His restaurant, Schloss Schauenstein, is located between Zurich and Milan in the world's smallest city called Fürstenau, in the Domleschg Valley. The sophisticated restaurant is housed inside of a fary tale castle which dates back the 12th-century. Alongside the wonderful backdrop, Caminada's restaurant offers a unique culinary experience, which revolves around a respectful approach to fresh ingredients, clean flavours and vibrant colours. Andreas aims to intrigue and stimulate every sense, honing each element on the plate on a specific role, as a homage to the palate.
“We have a great culinary scene in Switzerland,” says Andreas Caminada. He should know. With three Michelin stars, 19 Gault& Millau points, and his Schloss Schauenstein restaurant ranked one of the top 100 in the world, he’s one of the reasons why. Described as the chef with “rock-star looks”, Caminada’s reputation continues to soar as he and his team create refined gastronomic experiences across three restaurants, including two Igniv restaurants located in St. Moritz at Badrutt’s Palace and Bad Ragaz.
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When food becomes art
His renowned French-based cuisine relies on simple ingredients prepared and presented in ways that look like high art. “I love the big sauces and the French process of preparation. With my French training, that will always be the foundation,” Caminada says. “ I’m very into details, precision, and the love put into what I do. Good flavour of course is essential, but the way you plate the food is also a very important part of the experience.”
He has a signature style in plating, defined by an aesthetic that brings dishes to the level of art on fine porcelain. When I ask him which of his signature dishes international diners should try, he says, “Don’t focus on just one dish. Coming in for just one dish would be like going to the opera and hearing only one song. When you come to Schloss Schauenstein, it’s like taking a journey through tastes and flavours. I have some signature dishes like trout with carrots and smoked elements. There’s also the deer with dried pear and bacon, which was one of the first dishes I created and still love to do, and frozen cabbage with mustard. So these may still appear on the menu. But we develop new menus every season – and we may transform the signatures, bring them in as amuse bouche and also make something new with them to stay creative. We have about 15 signature dishes now. But the rest of our menu changes every two months.”
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Take time to enjoy your meal
Diners who choose to step into this high culinary experience should plan to spend three to six hours at the table. “We start with five appetisers. Two little dishes and some little bites, then the 3-course or 6-course menu,” Caminada says. “It’s followed by the mignardise and friandise at the end. When creating new dishes I rely on my taste, the things I like, the products in season, what the produce farmers bring us – and on experience. I sit down with my two head chefs and together we make sure that each dish fits into the whole menu to create a full experience with new combinations.”
Caminada has his pulse on the trends heading into 2019. “In the first six or seven years we cooked with a lot of international products like lobster for example. But in the last five years we’ve focused on regional foods such as fish from the surrounding lakes and vegetables grown locally. ‘Regionality’ is beyond a trend. It’s normal now in haute cuisine. The best chefs use the finest products nearby and make something great out of them. This is still going to be the main driver of high-end gastronomy,” Caminada says. “We use local trout from the lake, micro greens and produce grown on the property around the castle where the restaurant is located. And we preserve, pickle, and dry produce from our gardens for the fall and winter season. In the winter we offer more root vegetables – celery, carrots, beets, for example. And of course we store apples, pears, and prunes grown at the castle in our cellar.”
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