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2015 St. Moritz Gourmet Festival – ‘British Edition’, drew to a close with Great BMW Gourmet Finale

Great BMW Gourmet Finale, ©
The ‘British Edition’ of the 2015 St. Moritz Gourmet Festival ended Friday evening (30th January) with the Great BMW Gourmet Finale at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz. As a tribute to the first British tourists, to whom we owe the anniversary of ‘150 years of winter tourism in Switzerland’, nine internationally high-ranking master chefs from Great Britain enthralled visitors during this pleasure week. With their culinary skills they spoiled 4,000 guests at more than 40 different festival events in the Upper Engadine.

A true success for those responsible for planning the festival, i.e. the managements of the festival partner hotels and their chefs de cuisine, who organised the exceptional festival week magnificently.

Since the establishment of the festival 22 years ago, it has not been competition that is the focus but close and collegial teamwork between exceptional star chefs, who come from all over the world, and the excellent chefs de cuisine of the festival partner hotels. The aim, the challenge and the incentive for all those involved in the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival is mutual inspiration and achieving great things together that will delight the senses of gourmet fans from all over the world. Under these circumstances and thanks to the outstanding commitment of the managements and the chefs de cuisine of the festival partner hotels and event location, the Upper Engadine was once again transformed last week into a paradise for epicures.

Reto Mathis, President of the festival organisation, is pleased to say: ‘Thanks to the positive feedback of more than 4,000 guests, the ‘British Edition’ will go down in history! We owe this to the greatly contrasting culinary skills of our nine celebrated guest chefs from Great Britain, who were in charge for a whole week up here, actively supported by the local chefs of the festival partner hotels’. In particular the ‘young wild’ among Great Britain’s star chefs, Isaac McHale from the London in-place The Clove Club, provided impressive surprises. He aroused great enthusiasm among the demanding festival guests in the Upper Engadine with his unconventional dishes – a tribute to British haute cuisine using regional produce.

From the star-crowned restaurant Murano in London arrived the first lady of Great Britain’s culinary elite, and celebrated TV-chef Angela Hartnett. She enthralled the festival guests with her refined Cucina Italiana. Two-star chef Claude Bosi from the London restaurant Hibiscus, did his reputation full justice as the extremist of the new French-British theory of harmony, by using modern cookery techniques to combine a multitude of keenly experimental ingredients into distinctively tasty, amazing creations. Master chef Chong Choi Fong from the restaurant China Tang at The Dorchester in London offered spectacular delicacies from the Far East, prepared according to genuine and original recipes from his Cantonese home country. It is not surprising that under his direction the China Tang enjoys the reputation of being the best restaurant of its kind outside China!

Guest chef Atul Kochhar from the legendary London star-restaurant Benares, brought the Upper Engadine mood to a boil with his Indian-British fusion cuisine. With highly creative performances on the plate, each time with a surprising culinary special effect, British two-star guest chef Martin Burge from The Dining Room of the country hotel Whatley Manor in Malmesbury/Wiltshire, provided unforgettable pleasures for the palate during this festival week. Virgilio Martínez, Latin America’s number one, also knew how to present delicious experiences. This international star among the avant-garde natural cuisine chefs came from his London star-crowned restaurant LIMA Fitzrovia to the Upper Engadine, where he enthralled visitors with his tasty, detailed, and well thought-out creations that could be compared to culinary strolls through Peru, his home country.

Star chef Jason Atherton from the restaurant Pollen Street Social, and Great Britain’s Chef of the Year, caused pure astonishment among the festival guests with his original culinary compositions, in which he enjoys interpreting British dishes in a modern way. Thanks to Nathan Outlaw from Rock/Cornwall, Great Britain’s best seafood specialist, the gourmet fans enjoyed during the festival week a refined star-crowned cuisine with unexpected treasures from the sea.

‘With each festival, our gastronomy receives another inspiring upgrade. This was, and remains the fundamental idea behind the festival’, explains Reto Mathis. The creative ideas and culinary concepts of the guest chefs always integrate new, own creations of the local chefs de cuisine. Already during the preparation to the festival, there was intense cooperation. Certain chefs de cuisine from the Upper Engadine travelled to Great Britain beforehand, in order to work side by side with the guest chefs in their kitchens.

‘Those are the best conditions for a smooth workflow during the festival week, and also form the cornerstone for a long-lasting, amicable and professional exchange’, says Reto Mathis.

Gourmets have already a reason to look forward to next year. As Reto Mathis announced, the 2016 St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, from 25th to 29th January, will be entitled ‘YOKOSO NIPPON’ – featuring Japanese master chefs who cause an international sensation with their art of cookery.

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