A Day with the Chef: Andreas Caminada
23 August 2015
Private Food Event for Bulthaup
It was a Foodie's dream come true last week, when I had the opportunity to join the exclusive Private Event for Kitchen & Living Space creator Bulthaup at Andreas Caminada's Schloss Schauenstein. An experience fused by the love for food. It was more than fine dining, it was more than a tasting - it was a learning experience. Hosted by the Chef himself - a handful of guests where allowed inside his Kitchen at the Trevisa for a little cooking lesson. Confirming that great cooking can be done on any level of complexity: Andreas showed us some beginner level - yet extremely tasty, recipe's that anyone can copy at home. With a good kitchen and quality ingredients - as well as the passion for 'doing it right' - anyone can master these recipe's at home. High quality home cooking is not difficult - with the right preparation, fresh ingredients and the patience not to skip any steps - its easy, its fun and its very rewarding. Andreas showcooked a whole menu for us in 1.5 hours - giving practical tipps and instructions, as well as letting us taste each dish step by step as we went along.
Our class took place in the Remisa, which is located just outside the main building of Schloss Schauenstein, in an overlookable Bulthaup Kitchen, the size that could be found in any family home. Bulthaup is a Partner of Andreas Caminada - because a kitchen is every Chef's best friend (or worst enemy, depending on the kitchen). For some people, having a great kitchen may be simply a status symbol throning in the center of a home - not utilized much. For any person that enjoys food and cooking however, having a great kitchen is by far more. The Kitchen defines the possibilities and potential of every cook, hobby, mom, or professional cook. It is a living space, a creative space - an atelier for creating and experiencing food in the same breath.
My Kitchen Advice: If you enjoy cooking, or you want to take up cooking - building your 'work' space is essential and very personal. Equip your Kitchen with the right tools - the essential which suit your requirements. Do not over-equip or clutter it with unneccessary items that you do not require. Me for example; I need a great set of knifes, a powerful blender, a large fridge, plenty of working surface and storage space - as well as good lighting (because I take pictures.) But this is very individual. If you want to enjoy cooking - the only important factor is that the kitchen is right for YOU!
The dishes Andreas showed us where a Sherry roasted Veal Cheek with a Potato Spoom, handmade Gnocchi tossed in Artichoke and tomato filets, poached Pike-Perch on an Estragon sauce, as well as a Cream Cheese Soufflé with marinated Raspberries.
The ingredients where simple - as where the cooking processes. I was surprised to notice that Andreas used 3 ingredients which I too love to use: Salt, Sugar & Alcohol. I know that these three do not enjoy the best reputation perhaps - but when cooking simple recipe's they do add that extra bit of flavour to give your food that 'wow' taste - and they might not be topping the lists of healthy foods - but they are still one thousand times better than any chemicals and flavourings contained in processed foods. So please do not feel guilty when using them in the kitchen.
My favourite dish from the recipe's Andreas showed was the Gnocchi tossed in Artichoke & Tomato filets. So I'm going to share the recipe here with you:
Ingredients for 4 People:
350g of Potato (Andreas used the type Röseler) steamed the day before so that they are super soft & kept in Fridge overnight
25g wholewheat dust
Sea Salt & Nutmeg
35-75g White Flour
Peel Potatoes and press them through a sieve. Add Eggyolk, wheat dust, butter, salt & nutmeg - mix carefully. Add 35g of Flour and mix the mass to a smooth dough. If the dough is too moist, add more Flour gradually. Form Gnocchi by hand (you can use a fork to add the typical grooves. You can create whatever shape you like - if you make them longer and thinner they become 'Schupfnudeln' - just be creative! Once you finished forming the Gnocchi - add them to boiling salt water and wait until they rise to the surface (about 2-3 Minutes). If the Gnocchi do not keep their shape in the boiling water - just add more flour to the dough and continue.
1 Heart of Artichoke - taken from a raw large Artichoke
1 red Onion finely cut
1 clove of Garlic
Basil & Estragon
4 Piece of Tomato Filets (poach tomato in boiling water, remove the peel & remove the seeds to get the filet)
Salt, Celerysalt & some icing Sugar
Cut the Artichoke Heart into slices, springkle some icing Sugar onto the tomato filets - throw it in a pan together with the other ingredients. Add some Balsamico, vegetable bouillon and butter. Cook it up into a Sauce and add the Gnocchi.
This is a great tasting alternative to the 'normal' tomato sauce. Amazing vegetarian dish which can also be made Vegan if the butter is replaced with a vegan substitute - such as almond butter.
It was hard to resist tasting too much at the cooking class - but I knew that the Food Experience, that has food admirers making pilgrimages to Andreas Caminada's Restaurant which is booked out for months in advance (!), was still awaiting me in the tiny restaurant of Schloss Schauenstein. It was a 5 course menu lunch nothing short of Caminada's reputation to captivate guests senses on several levels. Faithful to the Motto of turning food into an experience which leaves a lasting impression - Andreas Caminada and his young team aim at taking food to the next level. With the multitude of dishes being served it would completely explode the format of my Blog to name and describe them all.
The taste by any means cannot be justely described - and I feel that the images speak a stronger language of describing what I discovered. The lunch reminded me of a journey through nature - with each dish reminding me of different sujets I would expect to find walking outside through gardens, forests of mountain settings. A cucumber soup which resembled a pond, a cherry yoghurt dessert that looked like flowers coming out of a flower pot, appetizers and macarons served on a bed of charcoal coloured pebbles.
Meeting the Chef
Perhaps my subjective interpretation; but I feel that what we where shown by Andreas reflected on his personality of being very down to earth. I found that him using his skill and talent to honour beauties of natures a very noble approach. It was also the impression I had of him - Andreas seemed very humble, relaxed, and very funny! During the cooking class he was making jokes all the time, even about himself. As much as ambition is needed to reach the level that he is at - he still showed that he does not take himself too seriously. He may be a creator high level cuisine - still Andreas shares simple recipe's for everyone to download as pdf on his website www.andreascaminada.com - it is crossing this gap that gains him popularity and recognition beyond the niche gourmet audience.
I have highest respect for every Chef who has been awarded 3 Michelin Stars - reaching that level does not only require enormous dedication, hard work and skill - it does not only require the ability to create a perfect result. Earning 3 Michelin Stars requires a vision, and a strong personality & an ideaology which is told through food.
It is the point where Food becomes Art.
It was a day which by many means left a lasting impression. I thank Bulthaup for inviting me to be a part of it.
Little PS for Gourmets, Foodies & Caminada Fans:
Andreas is opening his second Restaurant in the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz in December - & its already on my 'planned to visit' list.