Middle East Kitchen


Fiery flavours and fragrant spices of Middle Eastern cuisine wowed visitors at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2023

Media journalists wit Chef Alan
Khamir Sandwich
Kulm Hotel View
Khamir Sandwich

My personal highlight: Trying a Khamir Sandwich (Lebanese pita with lamb) for the first time in my life at the legendary Kitchen Party in Badrutt’s Palace

The multi-cultural flavours of the Middle East took centre stage at this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. The region is a melting pot of cultures and influences, resulting in an incredible variety of flavours, textures and ingredients. It was a true pleasure and honour to discover this culinary extravaganza at this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. This festival brings together top chefs from around the world to showcase their culinary skills and offer festival-goers a truly unique dining experience.

With its unique location and spectacular backdrop, the festival is a culinary feast that perfectly complements the destination of St. Moritz!

One of my personal highlights from this year’s event was trying the Khamir Sandwich for the first time. This is a pita made with a blend of herbs and spices, filled with juicy lamb and vegetables. The end result is an incredible combination of flavours, textures and aromas that make this sandwich a must-try. The sandwich was served at the iconic Kitchen Party event in Badrutt’s Palace, where top chefs from around the world take over the kitchen and serve up a range of dishes. It was a real pleasure to experience the culinary delights of the Middle East in such an iconic setting. The event’s popularity has continued to grow in past years and has established itself as a must-visit event for foodies from Switzerland and the world.

These 10 Guest Chefs from the Middle East made the Festival a true delight

  1. Sami Tamimi – Ottolenghi, London – Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Zanetti, Suvretta House
  2. Najat Kaanache, Nur Restaurant, Fes, Guest of Executive Chef Janko Glotz, Nira Alpina
  3. Silvena Rowe, Omnia by Silvena, Dubai, Guest of Executive Chef Kari Walker, Hotel Saratz
  4. Zineb “Zizi” Hattab, Restaurant DAR & KLE, Zurich, Guest of Executive Chef Maxime Luvara, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel
  5. Tomer Tal,  George & John Restaurant, Tel Aviv, Guest of Executive Chef Gian Nicola Colucci, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski
  6. Alan Geaam, Restaurant Alangeaam, Paris, Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Piantanida, Grand Hotel Kronenhof
  7. Athanasios Karagatzidis, Baron Restaurant, Beirut/Lebanon, Guest of Executive Chef Mauro Taufer, Kulm Hotel
  8. Musa DaĞdeviren, Istanbul, Ciya Restaurant, Guest of Executive Chef Gero Porstein, Hotel Waldhaus Sils
  9. Gal Ben Moshe, Prism Restaurant, Berlin, Guest of Executive Chef Rolf Fliegauf, Hotel Giardino Mountain
  10. Raz Rahaw, OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv, TEL AVIV, Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Crespi, Cartlon Hotel

As you can read some of these Chefs are based in Europe with their Restaurants! For all the ones that don’t want to travel too far or couldn’t have the chance to attend the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2023 – take this opportunity to visit them soon.

Learn about Chef Athanasios Karagatzidis life as a Chef  in my interview (Baron Restaurant, Beirut/Lebanon)

Before I get into my culinary highlight of the festival, I’d like to thank all of the chefs who worked so hard to make the event happen. I had a great time at the festival, and it was all thanks to you.

So let’s talk about my high point: Chef Antansios Karagatzidis Khamir sandwich! (Khamir is a word for yeast. The bread is a mixture of yeast, flour, milk powder and is sprinkled with sesame seeds and cooked to a toasty brown color). It was stuffed with slow-cooked lamb from the Pyrenees & pickled eggplants, Duqqua, Tour & pomegranate. The pita bread made with saffron was baked on-site. It was one of those dishes where everything just worked together beautifully.

What brought you all the way to Lebanon from Greece? Tell me about your childhood and start into gastronomy

Born in the north of Greece in a small village, I moved with my family to Canada as a young teenager. I grew up with an international flair. It was through travel with my parents that I discovered cuisine and fell in love with it.

At the age of 26, I started to work for a large hotel & gastronomy company and they sent me to Lebanon just by coincidence. The goal was to help them to create food concepts for their restaurants. The projects were a success so I continued working hard until one day, I was ready to open my own restaurant where I  could bring in all his passions and learnings from the world of gastronomy.

Where does your passion for food come from?

I spent many years travelling around the world, which only further fueled my passion for cooking. I received my degree from Dubrulle Culinary Institute in Vancouver, where I learned a lot about different cultures and their cuisines. As I explored new flavours and cooking techniques, my passion for cooking grew stronger. In Japan, I found particular inspiration before opening Baron Restaurant in Beirut. At Baron we focus on an organic approach to cooking, so you’ll never find a traditional hummus on our menu—but you will find an innovative interpretation of it! Our signature dish is a whole roast head of cauliflower in spiced butter and yoghurt tahini tartare, topped with walnuts and pomegranate seeds. We love sharing concepts at our restaurant.

What was a defining experience for you in your career as an Entrepreneur and Chef?

Around 2 years ago Baron was hit by a fire. We were able to rebuild the restaurant through the help of a team of volunteers and now serve our customers with an award-winning menu. The current financial climate in Lebanon is tough as you may know,  but we’re not going to let that stop us from doing what we love. Today, I received news that Baron has been awarded Best Restaurant in Lebanon 2023 by “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants” and ranked #16 in the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023. However, due to the current difficult situation in the country, I am currently spending the majority of my time at Costa Fria in Ericeria/Portugal where I am opening a new restaurant soon.

A big part of my work is the creation of concepts and design development of full kitchen operations covering catering and full hospitality services, QSR, bakeries, fine dining and bistro concepts. This means I travel a lot, and have calls and meetings besides cooking in my restaurants.

Events you should put on your bucket list when visiting St.Moritz Gourmet Festival

One of the highlights of the festival is the Gourmet Safari, where guests can indulge in a gastronomic tour of the city. Visitors can enjoy tastings of various dishes prepared by local chefs in different venues, giving them a chance to sample a variety of cuisines and flavours in one evening. The Gourmet Safari offers a fun and relaxed atmosphere, where guests can mix and mingle with fellow food lovers while enjoying their meals.

Another exciting event at the festival is the Kitchen Party. This is an interactive dining experience where guests can watch as the chefs prepare their meals in front of them. The Kitchen Party provides an opportunity for guests to get up close and personal with the chefs and learn about their cooking techniques and philosophies. The chefs will also answer any questions guests may have and provide insight into the ingredients and flavours used in their dishes.

In conclusion, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is a must-visit for anyone who loves excellent food discoveries and unique dining experiences. With its combination of the Gourmet Safari and Kitchen Party, guests are guaranteed a culinary journey like no other. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or just love trying new dishes, this festival is not to be missed.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the organization of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for making such an excellent job and the Kulm Hotel for hosting me for two nights in their fabulous luxury surrounding.

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