Catch the taste of modern Swissness

IN ITS third consecutive year, the annual Swiss Festival at the Moevenpick Hotel lived upto to expectations and was a great success. The unique event, which closed last week was themed 'modern Swissness' ...

By Joyce Njeri (Staff Writer)

Published: Fri 13 Apr 2007, 11:20 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:46 PM

and showcased a complete different approach to Swiss cuisine and music. Two master guest chefs from Geneva supported the local team of chefs to prepare authentic Swiss food, while Thomas Reist and his Jazzband 'Das Haus quartett' belted out soothing, modern Jazz.

Christophe Sifferlin, Executive Sous Chef and Alexandre Stoessel, Chef de Partie, are both professionals of their kind, with a long record of working in the best hotels and cuisines of Geneva. Approaching the French side of Switzerland and its highlights, Christophe and Alexandre catered to the guests the favourites by providing Swiss Raclette and Fondue.

Raclette used to be a shepherd’s dish in Switzerland and is prepared by melting the side of a cut cheese (about 5 kg) on an oven. Each guest eats a cut of melted cheese in turn with potatoes and pickles until he has eaten to his fill.

Adding salt or mustard is a no-no and experienced raclette eaters always taste the cheese before adding pepper. Fondue is basically melted cheese in a boiling casserole in which you dip pieces of bread with a long fork. Hearty dishes come from Switzerland's agricultural background, with many made from cheese. Swiss cooking is firmly rooted in dairy products. Cheese, milk, cream, butter or yoghurt find their way into most dishes.

The country nurtures a wide and absorbing range of local cuisines, taking in influences and styles from the surrounding diversity of French, German and Italian cooking while sticking close to its rural roots.

The Swiss take the joy of communal eating to heart. For them, much as for the Italians or the French, eating is an expression of local culture, and many people have no time or patience for foreign cuisines. Just like here in the UAE, extreme cultural decentralisation in Switzerland means that if you dig below the surface of the national staples, you’ll consistently come across delicious regional dishes, either from France or Italy, relying on local ingredients.

The showcasing of French Swiss Cuisine at the Moevenpick Hotel was Christophe's and Alexandre's first trip to Dubai and they were excited to present a high quality product and a multicultural rich cuisine to the international guests of the hotel.

Coming from a family that has a culinary history, Chef Christophe Sifferlin was influenced heavily by his grand parents passion for cooking. He is known as the 'French with a Swiss accent.' Having worked in France for the better part of his life, he joined one of the most renowned hotels in Geneva more than 10 years ago, and currently holds the position of Executive Sous Chef.

With many years of experience, Christophe takes pleasure in discovering new aspects of cooking. Working in Switzerland, influenced heavily by the Italian, French, Austrian and German cuisine, makes him a big fan of culture fusion.

Discovering new recipes and new approaches to traditional dishes are some of his passions. Being a mentor for the younger members in his team, he takes a lot of pleasure out of sharing new culinary experiences with them and he likes the opportunity to have freedom for culinary creativity.

Christophe, who is French, considers the Swiss cuisine a very special one. He commented: "The fact, that it has so many influences, the German, the Italian and the French and that we are so focused on high quality, gives us a mixture with is a unique result. We are happy to come to Dubai and offer some truly Swiss experience. It was a unique trip and a great festival."

On the other hand, with a more 'country-house' like approach to new Swiss uniforms, the hostesses and service team of the Fountain Restaurant delighted the event in distinct colours of beige, white and black, elegant and figure toned long skirts and a neckline in 'Carmen' style.

The Swiss Festival was graced by the hotel's General Manager, Mr Michael Nugent and a range of highly reputated guests who included the Consul General of Switzerland, Hans Hauser, Consul Urs Lustenberger, Felix Rodel, the Area Manager Africa, Middle East, Pakistan and Iran of Swiss International Airline, as well as representatives from Moevenpick Hotels and Resorts Regional Office for the Middle East.

The event was well sponsored by Swiss International Airlines, Coca Cola, Barakat International, Nestle, Bon Café and Abela. Other sponsors included Johnson Diversey, Montes, African+Eastern, Swiss Flora, Lama Group, Lindt & Spruengli, Matrix Party Services, Chalk Line Textiles&Tailoring, Al Sadeeq Tailors and the Swiss Tourism Board.

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