With Middle Eastern cuisine as its theme for 2023, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival has invited Chef Tomer Tal to take part in this year’s event. Chef Tal’s restaurant, George & John, is located within the 5-star superior hotel The Drisco in Tel Aviv, Israel. For 2022, it ranked ninth among the 50 best restaurants in the Middle East and North Africa.
As one of 10 guest chefs, Chef Tomer Tal will be in St. Moritz from January 20 to 24, 2023. He will partner with Executive Chef Gian Nicolas Colucci at the five-star Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski. To give you a preview of what we can expect at this year’s festival, I had the chance to ask Chef Tal seven questions about his upcoming experience in the Swiss Alps.
1. How did you first learn about the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival?
I think that in recent years I have been exposed to the festival, the more my work has become more and more international, the more details about the St. Moritz festival have been revealed to me. I started following very closely what was happening via the website for the festival.
2. Have you ever traveled to Switzerland before? If so, when and where did you go?
The truth is that I didn’t really stay in Switzerland – I passed through Zurich, and spent a few days there, but I didn’t really get to experience Switzerland as much as I would have liked. I am very excited to see and experience the cuisine and regions in Switzerland.
3. What is your impression of Swiss food?
The only thing I can say is that the cuisine in Switzerland is 180 degrees different from the cuisine I’m used to – I’m very curious to explore and study it in depth.
4. What do you hope to gain from your participation in this year’s festival?
The most important thing is of course the ability to reach more and more people in the professional circles and most importantly to reveal my food culture to the guests. Besides all these, it is very fascinating to learn from colleagues in the field.
5. What do you want to teach people about Israeli cuisine during your time in St. Moritz?
There is something in the Israeli food culture that is a little bit of everything, East and West, local ingredients, and the composition of a dish that tells the story of a people gathered from different places. It’s exciting and interesting to see the audience’s reactions to this food.
6. As the guest chef of Executive Chef Gian Nicolas Colucci of Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, how are you working together to plan the menus for all your various events?
We will make sure to bring out the uniqueness of each of us and make an extraordinary collaboration. We will bring combinations of tastes and aromas in the form of dishes that are a common “dance”. Right now everything is being worked on behind the scenes.
7. What are you most looking forward to at this year’s St. Moritz Gourmet Festival?
To learn new things, to give 100% of myself, to find partners for the journey and of course to enjoy the journey.