The Porsche Grand Opening party, held at the Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski, jubilantly kicked off the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2023. With nearly 300 guests in attendance, the event featured the first half of the 10 guest chefs invited to participate in this year’s event. Following a champagne reception in the hotel’s “Les Saisons” restaurant, the chefs shared dishes highlighting the Middle Eastern theme for the 29th edition of this festival.
Acclaimed Guest Chefs & Middle Eastern Cuisine
As always, the opening gala presents an especially unique opportunity to sample dishes from talented chefs working around this world. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival had not hosted an opening gala event since 2020. Therefore, this year’s event was a particularly special return to the festival’s regular program of events.
The 10 guest chefs arrive in shifts, with the first group participating between January 21-23. The second group of guest chefs arrive just in time for the Kitchen Party at Badrutt’s Palace mid-week, and then finish out the festival from January 25-27. Each of the guest chefs partner with an executive chef working in the region at one of the local hotels.
The five guest chefs who attended the Porsche Grand Opening:
- Sami Tamimi, Ottolenghi – London / UNITED KINGDOM
- Najat Kaanache, Nur – Fes / MOROCCO
- Silvena Rowe, Omnia by Silvena, Dubai / UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
- Zineb “Zizi” Hattab, DAR & KLE, Zürich / SWITZERLAND
- Tomer Tal, George & John, Tel Aviv / ISRAEL
The remaining five chefs who will be attending the second half of the festival.
- Alan Geaam, Alan Geaam, Paris / FRANCE
- Athanasios Kargatzidis, Baron, Beirut / LEBANON
- Musa Dağdeviren, Çiya, Istanbul / TURKEY
- Gal Ben Moshe, Prisim, Berlin / GERMANY
- Raz Rahav, OCD Restaurant, Tel Aviv / ISRAEL
Culinary Highlights of the Porsche Grand Opening
At the Porsche Grand Opening, guests could wander around the grand hall to taste small dishes from the various tables. You also had the chance to ask questions directly of the chefs and their teams. To accompany the food, there were cold glasses of Laurent-Perrier champagne, as well as wine and other cocktails. I did not have every dish at the event, but I enjoyed everything I tried, which included a range of ingredients and preparation styles.
Here’s what the guest chefs prepared for us:
- Zizi Hattab & Maxime Luvara – Badrutt’s Palace: These plant-based dishes were packed with flavor, and they were some of my favorites of the evening.
- Merguez bun with salted lemon mustard
- Kefta tostada with mint yogurt and date syrup.
- Sami Tamimi & Fabrizio Zanetti – Suvretta House: Excellent little bites that brought some heat with herbs and spices.
- Fish koftas with sumac yogurt, red chil and dill
- Pea, spinach za’atar and preserved lemon fritters with zesty sour cream
- Najat Kaanache & Janko Glotz – Nira Alpina
- Eggplant Tfaya (tfaya is a Morrocan dish with sweet and savory flavors, often made with onions and raisins).
- Fish soup with squid – I heard a few people say this was one of their favorite dishes of the evening.
- Tomer Tal & Gian Nicola Colucci – Grand Hotel des Bains Kempinski
- Fish Tataki – Jaffa bagel, garlic salsa, sour kefir cream and black eggplant cream. This was one of my favorite dishes of the evening.
- Lamb Tartare – Leek twill and sourdough bread, pistachio tahini, burnt tomatoes vinaigrette and yogurt
- Silvena Rowe & Kari Walker – Hotel Saratz
- Green sabich salad with zhoug dressing
- Vegan Tiramisu with pistachio and Turkish coffee – The combination of the nuts with the strong coffee was delicious and not overly sweet.
The local Executive Chefs working in the Engadine-St. Moritz region also had some fantastic dishes to choose from. I especially enjoyed the two dishes from Fabrizio Piantanida of the Grand Hotel Kronenhof. For example, his “Puschlaver” Lamb Ravioli were savory pillows of comfort food. Then, for a sweet course, he served Orange Eclatante and Chocolate Opalis. It was an elegantly presented dish with different textures, and especially perfect for people who enjoy white chocolate.
For more information:
St. Mortiz Gourmet Festival, Woehrle / Pirola Events & Public Relations, +41 (0)44 245 86 94, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: I attended the Porsche Grand Opening as a guest of the St. Moritz Gourmet Festival 2023. As always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article are purely my own.