In an age of extraordinary dining experiences where global gourmands dine in complete darkness or under the sea or deep within a cave or surrounded by snow or suspended in a Ferris wheel, one of the world’s most remarkable gastronomic festivals takes place a few kilometers from the highest summit in the Eastern Alps. Held each January, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival hosts epicures at a mile-high altitude for a weeklong smorgasbord of incomparable gastronomy.
Only two national cuisines of the world have been listed on the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list: French and Japanese, both of which are designated as priceless “intangible cultural” assets.
The UNESCO listing specifies authentic “washoku,” which is loosely defined as traditional Japanese cuisine that has been mastered from generation to generation by practicing numerous learned techniques that bring out the essence of each ingredient.
For years, Japanese cuisine has been a source of inspiration for chefs of haute cuisine around the world – not only for its preparation methods and the purity of its ingredients, but also for a willingness to mix tradition with modernity. The St. Moritz Gourmet Festival’s celebrated chefs will include Hisato Nakahigashi, Masayasu Yonemura, Hiroki Yoshitake, Kei Kobayashi, Keisuke Matsushima, Tohru Nakamura, Hideki Matsuhisa and Nobu Matsuhisa, as well as head sushi chef Akifumi Sakagami.
While each of the nine chefs in this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival has roots in Japan, each chef will interpret Japanese cuisine according to personal experience and philosophy. “We’ve invited some of the most innovative Japanese chefs of the entire gourmet scene,” states Reto Mathis, president of this year’s festival.
The Grand Opening at Grand Hotel des Bains will be followed by individual gourmet dinners and safaris, as well as tastings and wine celebrations. At the legendary Kitchen Party, which takes pride of place at Badrutt’s Palace, guests convene with the festival chefs amidst sizzling pans and a convivial atmosphere. This year’s Kitchen Party will feature Chef Nobu Matsuhisa cooking alongside Badrutt’s Palace Hotel chef Michel Jost.
Throughout its illustrious history, Badrutt’s Palace Hotel has been synonymous with traditional elegance and faultless service. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, Swiss Deluxe Hotels, and Swiss Historic Hotels, Badrutt’s features luxurious guest rooms and suites, which are consistently refurbished and upgraded while retaining their historic pedigree. Open only during the winter and summer seasons, the hotel is situated atop one of the most challenging ski areas in the world with superlative views of the Swiss Alps. The 2016 winter season at Badrutt’s runs from December 6, 2015 through March 27, 2016.
A two-time host of the Winter Olympics, St. Moritz has been an alpine winter resort in the Engadin since 1864 when St. Moritz hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt urged summer visitors to return in winter. For decades, the resort, which receives over 300 days of annual sunshine, has attracted the wealthy and the well-connected, as well as royalty from around the world.
With a backdrop of the glorious scenery of the Upper Engadin at an altitude of 6,000 feet, this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival will feature a commanding perspective on one of the world’s most celebrated cuisines as interpreted by nine Japanese master chefs and multiple award-winning chefs de cuisine of the partner hotels.
Advance booking of admission tickets for this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival commences on December 1, 2015. In the meantime, the latest news about the festival can be found on the website, as well as on Facebook.