Chef Daniel Lehmann

Chef Daniel Lehmann
PUBLISHED July 01, 2018

<p class="MsoNormal">With the goal of offering spectacular culinary experiences to its guests, Planhotel Hospitality Group has created &ldquo;Dining with the Stars&rdquo; at its Diamonds Resorts, a 3-month event in association with JRE, Europe&rsquo;s largest association of the best and youngest European haute cuisine chefs. JRE is open to passionate chefs under the age of 42, owners of their own restaurants, and distinguished by several national guides. During a visit to Diamonds Resort Thudufushi, The islandchief had the great pleasure of meeting with one of the JRE members from Switzerland, Daniel Lehmann. Along with his wife Nicole, Daniel is the managing director of Hotel Moosegg in Emmenmatt, Switzerland, and is as successful on the international scene as he is on Swiss soil. The resume of the 40-year-old is already flowing with numerous awards, highlighting his culinary achievements and distinct team spirit.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Chef Daniel believes in using regional and national products combined with international specialties. The Swiss culinary artist creates his own modern country cuisine. For him, it is primordial to cook with local products of the highest quality, hence why the meat and fish he uses come exclusively from the local region. Chef Daniel strives to incorporate tasteful local products to international delights.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">During The islandchief&rsquo;s interview with Chef Daniel, he told us about his days as a teenager and his dream of becoming a chef one day, his passion for mixing traditional and modern ways of cooking, and the impact of JRE on his culinary journey. Read on&hellip;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Chef Daniel, can you tell us a little about yourself?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Of course. My name is Daniel and I have a hotel-restaurant near Bern, Switzerland, called Moosegg. We have 20 hotel rooms with a 60-seat &agrave;-la-carte restaurant, with 80 other functioning places. We are proud members of JRE since 2012. I am glad to be a part of this huge family that is spread over 15 countries.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How does being a part of JRE influence your daily work?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">For me, sometimes it does not influence my work at all, other times it does a lot. It does not influence my work in the sense that for me, JRE is like a family, a community, where you obtain knowledge, share your craft and, for us, it is important that this philosophy is communicated to our guests. It is an added bonus to our work. Then, it also has an impact sometimes, such as providing opportunities, like being here in the Maldives right now.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>When did you first know that you wanted to be a chef?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I have wanted to be a chef ever since I was a kid. I grew up in the restaurants.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">I started helping in the kitchen at home when I was six or seven years old. At the age of 14 or so, I was catering for parties and before I knew it, I was in the business. My parents always told me great, go ahead, but they also told me that I had to learn something more than just cooking. So I went to the farm to see how vegetables were grown and harvested. That is when I knew I was interested in becoming a chef.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>How do you best describe your cooking style?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">That is a tough question. First of all, I like to take care of the products that I am using and the quality of the ingredients. I try to use different kinds of fruits and vegetables, and especially the fish found here in the Maldives. I try to mix the traditional and modern ways of cooking, that&rsquo;s the best way to describe my style.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is your top recommendation for guests who visit this island?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">They should just come and try something new. Last night we were lucky, as the guests really liked the dishes that we prepared during the Gala Dinner. Similarly, there is going to be a small dinner on the beach on Saturday and we hope that we will fulfill their wants once again with our new creations.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is your favorite ingredient?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">Here in the Maldives, it has to be fish. Back at home, it depends on the time of year. I love to cook fruits and vegetables as well as fish. In Switzerland, they use fish from the lakes, not from the ocean. The fishes in Switzerland are completely different from the ones we get here on the island.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is the one dish, according to you, that every chef should know how to cook?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">That is a pretty good question. Well, I feel that when a chef knows how to make the perfect omelet, he is good to go. I learned that a few years ago.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What are your views on gastronomy?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">It is hard. Switzerland is very different from some other countries. What I see nowadays is that in Europe mostly, people are not going out because they are hungry. They go out to celebrate. People should also realize the value of the right kind of food. It is tough for us; we work on days when other people have holidays because that is the most probable day when people will go out to eat.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">So you have to be flexible and that right now, in Europe, is very hard. It is tough to find good people in the front staff or at the back. So that is why I feel that it is a tough job right now. The good part is that people are more concerned about food now than they were years ago. They are interested in what is a good product and what it means to be cooking and eating a good product. For that, people are also willing to pay more. As the quality increases, the price goes higher. People like to know where the product is from and the source behind it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What does the future hold for gastronomy according to you?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">I feel that the farmers closer to the vicinity of the regions that are popular for their cuisines have taken their job up pretty seriously. They have started helping in sourcing ingredients and that is the change that I am seeing currently. More than meat and milk, farming has now shifted to vegetable farming as well. The guests like that. They just need to understand that the process is very demanding and thus, to support everyone&rsquo;s stage, the end product becomes expensive. The guests just need to understand the reason behind it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>What is next for you?</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">We invested a lot of money in the last three to four years in our restaurant. The building is over 100 years old, and now we have made it absolutely new and renovated it completely. There are a few other projects that are currently in process. Also, JRE is currently keeping me involved. All of us are from different countries, but do the same job. To come together and learn something from each other is a different experience all together. I just want the guests to have a good time, learn a little about their food and enjoy the cuisine that we have to offer.</p>

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