Monday, January 6, 2014

Meet Walter- Country Gourmet Traveler

 Walter at  Shakelton's hut in Antarctica

I have been reading Walters blog Country Gourmet Traveler for a number of years, I was fascinated by the far away, exotic places he traveled I remember Antarctica and fairly recent ones of amazing food markets in Ghana. He is a 5 star trained chef, with talent but you will find his recipes elegant and doable even as a home cook. I asked Walter if I could interview him to introduce you all to him and his wonderful story. 

So Here goes

1. Tell us a little about yourself, how long have you been a chef. I enjoyed following your trips around the world on the ship.

At the tender age of 11 my teacher told me that I will be a chef one day as I had just written an essay about a week the whole class spent together in the Appenzell Region of Switzerland. I had kitchen duty and the way I wrote about it, she was convinced that I would become a chef one day........which did happen. 3 years later I already had to start deciding what I wanted to do after school and when I told my dad that I want to become a chef, he at first did not believe me, but gave me all his support.......then with 16 I was finished with my school end of March on a Friday, moved over the weekend away from my parents to Zurich and started my apprenticeship on Monday in one of the 5* Hotels.

I never looked back, I enjoyed every single moment as a chef, that means the past 28 years I am doing what I really love to do.

After 3 years of apprenticeship I went to Geneva, to learn French and of course more about French Cuisine. Working in a 5* hotel I got into the Michelin starred restaurant after 6 month of hard work, wow, how I love fine dining.

After that I spent some more years in Michelin starred restaurants in Switzerland before leaving the country. I always wanted to travel, but was still too young to go very far, so I went to Germany.

2 years later I was offered a position in South Africa, of course I took it immediately and even so I just wanted to stay for 2 years, I actually stayed there for 9 years......yes I liked it a lot. Then I went back to Switzerland for 3 year, working in the rather fashionable place of St. Moritz.......and then I went to the ships

Vladivostok Fish Market
For 7 years I cruised the 7 seas, I have seen most corners of the world and went to some amazing places like Antarctica, the North Pole (just where the ice starts), South America, the Amazon River, the Mediterranean, Alaska, Caribbean, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, just to name a few.
Till I left the ships, had a great time in Ghana and ended up here at Soneva Fushi, one of the top resorts in Maldives

2. I love your food market posts, particularly the ones in Ghana where are your favorite markets?

Tokyo Fish Market
I was very fortunate to be the Executive Chef of a cruise ship called "The World" where all the cabins are actually residences bought by our guests, so some of them live there for several month of the year. During two and a half years I sailed on The World around the world and part of my job description was to go out in every port, buy fresh fish and vegetables on the local markets and go to the Delicatessen shops to buy goods for our own Deli on board. So I went around the world visiting some of the most amazing markets. I love especially the fish markets like the old fish market in New York, then Tokyo and Sydney Fish Market and all the vegetable and fruit markets in South America and Asia

Vegetable Market in Vietnam

3. Has all the travel influenced your cooking as a chef?

Absolutely. To see the world, the different cultures, the different foods, the tasting the markets, that has all influenced me a lot. One thinks a lot more open about fusion, about local ingredients and combining them with other cuisines. There are no more limits

4. What are your most visit foodie places ?

Apart from Markets I love to go to gadget shops, I love to see what is on the market for "house wives" I have my dream kitchen in my mind and I know that within the next couple of years I will be able to realize my dream.....

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