Vegetarian? Vegan? Or even a fruitarian?

Well, I am, let’s just say, an “omnivore”, meaning that these days at least, it feels like being an outsider. Admittedly, I did once give up meat for eight years – for ideological reasons. But after eight years, I was defeated by a tasty piece of Hungarian salami.

But let’s get back to the matter in hand… Anyone who wants to be hip, goes vegan and vegetarian and gluten intolerance is mutating into widespread disease, the same going for lactose. No wonder retailers, above all the two “orange giants” have got themselves into good order and now offer tasty alternatives for more or less every diet. And restaurants are also not missing out on this trend: for a surcharge, many places will now offer you your candlelit dinner with gluten-free pizza, lactose-free ice cream or an oxtail soup that has never seen an oxtail. If you’ve never been in such a spot, you’re just not hip. But when I see most of these people, sitting in their local, sipping a double espresso macchiato with a load of lactose-free milk while munching on a gluten-free muffin, I’m no longer so sure if I want to be hip. These are the moments in which it becomes clear to me why, when in clothes shops with hip fashions from size 38, it is pointed out in the friendliest possible manner pointed that I’m not going to find anything here. Nevertheless, I did once buy a T-shirt for my mother in just such a store – size L. My mum is just 170 cm tall and slender (as it is, she was a top sportswoman and gymnastics teacher). But when she looked at the thing, she asked me if I’d got it from the children’s department. I ended up exchanging it for a size XXL shirt. Frustration. Especially for my mum, who has always taken care over her figure.

But back to the food. The topic is omnipresent in the media as well. Cooking competitions, restaurant and cooking programmes are more popular than ever. TV chefs like Jamie Oliver, Frank Rosin, Andreas C. „Studi“ Studer, Ralf Zacherl and Tim Mälzer stand in front of the camera and show us how quickly you can conjure up a delicious, Gault Millau worthy, meal for the whole family.

So it’s hardly surprising that the Chef’s Symposium, taking place on 19th – 22nd January in the five-star hotel, „The Capra„, is causing such great interest. No less than 15 “stars and points” chefs will be busying themselves with all things food during this time. Cooking, talking about food speeches and bringing their experience and knowledge. Amongst them is the Swiss cooking legend, Irma Dütsch.

Nothing against haute cuisine, but sometimes I like to keep things simple, grounded. And let’s be honest: Even if I were to get hold of the recipe for the delicious lobster that we recently ate in a restaurant in Saas-Fee, I wouldn’t be able to go home and cook it for myself. And this has nothing to do with the fact that I don’t like tipping live animals into boiling hot water. I’m really much more interested in what other people usually have to eat. What they like to cook and why. So I’ve have a good listen to my colleagues and have collated here a few of their favourite recipes. Having a go yourself is allowed.

Monika Kessler