St. Moritz Gourmet Festival’s Mountain Brunch at CheCha Restaurant & Club

High in the Swiss Alps, on a snowy Sunday in January, the CheCha Restaurant & Club hosted a special Mountain Brunch featuring five guest chefs for the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2019. Each chef had a space in the restaurant where you could watch them prepare their special dish. In a cozy and casual atmosphere — where guests could arrive to the restaurant on skis — we had access to Michelin-star chefs and the chance to sample cuisine from different corners of Europe and Asia.

Mountain Brunch at the CheCha Restaurant & Club, January 2019
Photo credit: PPR/Witwinkel/David Hubacher

Reto Mathis, founder of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, took over the CheCha Restaurant & Club in 2017. After working for five decades in Corviglia, to his new restaurant he brings his signature Truffle Pizza, which we tasted during the Mountain Brunch. With a delicately thin crust and shaved black truffles, this special gourmet pizza proved the perfect starter to accompany the small plates from the guest chefs.

The famous Truffle Pizza from Reto Mathis

5 Guest Chefs at the Mountain Brunch

Sergio Herman, Chef and Entrepreneur, Netherlands

In 2013, Sergio Herman famously closed his 3-star Michelin restaurant, Old Sluis. You can learn more about his journey by watching the documentary: Sergio Herman, Fucking Perfect. For the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival, he partnered with Dirk Haltenhof Badrutt’s Palace Hotel. Haltenhof became the Executive Chef at this hotel in January 2018.

Team Sergio Herman and Dirk Haltenhof at the Mountain Brunch
Photo credit: PPR/Witwinkel/David Hubacher)

Zeeland oyster – smoked eel – sea buckthorn – pumpkin: This bright dish combined a fresh oyster off the shores from the Dutch province of Zeeland with smoked eel, small orange sea buckthorn berries and pumpkin.

Zeeland oyster – smoked eel – sea buckthorn – pumpkin

Guillaume Galliot – Caprice, Four Seasons Hotel, HONG KONG  

Originally from France, Guillaume Galliot works at the Caprice restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong. His restaurant has earned three Michelin stars. Fabrizio Zanetti, who partnered with Galliot during the festival, has been the Executive Chef at the Suvretta House since May 2015.

The Golden Egg: An elegant golden egg shell filled with his version of laksa, a Southeast Asian soup, and a confit egg.

Egg & Caviar

Manish Mehrotra – Indian Accent, New Delhi, INDIA

The Economic Times gave Manish Mehrota the title of “No. 1 Chef in India” for 2018. His restaurant, Indian Accent, also has locations in London and New York. At the Mountain Brunch and throughout the festival, he worked with Dariusz Durdyn, Executive Chef at the Nira Alpina hotel.

Manish Mehrotra (left) and his colleagues at the Mountain Brunch
Photo credit: PPR/Witwinkel/David Hubacher

Sweet pickle ribs – finger lime – aam papad: A spicy pork rib flavored with a special lime that looks like caviar and aam papad, a dried mango fruit leather.

Sweet pickle ribs – finger lime – aam papad

Sven Wassmer – Grand Hotel Quellenhof, Bad Ragaz, SWITZERLAND

For 2018, GaultMillau named Sven Wassmer its “Shooting Star of the Year.” He recently left his position at the 2-Michelin star restaurant in the 7132 Hotel. After taking some time off, he will be opening two new restaurants at the Grand Hotel Quellenhof in July 2019. The Kulm Hotel hosted him during the gourmet festival. He worked with Executive Chef Mauro Taufer who manages all seven restaurants at this hotel.

Sven Wassmer preparing his barley risotto at the Mountain Brunch.
Photo credit: PPR/Witwinkel/David Hubacher.

Barley risotto: Barley cooked in a smooth kale puree and topped with shaved black truffles and kale chips.

Philippe Mille – Le Parc, Domaine les Crayères, FRANCE

Philippe Mille works as the Executive Chef at the Le Parc restaurant in Reims, France. Located at the Domaine Les Crayères hotel, his restaurant has earned two Michelin stars. In 2011, he won the Meilleur Ouvrier de France award. Graziano Caccioppoli, with whom Mille was paired with during the gourmet festival, is in his first season as Executive Chef at the Carlton Hotel.

Champagne et homard – royale d’oignons doux – lentillons au Pinot Noir: A generous piece of lobster with champagne, a soft and creamy sweet onion custard and lentils with red wine.

Champagne and Lobster

And for dessert…

Following these decadent, flavorful dishes from five master chefs, we received a selection of desserts from the CheCha kitchens, including grilled slices of sweet panettone with zabaione, a light Italian custard. We also had baba au rhum with candied orange peel, crème brûlée and more.

Pannetone with Zabaione

Unlike the formal opening night party, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival’s Mountain Brunch has a more laid-back feel to it, while still letting you experience and taste the cuisine of these talented chefs. Plus, on a clear day (which unfortunately we did not have), you will have the added benefit of incredible mountain views, especially if you sit outside on the sunny Terrazza. And when you go, whether during the gourmet festival or not, don’t forget to try the Truffle Pizza.

For more information about the CheCha Restaurant & Club:

Please note: I attended the Mountain Brunch as a guest of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are purely my own.

Updated: January 9, 2023

2 replies »

  1. Have you come across Helvetia cheese? I had it in a small German community in West Virginia by the same name when young, and can’t find it anywhere.

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