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St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2018 – Experiencing a legendary Gourmet Safari & Kitchen Party

My personal highlight: Sitting in the car with an icon of Swiss Cuisine during the Gourmet Safari and learning at first hand about the history of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

Participating at an event like the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is full of surprises. It’s the format that is unique. I can’t think of a better environment as a kitchen to feel and understand the passion and ability of a experienced Master Chefs. It was a privilege to stand close around the Festival Chefs. Perceive the heat of the stove, smell all possible flavors that were created at once. Welcome to the 25th edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival where high class international Chefs met you, individuals and food lovers.

Why you should visit a Kitchen party once in your life

People told me, you need to visit a Kitchen Party. Well, I asked myself why? I imagined it to be loud, busy and chaotic. How can it be fun to be squeezed with 250 people in kitchen?

The magic thing of the Kitchen Party I experienced during the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is the class and easiness all Chefs put on the table. The Kitchen Party took place at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel in their perfect equipped kitchen. This kitchen is not small at all. Although it got very narrow for all of us. This setup made the atmosphere adorable. Live music pimped up the party to its best.

For some Chefs the noise and chaos was no obstacle at all. Observing Chef Ray Adriansyah I felt complete tranquility.

I was fascinated by the way he immersed into the preparation of the suckling pig. In their restaurant in Ubud Bali called Locavore Chef Ray and his partner Eelke Plasmeijer focus on nose to tail plates and only local products. The pork and the sausages made out of the offal (everything is used to avoid food waste!) with typical Indonesian spiced vegetables evolved to one highlight of the food program. The Vegetarian highlight for me was the mushroom raviolo with a light and aromatic pesto sauce prepared by Chef Jacob Jan Boerma. An esthetic appealing dish 100% vegetarian creating an explosion in my palate. One bite bite only to scarf it! I completely ignored the mass of people around me, the heat created by all ongoing fire stations and the drops of steam dropping down to my head. Surrounded by excellent food and a magic party atmosphere, everything around me disappeared. The cherry on the top built the dessert room. A room full of delights created by Chef Patissier Chef Stephan Gerber from Badrutt’s Palace and Spruengli. Fancy smoothies as a chilly mango lassi or a traditional grand cru praline ended the Epicurean experience with excellence.

For those needing a digestion dance, the after-party continued at the King’s Club. Perfect timing to shake the hips till early in the morning. That is where I met Chef Ana Roš and Chef Dominique Crenn on the dance floor and felt their viral and humble vibes again.

The legendary Kitchen Party at the Badrutt’s Palace Hotel brought together local and international guests and all 9 international Master Chefs and the local Executive Chefs. Absolutely recommend this event !

The 2018 Festival Master Chefs

East or west of St. Moritz? A ranger and 19 food lovers on their way to explore a 5 course menu, one course at every stop in an excellent Engadine Hotel – Let’s call it a Gourmet Safari

After the unforgettable experience of the Kitchen Party my palate was ready for more food excitement to be explored.

What does your mind think of, when it hears the word Gourmet Safari?

Being at an Event as the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival it’s obvious that you are surrounded by best Master Chefs, quality food and creative techniques. All of that in a stylish and classy hotel atmosphere. The Gourmet Safari is the perfect event to experience several Chefs and locations in ca. 4 hours and one evening! Some of the dishes are served directly at the so-called Chef’s Tables in the kitchen that makes the event even more intimate and authentic.

My personal highlight on the trip: Sharing my ride in a comfy BMW in snowy St. Moritz with the opportunity to take seat with an icon of Swiss Cuisine. Roland Jöhri, Chef and Manager of the restaurant Talvo in Champfèr for almost 20 years. Talvo is one of the most accredited restaurants in the Engadine region. Roland shared stories about food, cooking and the region of St. Moritz I could not have find in any book or google research.

What I loved most is the story about the first years of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival back in the 90’s. These editions took place on the lake of St. Moritz, huge tents with all kitchen equipment placed on the ice!

An other story making me understand how passioned Roland recounted about his cooking books aged over hundreds of years. Pages all hand written! I was amused by the fact that he recognized immediately the original recipe of the dessert called île flottante that Dominique Crenn prepared for us at the Gourmet Safari. It consists in a foaming meringue floating in a crème anglaise (custard) sprinkled with caramel/sugar on top and it disappears in the mouth like a cloud! Chef Dominique revealed that it was the favorite dessert her grandmother prepared to her when she was a kid. Getting to hear such stories made me extremely happy and thankful. What a memorable time in St. Moritz.

Every course came paired with a selected wine. With this dessert a sweet and fruity Beerenauslese 2015 from Austria.

The Gourmet Safari menu at a glance

  • Zander with saffron celery  (IGNIV by Andreas Caminada), black cod NY Style (Matsuhisa)
  • Coffee cured trout, kecap creme, ginger gel, pickled pumpkin, wild leaves – Locavore Ubud Bali / Nira Alpina
  • Wasabi rock Lobster, Mango & Nuc Mam Sauce (Tim Raue) Vietnamese Nuc Mam Chilli Sauce with garlic – Kulm Hotel
  • Veal shank with a juniper coat, Shiso potato purée, purple carrot – Stucki Basel/Grand Hotel Kronenhof
  • Grains and Seeds 2.0, île flottante, Atelier Crenn/Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains

With these two events in my pocket and and a memorable stay at the Hotel Badrutt’s Palace that makes every guest feel like living a fairy tale with its class, style and courtesy. I like to take the opportunity to thank the agency Woehrle Pirola, Events & Public Relations for the perfect organization of the whole St. Moritz Gourmet Festival.

Get all impression and highlight about my experience at Badrutt’s Palace Hotel soon in a separate story!

Abou the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

Every year several International Master Chefs are invited to St. Moritz for sharing culinary experiences with local Chefs of their partner hotels. Together they enthrall the festival guests with culinary delicacies. This years event took place 9 days. Tickets are available online through the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for everybody. Additional special events as the Kitchenparty, the Chocolate Cult at Badrutt’s Palace or Gourmet Dinners and special additional events take place during the festival. The festival is a perfect combination with a ski holiday in St. Moritz, since most of the event are taking place in the evening, so you have the change to go skiing during the day. Consider it in 2019!

Interested to know more about Lovefoodish’s experience at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival last year? Find more on the 2017 article here.

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Zurich Blogging

Chef Alps – International Cooking Summit 21 & 22 May, 2017, Zurich

My personal highlight: quotes, life stories, flavors. Woman Chef are best story teller ever!

After attending the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival this winter I could not wait to get in touch with more passionate International Chefs! For those who missed that story, you can dive into it here.

My experience at Chef Alps 2017 starts with Chef Dominique Crenn. She is a French born raised in a family of artists. You can feel her creative heritage in the way she prepares and presents the dishes and in the stories of life she tells. Today she lives in San Francisco where she runs two restaurants, Atelier Crenn (2 Michelin Stars) and Petit Crenn, a third one to be opened soon. Her easiness and authenticity inspired myself. If you feel your own fire inside, it’s what brings you forward in life. One of her attributes is the fact, that she loves to transmit a poem with food.

„Food is a language“ she says. It’s more than a sophisticated dish you get on your plate.

A focal part of my interview: Crenn’s personal story about working as a Woman Chef in South East Asia

In 1997, she made culinary history being the first female executive Chef in Indonesia leading the kitchen at the InterContinental Hotel in Jakarta. Crenn mentions during the interview that this time was one of the most challenging of her life. It touched my heart, how she approached and supported the Indonesian women staff she was managing by that time.  Giving them believe in their qualifications and professional goals. Due to the political turmoil in Southeast Asia, she returned to California in 1998.
At her restaurants in San Francisco food waste is a number one topic. On stage she presented to the audience how to prepare the marrow from the swordfish. It turned out to be a real delicacy.

Why a food blogger should visit an International Cooking summit like Chef Alps

It’s the place where creative people come together for sharing life and food stories. The event is an inspiring platform for Chefs, gastronomesfoodies and media. After attending the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival beginning of the year I was very honored to be part of Chef Alps 2017.

It’s a unique experience talking in person to world famous Chefs.

You understand, why food has such an important influence and it bridges cultures and humans.

It’s more than tasting a piece of delicious prepared meat or admire a good looking plate. It’s the procedure, the origin of a Chef, their motivation and struggles. Their complete life.

Hearing Antonia Klugmann from Italy (1 Michelin Star) explaining, how a menu is created and that it includes complex, thoughtful steps with several months of tests until it appears on the menu, left me with an open mouth. On the stage she presented two of her own original dishes.
The tomato strawberry spaghetti and the beef carpaccio aromatized with herbs from her garden at  Restaurant L’Argine a Vencò in Dolegna del Collio, Gorizia Italy. Using a variety of alpine herbs is a signature of her recipes.

“Respecting the use of fresh and local ingredients by an accurate preparation is only one parameter to be considered,” says Chef Klugmann. Further, it’s essential to be a good example for ongoing Chefs and to stay as authentic as possible.

How to be a good leader

Being a leader for the employees and sensitive enough to understand when the team needs a break is a topic that Chef Ana Roš mentions during her session on the stage. She is the World’s Best Female Chef 2017.  While traveling to Zurich she got a phone call from her Sous Chef. They were discussing the need of a break due to a very intense time at her Restaurant Hiša Franko in Kobarid, Slovenia.

Her cuisine focuses an avant-garde approach with local and seasonal ingredients from her home country. One of the dishes Chef Roš prepared on the stage is a cooked tongue of a milk cow. It came paired with a home made Dashi, pickled celery, smoked celery purée, light sweetened algae and a scallop. A complete surprise. That is how she loves to cook, creative, sustainable and full of energy.

Ana Roš achieved her international fame overnight, thanks to an episode of her cookery skills shown in the series “Chef’s Table” on Netflix. ‘The visitor numbers on the website increased from 200 to 10,000 a day. They were absolutely swamped with reservation requests.

What impresses me much is the fact, that she started her Chef career from scratch by autodidactic tools. She was a former professional skier and studied politics. Her way into cooking was completely new.

These my friend,s are more than just Chefs preparing food to satisfy guests or winning awards. These are inspiring personalities that motivate all of us to follow our dreams and passions.

Thank you for reading the Lovefoodish food stories!

 

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