Masterchef S03 ep1 : Horst Petermann, RICOS KUNSTSTUBEN Restaurant, [Zurich]
Interview with Horst Petermann
Petermann is a master of innovative-classic cuisine with Mediterranean infl uences. He has never been content with just emulating the French maitres, although he has long been their equivalent – he and Philippe Rochat are the only Swiss chefs to have been awarded the title of “Membre de la Haute Cuisine de France”, which is usually reserved for French chefs. Petermann’s creations have always reflected his own style and an admirable level of continuity – the ultimate prerequisite for substance and a name that becomes programmatic, like that of “Kunststuben”, the name of the restaurant that Petermann and his wife Iris opened on the shores of Lake Zürich almost 25 years ago and that has become one of the most exclusive addresses in Europe.
It is very disciplined what we do. You must dream from this business.
I have a lot of people from the Opera coming here, Placido Domingo, Kate Flemming, Frau Guberova,
Cecilia Bartoli, all are regular guests in my restaurant.
My father was a very strong man and we did not have a good time when we were kids in Hamburg,
when I was 17 my uncle come and he say I have a place for Horst in Hotel Vierjahrzeiten in Hamburg,
We were more than 500 people and there were 300 guests. That is in Europe no more possible. The 3
year apprenticeship was a very hard time for me
After the military service I say to my father I want to go to France Hotel Ritz Paris. I sent my certificate
and everything that was necessary including CV and then the people say the certificate is fantastic but
you must speak French and then my friends at the Vierjahrzeiten said to me why don’t you go to
Switzerland and in 1965 I go in [Hotel] Bouroullec. I have a very good connection now with this hotel.
The director made a stage[work experience] at this time, he was in the hotel school in Lucerne and
then he make a stage in his hotel of his papa and there we were together , very young, and now he is
the director of this hotel. Maybe with the Dolder Grand maybe the best hotel in this place, one of the
best in the world.
The Vierjahrzeiten was a little German style. In Switzerland in 1965 it was the cooking based from
Escoffier. In this time it was the best, no? Maybe one of the best kitchens in Zurich.
After the Bouroullec I go to Hotel National Lucerne. That was the place of Escoffiers. Escoffier worked
in the Hotel National Lucerne. And the chef was from the south side of Switzerland Mr. Chiampini, he
was my teacher. I was three years at his side, he taught me everything. He was full of passion, full of
ideas, full of sensibility. For me he was the most important chef in my career.
When I make my plate, I see the plate. I give my sensibility to this plate and this is difficult to explain.
Many cook make good basic dish and then it is finished. After this it is your personality that carries the
Mr Chiampini was the chef who gave me all the sensibility that I need for this business. When he make
a sauce, he would say to me, make it a little bit more this way or that way… I was like his son in the
end. Later I go to other places, I worked in the Hotel Richemont, it was 1 star Michelin. I worked
outside in front of the guests. You know I would see guests like Agnelli, Carlo Ponti, Victoria Di Seca, I
was private cook for Prince Etoile de Agha Kahn, I was private cook for Ortiz Patino, the millionare
from Colombia, one of the richest men in the world and Marcel Dassault. His wife said she would like
to speak to the cook, so I went to the table, then she said I never eat a carre d'agneu like this one. You
know this was a-la-broche and the bottom of the dish, I have the potato with black truffles and all the
juice from the carre d'agneu percolated through this – this was a very good taste. I have a lot of
souvenirs from all these people.
I only worked in 5 star hotels, when I saw this place, I said no never, I would never work in such a
place, and now we have renovated the place. Then my wife said "Horst , here live the richest people of
Switzerland!" This area is called Gold Kiss.
When I arrived here in 1981 I had 15.5 points [Gault Millau] and then come the tester from Gault
Millau and say the head of Gault Millau Switzerland, he say "Horst we want to make the guide
presentation in three months in your restaurant". In Germany they were launching in Witzigmann's
restaurant. The result in the end was I received 17.8 and then I was cook of the year and invited to
Paris where we had an assembly of the best cooks of Europe in the Jules Verne restaurant [Eiffel
Tower]and there I see all the big chefs for the first time – George Blanc, Haeberlin, Pierre Gagnaire –
he was sitting beside me on the table. This was the first time that I was cook of the year. One year later
Michelin gave me my first star and two years later the second star. I have now 26 years, 2 stars from
Michelin. In1989 I was second time cook of the year with Gerard Rabine from Montreaux. We were
invited together with Freddy Girardet to Paris– Freddy Girardet was "Cook of the Siecle" with Bocuse
and Witzigmann. And we was cook of the year in Europe the second time. Then in 1997 I was again
cook of the year – there was no one in Switzerland that had been cook of the year three times!
I work with El Bulli together in Capri. We have a big evening together with 4 big chefs including Lefre
Purcell from Montpellier – he made the pigeon with chocolate, Dieter Muller a 3star Michelin Chef
from Germany make the first plate, I made the plate with fish. I took only the product of this area.
There was the best tomato, the best artichoke, there was the best orange there was the best
rouge[fish] . The fisherman give me 1000 rouge and we needed only 200 small fillets. I prepared them
in a hotel in Positano – a beautiful hotel. The chef was a young chef , he said to me "Horst you can
make the amuse plas here and then we bring this with the boat to Capri".
When we have a wonderful product I want not to hide my product. For me it is the most important to
see what I have. When we have a nice Coquilles Saint-Jacques [scallops] , I don’t need a thousand
different things to mask this wonderful Coquilles Saint-Jacques.
In Le Richemont, there was a guest who was important for gold – a gold expert. A very difficult guest.
When he was at the table with his wife, he would not accept when the orange juice arrived from the
kitchen, he wanted to see a waiter squeeze the orange juice at the table , a very complicated guest.
I make for him one plate and then he say to the Manager ; the preparation was excellent but the
quality of beef was shit. I go to my chef, my chef was very old no, Mr. Scherrer, he would have been
more than 65 years of age who used to keep his dentures [false teeth] in the drawer. He had bad gum
pain when he used them. He said to me, give me my dentures! He put them in. Without saying hello to
the guest, he took one receipt from the beef supplier, the best beef we could buy, and then he threw
this receipt onto the guest's table. The guest was shocked. He told the guest that he was not welcome
for one year in the hotel.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Horst Petermann, RICOS KUNSTSTUBEN Restaurant, [Zurich]