A trip to Chef Andreas Caminada's restaurant in Switzerland.
Ever fantasize about being entertained by royalty and having sublime food in a grand palace? Well, while you might not see any crowned heads cavorting around there, Switzerland’s most intriguing and awarded restaurant might just do the trick: Schloss Schauenstein, the brainchild of Chef Andreas Caminada, opened in 2003 and has steadily risen to three Michelin stars and 19 Gault Millau points, a virtually unmatched combo.
Andreas Caminada, 39, is a native of Sagogn in Canton Graubünden, the region of high mountains and remote valleys, not far from where the Schloss (castle) is situated. He completed his culinary schooling that included an apprenticeship in cooking at the Hotel Signina in Laax, and continued to work his way around hotels in Switzerland and briefly in Germany until he took over Schauenstein Castle Restaurant Hotel in 2003. “I made my apprenticeship as a chef but then I had a friend who owned a pastry shop and bread bakery; I had some free time before beginning my military service so I worked with him and learned baking for three months. From then onward the sweet world has always been interesting – I enjoy its flair and creativity,” he continued. “I worked as a pastry chef for a year after my training was over and from that point in my career, pastry became important to me. Today, young chefs aren’t interested in learning about pastry and desserts. For me, learning pastry gave me a foundation of precision that I could also carry over to the kitchen from the pastry shop.”
All the food at Schloss Schauenstein is made according to Caminada’s main principle: simple ingredients, carefully prepared in striking presentations. He added, “We always aim to bring a complete and unforgettable experience for the guests. We focus both on our cuisine and our hospitality, as well as our historic roots and our regional foods and dishes. People come to Schloss Schauenstein for a great time and we want to provide exactly that.”
For the first 10 years of Schloss Schauenstein’s life under Caminada there was no pastry chef. “I did a lot of it myself, but now we have three young people in our pastry kitchen and they are a chef, an experienced pastry cook, and a beginner. When the pastry chef moves on to another job either here or elsewhere, the other two move up and a new beginner starts.”
Modernist in style for the most part, the desserts at Schloss Schauenstein are variations that focus on a single ingredient or a pair of them. One, the “burnt” cream, an old-fashioned dessert of German-speaking Switzerland, resulted from finding a collection of old plates when making renovations to a part of the castle. “We decided it would be fun to put an old-fashioned sweet on a plate that my grandmother might have used.” That said, modernist techniques are not shunned, either: “We also use liquid nitrogen to serve something in perhaps a new shape, but the base preparation is always a classic such as our quince ice cream that has butter emulsified into it. We might use new techniques for the form, but the flavor is the same as it was before we were using modernist techniques.”
While running a Michelin three-star restaurant might consume the greater part of a chef’s time, Caminada also publishes a magazine twice a year, has designed and marketed a line of chef’s knives, opened a new restaurant brand (IGNIV by Andreas Caminada), a catering business, and a foundation to develop young talented chefs and service professionals, called Fundaziun Uccelin. Caminada summed up his philosophy in starting the foundation: “It is very important to me to individually foster ambitious talent in the gastronomic industry by providing financial and mentoring support. By offering this kind of backing, we aim to pave the way for talents so that they have the opportunity to gain insights into the global culinary diversity so that they can safeguard the quality of their wonderful craft in the long run.” His talent, success, and idealism are a true inspiration to everyone in the food industry.
Schloss SchauensteinSchlossgasse 77 CH-7414 Fürstenau Switzerland
Find 'Desserts from Schloss Schauenstein' recipes in the DessertProfessional.com Recipe section or click the links below.