With an impressive line up of chefs who have achieved cult status in their cooking art, the biggest food symposium in Switzerland – ChefAlps, the International Cooking Summit – offers a platform for inspiration and business at the same time
Anybody currently preparing his agenda for next year should firmly reserve May 21 and 22 to come and visit the 2017 ChefAlps. Star chefs Dominique Crenn from the USA, Antonia Klugmann from Italy, Ana Roš from Slovenia, Eric Menchon from Germany, Even Ramsvik from Norway, Oriol Castro from Spain, Nick Bril from Belgium and Heinz Reitbauer from Austria as well as Peter Knogl from Switzerland, will present their very individual culinary concepts on stage. However diverse their origins and their approaches might be, each of them devotes himself with his art of cookery to achieving a maximum of good taste, and thus provides trend-setting impetus to worldwide gastronomy – far beyond the normal level. With this fascinating line-up of guest master chefs, a market hall presenting products associated with gourmet cuisine, and the new after party with a flying dinner by the excellent Swiss junior chefs of the ‘marmite youngsters’ selection’, as well as upbeat party music by a live DJ, the International Cooking Summit – as the most important event of the sector, always in pace with the times – will once again in 2017 offer a multitude of inspirations and insights for culinary activities.
Does a typically feminine signature exist in haute cuisine, and if so, what are the characteristics? No less than three outstanding lady protagonists will be able to answer the question at the 2017 ChefAlps in Zurich:
Dominique Crenn, distinguished as ‘World’s Best Female Chef 2016’, cultivates poetic gastronomy in her Atelier Crenn in San Francisco. For each menu, the two-star chef composes a poem allowing the guests to get into the right mood for her creations as they read each line. The French native is convinced that life itself is a poem; and being able to spoil people with her art of cookery is an act of vulnerability.
Antonia Klugmann, who is one of the most sensational shooting stars of the northern Italian gourmet scene, also does not follow the usual tracks; she loves to create dishes with unfamiliar combinations of ingredients that never existed before. In her restaurant L’Argine a Vencò in Friaul, she obtained a Michelin star in next to no time with her cuisine.
Ana Roš’ art of cookery, was distinguished by GaultMillau with three toques, and made the small restaurant Hiša Franko in an enchanted alpine valley, Slovenia’s number one gourmet address. Ana Roš’ dishes reflect the unspoilt nature of her home country, with its treasures of wildly romantic meadows, mountains and rivers. She was the first woman ever to participate in the renowned ‘Cook it raw’ project. This is all the more remarkable as the graduate of diplomatic studies learned to cook in a completely autodidactic way.
Eric Menchon, too, has had an astounding career. Born in the south of France, he is a seemingly inexhaustible source of creative ideas. For almost 30 fantastic years, he has celebrated his distinctive bistro cuisine as chef de cuisine at Le Moisonnier restaurant in Cologne. Though charmingly unconstrained and typically French rural, it has been distinguished with two Michelin stars and 18 GaultMillau points. All this has been achieved without any international experience or spectacular professional stops in high gastronomy.
Star chef Even Ramsvik would have certainly gone just as far as an author or film director, as he did in his kitchen as the ‘inventor of the Norwegian identity’. The Bocuse d’Or vice champion of Norway draws attention to the traditional cookery techniques of his country – until recently at the Ylajali restaurant, and currently with the project for the ‘Lava Oslo’ restaurant.
The Spanish avant-gardist Oriol Castro is one of three heads of the ingenious cookery trio Castro-Xatruch-Casañas at the Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona. In 2016, it was distinguished as ‘Best New European Restaurant’. With their surreal seeming dishes and pure tasting explosions, the three chefs continue here the story of Ferran Adrià, but with their personal, star-crowned signature. Previously, Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas had been part of the creative team at the elBulli for 15 years as chefs de cuisine.
‘Eating is our religion’, is the philosophy of the Dutch two-star chef Nick Bril. This could not match in a better way his current workplace in Belgium, as chef de cuisine of The Jane restaurant. It is to be found in the chapel of the former military hospital of Antwerp, and the meals are prepared where the altar stood in the past. Since he was 19 years old, the exceptional gastronomic concept has been shared by Nick Bril’s mentor: master chef Sergio Herman, who was awarded, as everybody knows, with fabulous 20 GaultMillau points in his former restaurant, Oud Sluis. Together, the efficient duo created at The Jane restaurant a taster menu that reflects their ingenious and controversial culinary signature, just as controversial as the restaurant in the church – exotic and accessible, well thought-out and simple.
Besides his cookery skills, Nick Bril has also made a big name for himself as one of the most popular DJs of the party environment.
Heinz Reitbauer no longer really needs to be introduced in the gastronomic world. The native Austrian is one of the best chefs de cuisine of our times. Four toques in the GaultMillau, two Michelin stars, ‘Best restaurant of Austria’ in the Fallstaff restaurant guide, ‘Best restaurant of Austria’ in the À la carte guide, with the Steirereck restaurant for the last eight years first restaurant in Austria on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants List, currently in ninth position – and in autumn 2016, elected ‘Chef of the decade’ by GaultMillau. With his style of always looking for a new aspect and never forgetting the old, he has developed a unique identity.
All in all, these are more than enough reasons to invite Heinz Reitbauer once again in 2017, as a guest chef on the ChefAlps stage. In 2012, he came for the first time, and ever since he has supported the International Cooking Summit as ChefAlps ambassador for Austria. Peter Knogl, chef de cuisine at the Cheval Blanc by Peter Knogl restaurant of the grand hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel, is the first chef de cuisine ever of a hotel restaurant in Switzerland whose cookery skills have received the three highest distinctions: three Michelin stars and 19 GaultMillau points. Furthermore, the GaultMillau honoured him twice – in 2011 and 2015 – with the distinction of ‘Chef of the year.’ Sauces based on exceptional research play the main part in Peter Knogl’s famous flavour compositions.
Innovative exhibitors and after party with the ‘marmite youngsters’ Besides the fascinating shows on stage with this international high-carat star-chef participation, in the event hall StageOne in Zurich, ChefAlps’ visitors will find market stands with more than 30 providers of innovative products for the gourmet cuisine, as well as plenty of opportunities for discussion among like-minded people about the trends in high-end gastronomy. At the reorganised ChefAlps after party on Sunday evening, the young distinguished cooks of the ‘marmite youngsters’ selection’ will provide outstanding food during a flying dinner, and a live DJ will entertain with upbeat party sounds until late in the evening.
‘Everybody can already look forward now to two days with a unique mix consisting of shows on stage, exhibitions and delicious happenings that no one from the sector should miss’, promises the ChefAlps organiser Adriano Pirola.