Men on towering stilts, flame twirlers, jugglers, acrobats and a red carpet are not the most expected sight in the quiet lakeside town of Le Bouveret in Switzerland. Nestled on the shores of Lake Geneva, a half hour from the French border, the Le Bouveret campus of César Ritz Colleges Switzerland hosted the unusual spectacle to the mild bemusement of the locals.
The evening was a homage to the life and work of Chef Anton Mosimann (OBE). Over the past 5 decades, he has quietly revolutionised his industry, cooking for the rich, famous and royal and influencing a generation of chefs. Fortunately, Chef Mosimann is as good at collecting as he is at cooking and has saved every souvenir along the way. For the first time, his entire career has been catalogued in the Mosimann Collection, a beautiful, 4-storey whitewashed building attached to the campus.
Each floor is lined with luxurious carpet, beautiful display cases and impressive white orchids, giving any 5-star hotel a run for its money. Each staircase is flanked with photos of Chef with iconic legends from supermodels to presidents. Upstairs, there is even a section dedicated to the British Royal Family, including the menu from TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding (catered by Chef Mosimann) and a slice of their wedding cake.
The Claude Nobs’ kitchen is a hidden gem amongst the collection. Modelled on the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival’s iconic chalet (which has hosted every great musician over the years), hanging flowers and lights in jars adorn the ceiling. Copper pots hang from the kitchen island and a large table flanks one side of the room. This Chef’s Table is available to reserve with a private chef for those wishing to host their own future event.
The launch party is not only hosted, but also catered by, César Ritz Colleges and Culinary Arts Academy students (who, as member schools of Swiss Education Group, conveniently and fortunately share this scenic campus). The concept is the students’ idea, as the circus theme is a tribute to Chef Mosimann’s 50th birthday party with red, white and black umbrellas hanging upside down from the marquee.
The pressure is on for the students, as this event also serves as their end of year exam. They have meticulously prepared everything from the décor to the menu. The food, served as perfect miniature dishes, ranges from frogs’ legs (stealthily disguised as chicken wings to all but the most observant) via palette cleansing shots to an array of delicious desserts. Specially created cocktails, including The Minty Monkey (a whiskey sour with a twist), all add to the merriment.
As Chef Mosimann, adorned in his trademark bow tie, addresses the students to thank them, the sun sets over this remarkable view. At the end of the evening, guests leave with their own miniature bow tie pin, a beautiful box of confectionary delights and lasting memories of an exceptional evening celebrating a truly iconic Chef.