The sky over the city of Basel is gray this afternoon. But if you go to the restaurant Stucki of the top chef Tanja Grandits at Bruderholzallee, you are happy for the warm welcome. With its creative aroma kitchen, Grandits has surpassed hearts to guests and critics for more than ten years. The restaurant has since been awarded 18 "Gault Millau" points and 2 "Michelin" stars.
André Kneubühler works in the kitchen. Over a month ago, the 25-year-old chef, Tournant, from the Bözberg district in Gallenkirch, was voted best young chef in 2019 on a galaxy night in Zurich. The magazine "Marmite New Swiss Cuisine" is looking for the biggest talents (up to 30 years) at the oven in the eighth time. Kneubühler made his second appearance on "Marmite Youngster" after the last competition in 2015 and really kicked off what was worth his time. With the prestigious title, he has now qualified for the semi-final of Golden Chef – the Swiss culinary arts (without age limit). Now, Bözberger looks forward to competing in the higher league with other chefs.
Continuing education in New York
The young chef, who had completed his apprenticeship at the post restaurant in Bözen, has been fine for a while now. When this newspaper first portrayed him just four and a half years ago, he had already looked at the pan with celebrity chef Anton Mosimann in London and accompanied him to the Sochi Olympics in 2014 as one of 36 "Mosimann" chefs. Then Kneubühler got the benefit of a special campaign for young talent. As the first fellow of the Andreas Caminada Foundation Fundaziun Uccelin, he was able to continue his education for 20 weeks with four star chefs and three producers in Germany and abroad.
In addition to stations in Graubünden – included with Caminada – Kneubühler has also worked with Tanja Grandits in "Stucki" and Daniel Humm in New York. At the second station in New York, the Blue Hill restaurant, the cooks were sent to the field or farm every morning, and sometimes to the forest to dig out roots. The ingredients were freshly processed. Kneubühler likes this versatility and the history of the products. He really flourishes in the kitchen. This was also noted by Tanja Grandits, who offered Bözberger a position in the restaurant Stucki in November 2017. As the Chief Tournament Kneubühler can basically be used for all posts. "Most of the time I'm on meat and fish. That's what I like best," he says and smiles.
Trees fell to smoke fish
At Kneubühlers first competition entry for "Marmite Youngster" his time was not enough for him to prepare for the occasion. At that time he worked in the Schifflände restaurant in Birrwil am Hallwilersee. The summer season was intense. He was only able to make the dish for the first time in the final. Still, Bözberger managed 9th place.
For the passionate chef, this was an incentive enough to try again three years later and aim for victory. About a year ago, he again made it to the top 20 with his application. Two months before the final, all participants were given the recipe theme "Powerful for a good reason – At Pass Lunghin, the ghosts were divorced", which they had to put on the plates,
Kneubühler traveled to Graubünden, visited among others cheese world champion Flo, whom he had met as a fellow, and had explained his products. He fell a tree, with wood that he smoked fish, and gathered the Arvennadeln. Between lunch and dinner, the Kneubühler "Stucki" took the kitchen several times and worked on the recipe. "I received many valuable tips from chef Marco Böhler." Kneubühler performed three test runs. Then his plan for the final was decided – with a precise schedule.
He had an hour to prepare for the competition. For example, he prepared cooked carrots sealed with beeswax and subjected to a fermentation process for about ten days. In the final, he treated it to a puree. He was able to convince the jury with his start-up "Water Cycle", consisting of char in Arvencoat, Carabineros and potato puree and carrot churros. "The last seven minutes were already tight," Kneubühler said.
Part of the jury, where also Tanja Grandits sat, tasted the dishes – without knowing who had prepared them – and judged among other things their taste, consistency and presentation. The other part of the jury considered the way the candidates worked in the kitchen. As so often came at Kneubühler after the final self-confidence. He had to wait months to learn about the victory.
The restaurant can wait
"You can always do something better and never have learned," says Kneubühler. In August 2014, his dream was to run his own restaurant in five years. "It would be this summer," says Bözberger, adding: "Even though I always get offers and can immediately start somewhere else or take over a restaurant. Stucki "." For the Kneubühler Grandits is a good role model. "She's still in the kitchen every day and isn't so sorry to clean her own post."
Just recently, the 25-year-old was able to accompany his chef, whom they call Mommy in the kitchen, for a special cooking in Tel Aviv. As long as such opportunities as well as participation in the Golden Chef Kneubühler challenge, the own restaurant can wait quietly still one to two years. The enthusiastic fisherman also wants to get to know the Scandinavian kitchen before one day he will take over a suitable restaurant with a good team as a manager.