As the title of this article already reveals the theme of this year's St.Moritz Gourmet Festival 2016 is a homage to the modern Japanese cuisine, which was allocated with an award from UNESCO as "intangible heritage. The preparation method of the Japanese kitchen serves worldwide as a source of inspiration in the haute cuisine, due to the special flavors, spices and ingredients used. The St.Moritz gourmet festival was already performed 23 times and what is special about it this year is that Julius Bär, which is a private bank, is for the first time the main sponsor of this year's festival. They fit really good together as a sponsor since "fine dining", "fine cooking" is an emotional experience like "fine banking"

Nine most innovative Japanese chefs were invited:Hisato Nakahigashi, Masayasu Yonemura, Hiroki Yoshitake, Kei Kobayashi, Keisuke Matsushima, Tohru Nakamura, Hideki Matsuhisa and Nobu Matsuhisa and "Head Sushi Chef" Akifumi Sakagami offered the guests, with their own individual cuisines, an incomparable culture event experience.
The St. Moritz gourmet festival started with the Grand Julius Bär opening, which took place on 01.25.16 at the Kempinski Grand Hôtel des Bains.
The president of the festival-event-organization Reto Mathis had the goal to create a unique variety of Japanese cuisine experience and he succeeded , because more than 40 enjoyable events like the individual gourmet dinners and Gourmet Safaris, the Kitchen Party and the Illustrious kitchen whispering, the highly elegant occasion Fascination Champagne and various wine events, the culinary tour, the Tasting Event, high alpine sushi Kaiseki & Blizzards by Usagiyama and the chocolate Cult melt-in for lovers temptations were all fully booked and all the guests gave a positive feedback.

 The far eastern and festive decoration at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains, St. Moritz opened the door to 400 guests. All guest chefs were together during that evening and the guests had the possibility for a first tastings of their cooking skills at various gourmet islands. Fine champagne, wines, spirits and delicious food were served and later on there was an after party with a live music band, that created a great atmosphere.

Me and Nadia Damaso author of nr.1 bestselling cookbook "Eat better not less"

short profile of the guest chefs:

Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, restaurant Matsuhisa, Beverly Hills (USA), 1 Michelin star, "One of the 11 Most Influential Chefs of the Decade "(Madrid Fusión, 2009)," Who's Who of Food and Beverage in America "(James Beard Foundation, since 2002)," America's 10 New Best Chefs "(Food and Wine Magazine, 1998),, hosted by chef Michel Jost, Badrutt's Palace Hotel ***** Superior, St. Moritz,

The celebrity chef, known as Nobu was born in Japan and is an eye-formed sushi master.He opened his first restaurant in Peru when he was 24 years old. He is known for his combination of Japanese cookery with Latin American influences.
His kitchen conquers the world and has received many awards. Among others, he has opened 39 restaurants, spread in 34 cities in 5 continents. His restaurant in Beverly Hills called Matsuhisa is legendary as well as the famous Nobu in New York.
With 66 years he is considered to be one of the most influential chefs and it was a great honor for me to taste the tuna sashimi salad rolls on skewers and black cod, butter lettuce, crispy kataifi topping ,which I really enjoyed.
His cooking philosophy goes into the food and straight to his heart.

Hiroki Yoshitake, Restaurant Sola, Paris (FR), 1 Michelin star, winner of the "japonais Red U-35" Awards (2013/14), "Best New Concept "Award (Restaurant Association of Singapore, 2010),, hosted by chef Gero Porstein, Carlton Hotel ***** Superior, St. Moritz,

His specialization is in French cuisine with Japanese accents and he likes to treat his dishes as artworks, by creating agricultural works of art.
Before he became a chef he had a training period at the local La Rochelle. He worked for many years in France with three- star chef Pascal Barbot besides others. In 2009 he opened his first restauarant in Singapore and one year later he opened a second restaurant "Sola" in Paris with Sake Samurai Youlin Ly. After that he obtained his first Michelin star. Thanks to his tremendous good work and his driven passion for haute cuisine, he received further awards. His steep career makes him definitely a rising star.
He created the following dishes: Scallop tatar, turnip and herring. and tourteau chawanmushi.

Kei Kobayashi
, Restaurant Kei, Paris (FR), 1 Michelin-Stern,, zu Gast bei Küchenchef Fabrizio Piantanida im Grand Hotel Kronenhof***** Superior ,

The native Japanese comes from a family of cooks and at the age of 21 he went to Paris, where he worked for seven years with Alain Ducasse besides others. He is known for cooking vegetables in various ways. In his cuisine you will find exactness, aesthetic, harmony of colours and delicacy of flavours. He follows this philosophy for years and as mentioned before his specialisation is the preparation of vegetables and mixing spice. In 2011 he made his dream come true by opening his own restaurant "Kei" in Paris. His dishes are certainly interesting for vegetarian as well as non- vegetarian.
He served the following dishes:Tartelette au fromage blanc, Gnocchi à la truffle and jambon Ibérique.

Hideki Matsuhisa, Restaurant Koy Shunka, Barcelona (ES), 1 Michelin star,, hosted by Chef Markus Rose Hotel Giardino Mountain ***** Superior, Champfèr / St. Moritz,

He is the first Japanese cook to have ever been awarded a Michelin Star in Spain for his art of cooking (2013).His combination of Japanese receipe combined with Spanish products and ingredients  of the highest quality made him well known in Spain and all over the world.

In Toyota where he was born he learned cooking in his father's restaurant. At the age of 25 he arrived at Barcelona and there he met Ferran Adrià , which he describes as one of the happiest coincidences in his life. With the age of 43 he is also well known in the circle of inspirational master chefs. At the next day I was invited at the gourmet diner at Giardino Mountain, where I could try five dishes of the chief Hideki Matsuhisa, which we come later to.
At the Grand Julius Bär opening he served the following dishes: Oyster, tobiko, Jerusalem artichoke , kombu kelp air, nabicol soup with wasabi, green sisho pesto and white fish.

Akifumi Sakagami, Restaurant Sushi Ginza Onodera, Tokyo (Japan), Head Sushi Chef, hosted by Chef Christian Ott in Hotel Schweizerhof **** Superior, St. Moritz,

The 42 years old gastronomy expert is known as one of the most adventurous representative in a very positive way. His life dedication  to "traditional Edomae Sushi" has paid off, because of his many years of experience with different great masters. Besides his own restaurant in Tokyo he opened six more, from Honolulu to Paris and Shanghai. His signature dish is a vacuum packed white fish"Kobujime", which involves a procedure of fermentation by sandwiching the fish in kelp. He says that his philosophy of cooking is to find the highest quality ingredients and creating a incredible taste.
He served the following dishes : Salmon Sushi and Steamed Octopus.

Keisuke Matsushima, Restaurant Keisuke Matsushima, Nizza (FR), 1 Michelin-Stern,, zu Gast bei Kurt Röösli, Hotel Waldhaus*****, Sils-Maria,

The 38 years old chef cook was trained in France and he is an exceptional representative of the "JapoNice" style. The authenticity and the refinement with which he has mastered French haute cuisine, makes his dishes unique.What is interesting about his creations is his interpretation of French haute cuisine in a modern way. His philosophy of cooking is to express his Japanese roots in his dishes. mainly by the Japanese skills of the art of cooking and the awarness of the original taste. He was awarded one star by the Micheline Guide at his restaurant Keisuke Matsushima in Nice.

He served the following dishes: Huitre aux agrumes and Cromesquis de foie gras.

Tohru Nakamura, Restaurant Geisel Werneckhof, Munich (D), 1 Michelin star, "Chef of the Year 2015" and 4.5 F (GOURMET) "Discovery of the Year 2013" (Gault Millau), 18 GaultMillau points, "Newcomer of the Year 2013 '(Rolling Pin), International Eckart Witzigmann Award - "young" (2011),,***** Hosted by chef Matthias Schmidberger the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains Superior, St. Moritz,

He is the son of a Japanese father and a German mother and he can already look back on a fantastic career at the age of 32. He was awarded a Micheline Star and celebrated by GaultMillau with the title as: "Discovery of the year". The magazine "Feinschmecker honoured the chef cook with the title "Chef of the year 2015". He works as a chef de cuisine at the traditional Munich restaurant Geisels Werneckhof. His cuisine is inspired by the seasonal Euro-Asian dishes. He won even several championships for young cooks during his training. At tje opening I had the possibility to ask him what he would recommend to cooks that would like to become a chief. He said that the best way to create a good career is to be dedicated to the haute cuisine as much as possible and to practice a lot. It takes a lot of effort and patience to become a chef.
He served the following dishes:Tatar Langusitine, calf filet, Myoga, Wasabi and crispy ginger.

Hisato Nakahigashi, Restaurant Miyamasou, Sakyo-ku / Kyoto (JP), 2 Michelin stars,, hosted by chef Hans Nussbaumer at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz ***** Superior,

More than a hundred years ago his grandfather  opened the Ryokan Miyamasou, which is a hostel for pilgrims on their way to nearby temple. The chief cook Hisato Nakahigashi and his wife Sachiko opened a traditionally furnished Japanese hotel and restaurant. He received two Michelin stars for his culinary art"Tsumikusa"which means freshly picked. For his everyday cuisine he picks the ingredients in the nature, which is his philosophy of cooking. He gets his inspiration from all culinary styles and modern preparation methods. This kind of inspiration flow into his dishes. Before his big success  he spent some training years with Alain Ducasse in France besides others.

He served the following dishes: Fried prawn, Sio Kokji, Bekko An, Yuzu, Sweet potato Mitarashi, Dango, black sesame and soy syrup.

Masayasu Yonemura, Restaurant Yonemura, Higashiyama-ku / Kyoto (JP), 1 Michelin-Stern, „Best Cookbook Design“-Award und „Best Cookbook Cover“-Award (2006),, zu Gast bei Küchenchef Fabrizio Zanetti, Suvretta House***** Superior, St. Moritz,

His restaurant called Yonemura is situated in his native town of Kyoto, which was awarded with a one Michelin star shortly after its opening in 1993. His teacher was Seiyougosho Okumura, who introduced him to the universe of Haute Cuisine. He took it to a whole other level when he started collaborating with All Nippon Airways(ANA), where he developed the menu for the business class passengers. His philosophy is to combine Japanese and French Haute Cuisine with unexpected ingredients. He has always a flash of inspiration which a lot of his guests appreciate very much.

He served the following dishes: Sushi with ratatouille, boiled sardines, Japanese pepper, Apple pie, crab salad and sauteed foie gras.

Gourmet dinner at Giardino Mountain
At the gourmet dinners which took place in the restaurants of the nine partner hotels, the guests could enjoy the diversity of Japanese cuisine in a variety of styles, from "Traditional Edomae, Sushi "and Japanese-Latin American creations , fantastic aromas Japanese vegetable dishes , the French-Japanese haute cuisine and to Spanish-Mediterranean traditional natural cuisine "Tsumikusa" The chef cook Hideki Matsuhisa, who I have mentioned before, created a delicious five-course meal for the guests. All gourmet dinners were extremely well attended, since it is a really incredible and rare experience. If there is an ingredient that someone does not like , the guest has the possibility to receive an other menu or they leave the ingredient out, which is a good service and really guest friendly.




Tasting at the Kempinski
Grand Hôtel des Bains
Wednesday, 27.01.16 was my last day in St.Moritz and I stopped by the tasting at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains before heading back to Zurich.
Gourmet fans(like me) and catering professionals took the opportunity to go toThe Tasting at the Kempinski Grand Hotel des Bains St. Moritz and to discover the latest trends in gastronomy. At various stalls fine drinks and delicacies were offered and there was a stand where they sold various great cookbooks of haute cuisine.
Every guest had the possibility to start a discussions with the experts of the festival partner of Caratello wines St.Gallen, CERUTTI "Il Caffè", HANAMARUKI Foods Inc., HATECKE, Laurent-Perrier Suisse SA, Martel AG St. Gallen, Nonino Distillatori SpA, the Rageth Comestibles AG, Vals and the bookshop WEGA out.
Caratello wine is based in St. Gallen and they offer a wide range of high quality Italian wine from different producers and the prices are reasonable.
They stand out from the competitors not only because of their tasks or large assortment but by the interpretation of their or better expressed by its value notions. They do not believe in blind tastings, as the wine is only palatable when all the senses have been used.
If all important points are involved such as: sympathy, trust, pleasant atmosphere, the glass from which we drink, the label on the bottle, people who accompany us and the history of wine, then it is clear which wine someone would choose.
Calvisius Caviar- Fresh sustainable caviar
The Calvisius Farm was founded in the 1970 and the quality of the caviars is still on a very high level. The clean taste of the caviar is really unique and I can confirm that because I have tried "Beluga", which is characterized by large eggs(bigger than 3 millimeters).It is one of the rarest and most costly eggs, but the taste is just unforgettable and you can eat this caviar without bread, because compared to other caviar it is "Malossol quality" like Russian people would say, which means low in salt content. It is one of the best caviar that I have ever tried in my life.
Last but not least was my stop at the stand of a Japanese liquid called Shio Koji, which is a Japanese traditional seasoning produced by fermented rice koji and salt. The ingredients are very simple and natural without any artificial flavor, color and additive. The best part of this liquid is not only the excellent and light taste, but it has 0 calories. The Japanese use it to marinate meat or fish, by paying attention on the quantity they put. Their rule is to use Shio Koji - 10:1 in relation to the meat or fish. They use it also when they eat salad. I have already used it and I have to say that it is a good and healthy variety  to soy sauce. A lot of people are allergic to soy sauce so they can use instead Shio Koji. I had a really incredible and wonderful time and to try Japanese fish of such a high quality was a memorable experience that I will never forget. As promised I will definitely visit the different restaurant of the Japanese chef cooks, because the dishes that I tasted were really good.

Wine tasting:

Japanese chefs

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