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15th Annual St. Moritz Gourmet Festival «THE ORGINAL» PDF Print E-mail
Written by Debra C. Argen   

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival Luxury Experience Magazine joined fellow gourmets at the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival for a six-day gastronomic journey featuring the exquisite cuisine of top international chefs Dieter Müller, David Thompson, Tim Raue, Urs Gschwend, Ip Chi Cheung, Andreas Mayer, Theo Randall, Emmanuel Renaut, Ryan Smith, and Reto Mathis.

St. Moritz Gourmet FestivalSt. Moritz, Switzerland has the reputation of being a sexy, sophisticated, jetsetters' playground for the rich and famous, and the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival «THE ORGINAL», which celebrated its 15th anniversary in 2008, lives up to that reputation. Attracting the crème- de-la-crème of international chefs as well as the palates of its guests, it is a highly acclaimed social event of the year, and of course, Edward F. Nesta and I were there to celebrate.

Christopher Cox with Chefs on Opening Night at St. Moritz Gourmet Festival
Christopher Cox and Chefs

The festival (January 28 until February 2, 2008) began with a spectacular Grand Gourmet Opening Cocktail at the newly renovated luxurious Carlton Hotel, an ambitious undertaking by Director Christopher Cox, as the hotel reopened just 6 weeks prior to the event, where guests had the opportunity to table hop and sample luscious bites from each of the chefs accompanied by Perrier-Jouët champagne which flowed all evening, as well as a selection of celebrated international wines. This being Switzerland, chocolate lovers had the opportunity to sample chocolate truffles from Sprüngli which are made daily.

Chef Emmanuel Renaut, Debra C. Argen, and Chef Hans Nussbaumer Chef David Thompson and Debra C. Argen
Chef Renaut, Debra, Chef Nussbaumer, Chef Thompson, Debra

A few of the many samples that we enjoyed throughout the evening as we made our rounds from chef to chef, included Chef David Thompson's "Thai street food" curry sweet potato puffs and rice chive cakes, which brought a taste of Thailand to St. Moritz; Chef Tim Raue's turbot with mousseline of leek and ginger & salad of watermelon and Kayang; Chef Ryan Smith's sea scallops on sweet potatoes, passion fruit and vanilla; Chef Emmanuel Renaut's chartreuse Eskimos and delicate sweets; and Chef Dieter Müller's foie gras with truffles.

Chef Tim Raue Chef Dieter Müller
      Chef Raue                    Chef Müller

Oenophiles had the treat of tasting exceptional wines from the Italian regions of Piemonte, Toscana, Veneto, Umbria, and Basilicata, as well as wines from France, Austria, Argentina, Spain, Australia, Switzerland, and the United States. A few of our favorites included the Barolo San Rocco DOCG 2003, Azienda Azelia - Luigi Scavino, Castiglione Falletto from Piemonte; Amarone Classico DOC 2003, Azienda Buglioni, from Piemonte; Brunello di Montalcino, Vigna Schiena d'Asino DOCG 1999, Azienda Mastrojanni, Montalcino, from Toscana; Roda, Rioja Reserva DOC 2003, Bodegas Roda, Spain; and the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AC 2005, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, Vignobles Brunier, France.

St. Moritz native, Chef Reto Mathis, founder and a member of the Sponsoring Committee, described the festival as providing local chefs with the opportunity to learn new trends, techniques, and presentations from top international chefs, while affording guests the opportunity to experience exotic cuisine. The Chefs of St. Moritz are also some of the finest and the top twelve restaurants have a total of 174 GaultMillau points between them.

Chef Theo Randall with Chefs     Chef Frédéric Breuil , Chef Ryan Smith, and Edward F. Nesta
     Chef Randall with Chefs        Chef Breuil, Chef Smith and Edward

Chef Andreas MayerThis year's Chef pairings were Dieter Müller from Germany (*** Michelin, first German Chef with the highest GaultMillau rating of 19.5, Restaurant Dieter Müller) hosted by Chef Bernd Ackermann of Suvretta House; Urs Gschwend from Switzerland (16 GaultMillau rating, Restaurant Aphrodite) hosted by Chef Ramon Malvido of Crystal Hotel; Andreas Mayer from Austria (**Michelin, Austria's Chef of the Year 2007, Restaurant MEYER'S) hosted by Chef Gotthold Seifried of Hotel Schweizerhof; Tim Raue from Germany (* Michelin, 18 GaultMillau rating, Chef of the Year 2007, Restaurant 44) hosted by Chef Oliver Barda of Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains; Emmanuel Renaut from France (** Michelin, 17 GaultMillau rating, Flocons de Sel) hosted by Chef Hans Nussbaumer of Kulm Hotel St. Moritz; from the United Kingdom, Chef Ip Chi Cheung and Chef Lu Kwok ChingChefs Theo Randall (* Michelin, Theo Randall) hosted by Chef Alexander Kroll of the Carlton Hotel, and David Thompson (* Michelin, highest rated Thai food expert, Nahm Restaurant) hosted by Chef Jens Nardmann of Hotel Monopol; Ip Chi Cheung from Hong Kong (Hong Kong's Best Chef, also rated as one of the world's best Chinese Chefs, Shang Palace Restaurant) hosted by Chef Lu Kwok Ching of Hotel Steffani; and Ryan Smith from South Africa (former chef to kings, princes, and celebrities around the world, Restaurant Mange Tout) hosted by Chef Frédéric Breuil of Badrutt's Palace Hotel.

Carlton Hotel
Via Johannes Badrutt 11
7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-836-7000
Fax:                 +41 81-836-7001
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Chef Stefan Gerber With Chocolate DessertsAnother highlight of the festival were the daily Cult Chocolate Tastings, which took place in the afternoons at Badrutt's Palace Hotel, and were a fantasy of all desserts chocolate including luscious chocolate and truffle offerings from Confiserie Sprüngli. Sprungli Truffle ChefAs avid chocoholics, we sampled our way through elegant chocolate desserts, which tempted the eye as well as the palate, with sinfully rich and absolutely decadent creations by Pastry Chef Stefan Gerber and his team at Badrutt's Palace Hotel, and if I had to pick one as my favorite, it would be the dark chocolate and chili mousse that was pure sweet and spicy heaven.

Badrutt's Palace Hotel
Via Serlas 27
7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-837-1000
Fax:                 +41 81-837-2999
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Polenta and January TrufflesGuests also had the opportunity to get to know the cuisine of the guest chefs at the Gourmet Dégustation Dinners, which took place throughout St. Moritz at the host chefs' restaurants. We had dinner at the Rôtisserie des Chevaliers at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz with Chef Emmanuel Renaut (Restaurant Flocons de Sel) where two of the appetizing selections from the dinner included Deux millimeters de polenta, Truffle de janvier, Cèpes hachés au couteau (Two millimeters of polenta, January truffles, cèps, chicken broth and smoked butter); and Gâteau de topinambour, Bouillon beurré, parfum de girofle (Jerusalem artichoke cake, butter bouillon, and clove perfume). Read about the dinner in the Restaurants section and recipes from Chef Emmanuel Renaut in the Chefs Recipes section.

Rôtisserie des Chevaliers
Kulm Hotel St. Moritz
Via Veglia 18
7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland
Telephone:      +41 81-836-8000
Fax:                 +41 81-836-8001
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Chef Frédéric Breuil Of all the festival events, the Kitchen Party at Badrutt's Palace Hotel was decidedly a favorite. Arriving early, we watched with fascination as Chef Frédéric Breuil of Badrutt's Palace Hotel orchestrated the timing with the precision of a maestro, as he called out the 2-minute warning to the chefs who finished their last minute preparations before more than 300 guests donned chef aprons and toques to watch the chefs in action in the kitchen.

Chef Alexander Kroll, Chef Theo RandallWith our aprons tied and our toques in place, we began the evening with an aperitif of Perrier-Jouët champagne, before we deftly made our way throughout the kitchen sampling delectable offerings from the chefs who prepared and served the food for the guests directly from their stoves, including Chef Theo Randall and Chef Reto Mathis.

Chef Andreas Mayer with ChefsChef Andreas Mayer prepared Laiberl vom Zeller See Zander mit Krebsen und Wirsing Gemüse (Perch with Crab and Vegetables); and Chef Dieter Müller offered guests steaming Capuccino von Curry und Zitronengras mit Gamarettispiess (Curry Capuccino and Lemongrass with grilled shrimp on a skewer) perfect on a cold winter night.

Asian cuisine aficionados were tempted with Chef Ip Chi Cheung's Baked Codfish Pastries which paired well with Chef David Thompson's GAI DTUN /Steamed Chicken Soup with Dried Longans; and Chef Ryan Smith's Tiger Prawn and Parma Ham Spring Rolls with Basil.

          Chef Lu Kwok Ching, Chef Ip Chi Cheung                        Chef Ryan Smith in Action
Chefs Lu Kwok Ching, Ip Chi Cheung      Chef Ryan Smith in action 

Edward F. Nesta and Chef Urs Gschwend
Edward, Chef Urs Gschwend

Chef Tim Raue prepared Kalbshamm mit Perigord Trüffeljus & Salat von Randen, Äpfel und Jalapeño (Veal with Perigord Truffle Juice and von Randen Salad with Red Beet, Apple, and Jalapeno); Chef Urs Gschwend prepared Kartoffel Risotto mit knuspringem Pata Negra Schwein (Potato Risotto with crunchy Pata Negra); and to appeal to shellfish aficionados, Chef Emmanuel Renaut prepared Ecrevisses du lac jus de mais et coriander (Prawn jelly, lake crayfish, corn mousse and coriander).

Debra with Chefs 
Debra in the Kitchen with the Chefs

Chefs with CheesesTasting continued with an excellent selection of cheeses, which among the many cheeses offered included Mount d'Or, Epoisses, and Reblochon. Paired with a glass of wine, this was heavenly.

The pastry kitchen was transformed into a jungle dessert fantasy with palm tree fronds suspended from Debra C. Argen in the Pastry Jungle during Kitchen Partythe ceiling along with sugar dragonflies. Tempting aromas of chocolate wafted from the dimly lit kitchen enticing guests to come and sample its tantalizing creations. Definitely interesting was the largest Baked Alaska that I had ever seen, which exceeded 2-feet in both diameter and height, made with an exotic sorbet assortment of mango, passion fruit, and pineapple.

Desserts from Stefan GerberLarge spun sugar balls, coconut ravioli with pineapple soup, chocolate pastries, chocolate crème brûlées, mousses, tortes, and much more beckoned from the attractive dessert displays. Calories to the wind, Edward and I savored each bite as we made our way through the jungle paradise. The Kitchen Party lasted until the wee hours of the morning followed by dancing in the King's Club, where we joined fellow Kitchen Party guests and danced the remaining hours away still wearing our 2008 St. Moritz Gourmet Festival aprons.

The 15th annual St. Moritz Gourmet Festival was a luxurious taste treat with lasting memories that we will fondly recall until next year. As they say in Swiss-German, En gueta (Bon Appetit)!

Read other articles on St. Moritz in the Destinations, Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Gastronomy, and Adventures sections.

Read other articles on Switzerland in the Destinations section including: Zurich, Switzerland; Bern, Switzerland; Interlaken, Switzerland; and Lucerne, Switzerland; Hotels and Resorts, Restaurants, Chefs' Recipes, Spas, Liquor Cabinet, Wine Cellar, Gastronomy, Luxury Products, and Adventures sections.

For information on Switzerland, please visit the website: For information on St. Moritz, please visit the websites: and St. Moritz Gourmet FestivalFor information on the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival and all of its events, please visit the website: For information on the Cartier World Cup Polo on Snow, please visit the website:

For information on Swiss International Air Lines: For information on the Swiss Pass:

For information on Arosa: For information on Lucerne: For information on Interlaken: For information on Bern: For information on Zurich:

© April 2008. Luxury Experience. All rights reserved.

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