Masterchef S01 ep4: Anton Mosimann, Mosimanns Restaurant, [London]

Interview with Anton Mosimann

Japan was a tremendous experience for me. The Japanese style of cooking was all about freshness, the way it is cooked, or not cooked at all. Even the presentation was an eye opener for all of us, but especially for me. I absorbed a lot of the techniques and ideas from the Japanese culture and start thinking 'This is the way of eating and I like it, no cream no butter'. In St. Moritz I worked at the famous Palace Hotel with the head chef Monsieur de France. De France trained in London at the Savoy hotel with Escoffier. Escoffier was the head chef and de France was the commis. He was 85 years of age and it was an incredible experience for me.

 

00.03

KM: What is Mosimann?

It is an old church converted into a restaurant, in fact a private dinning club. It was converted about 50 years ago and I have been here about 13 years and changed again everything when I came, the bar, the private rooms.

00.18

00.26

You have to be a member or invited by a member to come and dine here.

00.30

00.41

For me it is my life, every experience I collected along the way on my trips or my working situations is in here.

KM: Why cooking?

I always loved it. I learned cooking when I was a child with my father and my mother who were trained chefs.

KM: This is in Switzerland?

Back in Switzerland that is right. So I went to the market with my father for instance, selecting all the fruits the vegetables etc. and the smell of freshly baked bread….

01.10

01.20

I learned the French style of cooking when I was an apprentice that was the classic cuisine of course in a very moderate way.

When I went to Villare of course it was in a big way. The best only, the most expensive ingredients, the foie gras, the truffles, you name it everything was there.

KM: You are really known for you revolution in gastronomy rather than your evolution in gastronomy.

That came a bit later. After Montreaux, I went to St. Moritz and worked at the famous Palace Hotel with a man called de France. Mr. De France was the head chef.

In fact Mr. De France worked in London at the Savoy hotel with Escoffier. Escoffier was the head chef and de France was the commie.

KM: How old was this guy?

He was 85 years of age, I mean just incredible.

02.09

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

2.14

KM: What was so special about Escoffier?

Escoffier put it all on paper. He put in a line, an organisation, a name, so you knew exactly what to expect.

KM: But before that , was there a structured concept of gastronomy?

There was, but not as clear as Escoffier . He really cleared it up somehow. I mean there were chefs before him. There was Caren and others, but Escoffier put it in the frame work.

02.37

02.39
Then I went to Japan and that was where I really broke through. Japan was a tremendous experience for me.

KM: What was it about the Japanese style of cooking and concept of cooking that was really very different to you?

The freshness, the way it is cooked, or not cooked at all.

KM: Yes

Presentation, all that was really an eye opener for all of us, but especially for me because I absorbed a lot from that system and that is where I start thinking 'hey that is the way of eating and I like it, no cream no butter.'

In fact at the Palace Hotel in St Moritz we used gallons of cream every day and kilos of butter.

03.23

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

03.39

KM: When you take away the cream and butter, what do you use as the conduit of flavour in your cooking?

You see you don' t have to necessarily, because you steam your food, you grill your food, you poach your food, so you don't necessarily need fat to do that.

Of course so then you have the real answer of taste. You have the honest flavour of chicken, of a piece of fish or whatever. I mean a steamed fish with a tiny bit of olive oil, a few tomatoes a bit of herbs, fantastic, fresh, honest healthy great food.

04.12

04.16

KM: When you first started saying these things and thinking these things, what was the reaction amongst your chef contemporaries? They must have thought you were nuts at the time.

I am sure they did, some of them certainly did.

KM: Where were you when you first started espousing this concept?

I was in London.

KM: Where you were at the Dorchester?

Yes I was at the Dorchester.

Some of them obviously could not quite see it, because they did not believe in it. They did not know the concept. But once they had experienced the food, they said 'hey, you know that is really good food'.

04.45


Jewellery Theatre Elements

04.50

In the olden days when you covered everything in heavy thick sauces, you know cream, butter ..

KM: It was camouflaged.

Exactly a lot. Today you don’t. You just take the best piece of fish, put it in a steamer after three minutes take it out put it on a plate, add a bit of garnish - wow. That is great food for me.

05.07

05.13

We do a lot of outside catering for special events. As you know I'm a royal warrant holder by appointment to Prince Charles, for himself and many of his friends.

KM: Yes but how many ways can you serve eggs and bacon though?

Laugh - it is a bit more than that.

In fact we have a party today at St. James Palace.

I am very pleased to be there and also a party at No. 10 today, so there we are!

05.43

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

05.45

KM: When you did the Red Cross Ball, what was the actual brief for that?

The brief was that people actually had dinners in all different parts of London and then came together to have a desert buffet.

05.57

OFFICIAL WEBSITE:Anton Mosimann, Mosimanns Restaurant, [London]