch of cameras focussing on every move of the Chefs. A dedicated fan club cheering at the Chefs and supporting them for every preparation step in the kitchen. Beside that you also smell fabulous odors coming out of the open kitchen! And yes, you even learn how Chefs improvise cooking with little ingredients and time. Welcome to Beef Club.

There are several cooking shows taking place in Switzerland, this one caught my interest due to its special format. It’s not only about preparing high quality dishes, it’s about  how young Chefs react live on the stage being challenged from a jury. That is why I got very curious to understand the concept of the format Beef Club. The TV show is sponsored by Bell (a leading meat and convenience producer in Europe) for Sat.1 and produced by Mediafisch. In the meantime they have reached the 6th season. Season 5 goes live as of march 2018 (5 episodes), Season 6 follows later this year.

3 main ingredients, 2 Youngsters, 60 minutes

Beef Club aims to present two young Swiss Chefs performing a kitchen battle preparing a two course menu of their choice. They get three surprise ingredients at their disposal and 60 minutes. A meat expert from Bell, a host and a jury of three famous Swiss Food Experts are part of the TV format. An active fan club is in the ring to support the two Chefs behind the stove.

Who is in the jury?

The Jury consists of Jacky Donatz, a Master Chef well known from the Restaurant Sonnenberg, a 15 Gault-Millau Restaurant in Zurich, Zoe Torinesi, moderator & food blogger (cookinesi.com) and Andrin C. Willi, Culinary Expert and Chief Editor of the magazine marmite. The host is Kenny Thomson (he usually rings in real boxing matches)

Feeling the audience cheering on the two chefs while they were rushing from one action to the other was one of the most exciting part I experienced.

An essential component that makes the show lively is the interaction of the jury. They are not only judging the final plate, they stand close to the stove and support the young Chefs with (useful) suggestions. Sometimes they try to provoke or distract them, which of course is interesting to snap for the audience. During the shooting of Season 5 (the show I attended), it was amusing to see Elly Rexhepaj (one of the young Chefs on stage) interacting with the jury. She elegantly integrated the jury’s proposal – to use the ham’s fat to aromatize a veggie. A very elegant and fair move of Elly was when she helped out her “rival” Erich! While he was looking for some ingredients far away from the stove, she pushed his pan away from the hot stove to prevent the sauce getting burned!

Erich Lüthi performed with coolness and gave us the right portion of action by using the flambé technique to prepare the beef.

It was a great experience diving into the foodworld of these two young Chefs and feel their passion and emotions.

Some facts about Erich and Elly
Erich Lüthi started his gastronomy career as a baker before getting the diploma as a Cook. He is a sommelier and experienced in wines tastings. He used to work at Caduff’s Wine Loft in Zurich and as Chef de Rang at the Steakhouse Schmitte. One of his passions is the preparing of sauces. Erich pays attention to good quality products as premium olive oil. At this stage he is putting a lot of interest in the topic dry aging. His plan is to open an own restaurant after the actual formation at the Hotel Management School he is attending.
Elly Rexhepaj is a perfect example that dreams can always come true if you believe in them! She is a young mother that started her career in cooking at a later stage. It was very emotional seeing her little daughter cheering her during the show! Elly graduated in a 16 point restaurant. She got further education in diet cooking, too. Her signature dishes are inspired by her mediterranean roots of the balkan. She loves to combine them with thai elements as coriander and limes. A further approach she follows is the«Root to Leaf» concept using as much as possible from a product. A big dream of Elly is to work as a cooking teacher in future to inspire young talents with her gained knowledge.

I absolutely suggest switching on your TV as of March and watch one of the episodes. I enjoyed very much being live at the shooting. Thank you Mediafisch for having me!

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