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Kulm Hotel hosts the Oriental Closing Night of St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival culminates at the top of St. Moritz in the iconic Kulm Hotel with a festive and flavour infused Oriental Closing Night, featuring gourmet specialities from the five remaining Guest Chefs of the second Festival Week. An amazing evening of gourmet highlights from the best chefs

around the globe.

Magical atmosphere 6,000 feet up in the Swiss Alps where guests indulge in a specialized curation of style, seasonal sports, haute cuisine, wellness, luxury, and one-of-a-kind moments.

The Kulm Hotel St. Moritz. All property images courtesy of the Kulm Hotel.

An enclave of creativity

St. Moritz remains the irresistible destination for the well travelled, ever since this world class resort pioneered winter tourism over 150 years ago. Thanks to hotelier Johannes Badrutt, St. Moritz and its first hotel, the Kulm Hotel, gained recognition throughout the 19th century for their avant-garde spirit and Swiss hospitality. In 1879, the Kulm Hotel installed Switzerland's first electric light in its Grand Restaurant, further enhancing the city's avant-garde reputation.

Main lobby Kulm Hotel.

St. Moritz is where you would go for the latest trends, and today St. Moritz offers the visitors to immerse in world-class art, shopping, sport and culinary events. Internationally renowned brands from Cartier to Piranesi align on Via Serlas, the highest luxury retail street in the world. Gem and watch enthusiasts will discover an astonishing offer of high-profile names like Swiss Gübelin Jewellery that offers sustainable fine jewellery. Art's new mecca is the World-leading contemporary and modern art gallery Hauser & Wirth, which occupies three floors in Palace Galerie, a building owned by Badrutt’s Palace Hotel-another legendary hotel.

Main lobby Kulm Hotel.

St. Moritz has long been an enclave of creativity. The surrounding area was home to the Giacometti family and Alpine painter Giovanni Segantini. Over the course of the past two centuries, a range of cultural and intellectual figures have visited and been inspired by the Upper Engadine region, from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, writer Thomas Mann and dancer Vaslav Nijinsky, to a host of artists including Gerhard Richter, Julian Schnabel, Richard Long, and Joseph Beuys.

The cosy ambience of the newly opened Kulm Country Club; featuring an alpine-chic bar and a generous sun terrace overlooking the Kulm Park.

Skiing, shopping or even playing snow polo at 1,856m above sea level is energy consuming, and the resort aptly provides another highlight since 1994, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, which has developed into an international event over the years bringing together some of the best Chefs from all corners of the world.

Kulm Hotel's Grand Restaurant.

The 29th edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival was launched on January 20 with the Porsche Grand Opening at the "Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski" in St. Moritz. LTR: Janko Glotz, Sami Tamimi, Rolf Fliegauf, Gero Porstein, Kari Walker, Maxime Luvara, Najat Kaanache, Mauro Taufer, Tomer Tal, Zizi Hattab, Fabrizio Zanetti, Fabrizio Crespi, Leo Ott, Gian Nicola Colucci, Silvena Rowe, Konstantin Zeuke, Micheal Glinski, Martin Scherer / ©All images David Hubacher.

The 29th edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival

The 29th edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival was launched on January 20 with the Porsche Grand Opening at the "Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski" in St. Moritz.

Professor Olga Mroz, Dame of Honour and Konstantin Zeuke, General Manager Kempinski St. Moritz at the opening ceremony of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival.

The evening featured an appetizer to the forthcoming 8-day-long culinary journey, centered around the finest dishes of the Middle East. Here the first five of the festival’s ten Guest Chefs - Najat Kaanache, Sami Tamimi, Silvena Rowe, Tomer Tal and Zineb "Zizi" Hattab - enchanted 300 guests and gourmands with dishes prepared by the Guest- and Local Chefs from the festival partner Superior 5-star hotels: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel; Carlton Hotel; Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski; Grand Hotel Kronenhof; Hotel Saratz; Hotel Giardino Mountain; Nira Alpina; Hotel Waldhaus Sils; Kulm Hotel St. Moritz und Suvretta House.

LTR: Cristofaro Bruno, Martin Scherer, Richard Leuenberger, Heinz. E. Hunkeler, Konstantin Zeuke, Claudia Pronk, Esther Egli, Claudio Dietrich, Peter Egli, Michael Lenhort, Marc Eicheneberger, Stephanie Lenhort / © David Hubacher.

Over the years, the program highlights have changed, but the concept remains the same and successful. Guest Chefs have carte blanche to prepare a bespoke menu for "Gourmet Dîners", to be served at the host property's dining establishment, which is worth a trip all by itself. This is the pinnacle of gastronomic indulgence when combined with Gourmet Safaris for more than a week, and everyone raves about the legendary Kitchen party held in the kitchen of the Badrutt's Palace Hotel, where Executive Chef Maxime Luvara resides.

LTR: Ueli Schiess, Salvatore Ferragamo, Peter Egli / Ferragamo - Schuhmacher und Weinbauer / © David Hubacher.

Ten top chefs from the world’s most renowned fine-dining restaurants offering the diverse cuisine of the Middle East, delighting the festival's guests at more than 40 different culinary events, with their culinary skills. The response to the Official Events and the Special Events, which have been almost fully booked, has been consistently positive.

LTR: Tomer Tal, Gian Nicola Colucci, Konstantin Zeuke / © David Hubacher.

It is inconceivable to imagine the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival without the Gourmet Safaris, which were completely sold out after just a few days this year. During the gourmet tours through the various partner hotels, guests are cooked for by one of the Guest Chefs or a Local Chef in each hotel and can enjoy a menu course seated at the chef’s table in the kitchen. Guests could go on a culinary discovery tour while traveling in style in a fleet of Porsche cars.

"Even the last few Gourmet Dîner evenings are almost fully booked," said Heinz Hunkeler, member of the festival event organisation and Director of the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz.

Left: Chef Gian Nicola Colucci, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski and his team, served best veal tartare.

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival culminates at the Kulm Hotel

The Oriental Closing Night, which took place at the Kulm Hotel St. Moritz on Saturday, January 28, marked the grand finale of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. With cooking stations representing the Head Chefs and teams of five partner hotels, the lobby of the Kulm Hotel served as the beginning point for the delightful, flavourful, and enjoyable voyage into a 1001 Night's Gourmet experience.

The five Guest Chefs, Alan Geaam, Musa Dagdeviren, Gal Ben Moshe, Athanasios Kargatzidis, and Raz Rahav (above) created the menu for this private and fully booked gala dinner; the food, presentation, and ambience are more intimate and exclusive than at almost any other event. In the magnificently adorned "Sunny Bar" of the hotel, the evening comes to a perfect conclusion. It began with an extremely lavish hot and cold mezze prepared by Chef Kargatzidis, who served, smoked cod's roe, doughnut kibbeh lamb neyyeh topped with caviar, kaumouni, arak toum, crisp taboon lamb sujouk and more. I was amazed that Kargatzidis, as a Greek Chef opened this gala dinner, but I was not surprised; as I experienced the night before at his Gourmet Dîner and in an interview earlier that day with the Chef, I understood how long term and deep his passion for this cuisine is.

Starters by Chef Athanasios Kargatzidis.

Despite the chaotic state of Beirut, where his restaurant Baron is located, and the uncertainties surrounding supply and inflation. Even though his property was devastated in the disastrous explosion and he lost the restaurant, which is located right by the harbor, he was adamant that it had to be rebuilt, and in fact, it was within three months. This demonstrated to me his commitment to this region of the world.

Chef Athanasios Kargatzidis.

Kargatzidis is a firm believer that the success of a restaurant depends on his ability to compose a menu that is strongly appealing to him personally and takes point of departure in dishes that he knows and values as opposed to guessing which dishes guests would prefer. His dishes are not a "replication of Lebanese cuisine and hospitality per se", as I understood from my talk with the Chef, rather it is Kargatzidis' personal collection of favourite flavour combinations, as he introduced to me the idea behind his approach to the Middle Eastern cuisine. It was refreshing to explore the Chef's favourite dishes and his so richly "Gourmet Dîner" menu, which he served at the edgy Kulm Country Club, where a 7-course meal was accompanied by the live music and the best service one could wish for. So, already after dining at the Kulm Country Club my initial experience of the Festival was "awesome" to use the same expression as the Chef used to describe his time in St. Moritz. Kargatzidis was Guest Chef of three-star Michelin Chef Mauro Colagreco, "a legend" is the term he used to describe Colagreco, and told me that he never felt so good being taken care of by another Chef.

Personal and dedicated menu

Equally, I have also felt so good being taken care of, at the Oriental Closing Night in a company of imminent table guests, we were still to experience plates by four other Guest Chefs. The next served was Mom's chicken soup by Chef Raz Rahav, it had a warming taste and idea behind it, the Guest Chef of Local Chef Fabrizio Crespi explained the family story behind this "family dish". It made the dinner experience very familial and intimate. Again, quite an unexpected and warm gesture from the Chef to us as guests. The special base note of this soup was a grilled chicken flavour which the Chef appreciated so much growing up.

Michelin-starred Chef Alan Geaam, creates scampo in wine leaf featuring citrus fruits.

The following dish was prepared by Michelin-starred Guest Chef Alan Geaam, from Paris, as a guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Piantanida, Grand Hotel Kronenhof. His langustine in vine leaf plays with the traditional dolma (often rice stuffed vine leaf or vegetable), however the half-cooked langustine played well against the acidity of citrus fruits in this dish. It was a very smart way of introducing seafood in the menu. Of course, there was the main course, the most delicate and historic lamb dish, Sultan’s delight (Hunkar begendi) by Chef Musa Dağdeviren, from Çiya renowned as the best Turkish restaurant in Istanbul. Dağdeviren has appeared on the Netflix show "Chef’s Table", and is the author of "The Turkish Cookbook" (2019), he was a guest of Executive Chef Gero Porstein, Hotel Waldhaus Sils. Sultan’s delight is said to have been prepared for a Sultan during the Ottoman empire who liked it so much. Another anecdote says that it was served for Empress Eugenie, wife of Napoleon III, during a visit to the Sultan at the time. Either way, this is a great gesture by probably the greatest chef in Istanbul to introduce a dish that is indeed fit for royalty and wonderfully comforting. Finding oneself in such great company and the ambience of the Hotel Kulm doesn't necessarily make you feel royal but it evokes a sense of dignity and great appreciation for the extraordinary hard work and preparations that went into this Festival that culminates in such a great evening!

This lamb dish was very different from the lamb served by Kargatzidis at his Gourmet Dîners, not only in the way it was prepared but also the flavours and spices used. While Kargatzidis proposes a very traditional Middle Eastern lamb dish, slowly grilled, Dağdeviren's lamb is very "Westernised" served on a base of eggplant-bechamel sauce. Exemplifying the versatility of the Middle Eastern cuisine and the fact that fusions are not such a new concept, but has existed since the Silk Road trade and goes back to the Roman Empire and Alexander the Great, and probably even earlier. It is exciting to understand food and dishes, how they are prepared, consumed and introduced from an anthropological viewpoint. It is a self discovery not only about our taste and likes but about us as contemporary individuals in a specific period of time.

Michelin-starred Chef Gal Ben Moshe (centre) preparing Olive oil parfait.

I do not have a similar historic reference to the next dish served, but we all agreed that night at the table after tasting it that it will become historic from now on. The incredibly smooth and complicated dessert is truly impossible to describe visually in short, so I added an image. Its creator, the Michelin-starred Guest Chef Gal Ben Moshe, from Prism, Berlin, and Guest of Executive Chef Rolf Fliegauf, Hotel Giardino Mountain, had so many praising words for his colleague that it was definitely true that participating in the Festival creates bonds and friendships that would otherwise never happen. And this may be the greatest gift of the evening; besides the best imaginable food prepared, there was an opportunity to establish the best friendships, and for this experience, which I will always cherish, I am most thankful!

Olive oil parfait with almond sablé, mandarins, olive brine pâte de fruit.

Joyful anticipation of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2024

Foodies everywhere can already look forward to the next edition of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. An anniversary will be celebrated in 2024, when the festival will take place for the 30th time. "We will announce the exact dates within the next few weeks," said Martin Scherer, President of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival Association and Director of the "Hotel Saratz" in Pontresina. He promises: "For the 30th Anniversary of the legendary St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, the organising committee has come up with something very special - time to get excited!" This sounds appetizing, and I am intrigued to discover how the Association selects a new and original theme each year and most importantly, what the next year's theme going to be. Stay tuned!

By Nermin Ahmet

St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2023 Guest chefs from 20th January to 24th January 2023:

Silvena Rowe, Omnia by Silvena, Dubai (UAE), Middle East Time Out Award for healthy food, UAE-Award “Best Healthy Restaurant”, “Innovation Chef of the Year”-Award, Top 20 in the United Arab Emirates, Gourmand Award for cooking books,, Guest of Executive Chef Kari Walker, Hotel Saratz**** Superior , Pontresina, Tomer Tal, George & John, Tel Aviv (IL), No.9 - Middle East & North Africas 50 Best Restaurants 2022, «Promising Chef of the Year 2020» GaultMillau, «One of the Best Restaurant in the World 2020» - La Liste., Guest of Executive Chef Gian Nicola Colucci, Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski ***** Superior, St. Moritz, Najat Kaanache, Nur, Fes (MA), «Best Moroccan Chef of the World», World’s 50 Best in 2020 / 2021,, Guest of Executive Chef Janko Glotz, Nira Alpina**** Superior, Silvaplana-Surlej, Sami Tamimi, Ottolenghi, London (UK), International Book Award from the James Beard Foundation in 2013, IACP Award winner and longlisted for The Art Of Eating Prize (2021), winner of the Fortnum & Mason Cookery Book of the Year (2021), James Beard Award Nominee (2022), Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Zanetti, Suvretta House***** Superior, St. Moritz, Zizi Hattab, Dar / Kle, Zürich (CH), 1 Michelin Star, Michelin Guide «Green Star», GaultMillau "Discovery of the Year" (2020),, Guest of Executive Chef Maxime Luvara, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel***** Superior, St. Moritz, Guest chefs from 24th January to 28th January 2023 Musa Dagdeviren, Ciya Sofrasi, Istanbul (TR), Chef on Netflix show “Chef’s Table”, Cookbook release “The Turkish Cookbook” (2019),, Guest of Executive Chef Gero Porstein, Hotel Waldhaus Sils*****, Sils-Maria, Alan Geaam, Restaurant Alan Geaam, Paris (FR), 1 Michelin Star, «Best Hosting 2022» Gault&Millau, 16.5 GaultMillau points., Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Piantanida, Grand Hotel Kronenhof***** Superior , Pontresina, Gal Ben Moshe, Prism, Berlin (DE), 1 Michelin Star, 16 GaultMillau points, Berliner Meisterkoch 2019, Guest of Executive Chef Rolf Fliegauf, Hotel Giardino Mountain***** Superior , Champfèr/St. Moritz, Raz Rahav, OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv (IL), No.3 - Middle East & North Africas 50 Best Restaurants 2022, Guest of Executive Chef Fabrizio Crespi, Carlton Hotel***** Superior, St. Moritz, Athanasios Kargatzidis, Baron, Beirut (LB), No.12 - Middle East & North Africas 50 Best Restaurants 2022, The «Best Restaurant in Lebanon 2022» Middle East & North Africas 50 Best, Guest of Executive Chef Mauro Taufer, Kulm Hotel St. Moritz***** Superior , The following festival partners look forward to welcoming gourmet fans to the 2023 festival: Badrutt’s Palace Hotel*****Superior, St. Moritz; Carlton Hotel*****Superior, St. Moritz; Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski*****Superior , St. Moritz; Grand Hotel Kronenhof*****Superior, Pontresina; Hotel Saratz****Superior, Pontresina; Hotel Giardino Mountain*****Superior , Champfèr/St. Moritz; Nira Alpina****Superior, Silvaplana-Surlej; Hotel Waldhaus Sils*****, Sils-Maria; Kulm Hotel St. Moritz*****Superior , St. Moritz and Suvretta House*****Superior, St. Moritz

The festival is supported by the great commitment of the following sponsors: Title Sponsor & Official Car: PORSCHE Schweiz AG; Co-Sponsors: Caratello Wines St. Gallen, G. Bianchi AG, Laurent-Perrier Suisse S.A., Martel AG St. Gallen, Rageth Comestibles AG, VALSER; Suppliers: BRAGARD SUISSE AG, CERUTTI „il Caffè“, Hugo Dubno AG, Schwob AG, Druckerei Albisrieden Zürich, Eleveur de fromages Antony; Local Carrier: Massé Transports by Fischer Limousine AG; Local Media Partner: Engadiner Post / Posta Ladina; Media Partners: Gault&Millau Channel, htr hotel revue, marmite. Booking information is available on the festival website at

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