Horology and gastronomy A shared taste for excellence
A shared passion for good taste and Swiss quality is what lies behind a number of partnerships between watchmakers and top chefs. An overview.
In June, Schaffhausen-based watchmaker IWC celebrated its new partnership with Gault Millau Chef of the Year 2016 Nenad Mlinarevic. The watchmaker’s newest ambassador runs the Focus restaurant at the Park Hotel in Vitznau, and has been awarded two Michelin stars and 18 points from Gault & Millau. It should come as no surprise that the watchmaker is choosing once again to surround itself with the best.
Nenad Mlinarevic, one of the youngest chefs ever recognised by Gault & Millau, is credited with reinventing Swiss luxury cuisine on the strength of his experience in a number of prestigious Swiss and international kitchens including Jöhri’s Talvo in Saint-Moritz, the Vendôme in Bergisch Gladbach and the Schloss Schauenstein in Fürstenau.
Drawing an analogy with the precision of Swiss mechanical watchmaking, the 35-year-old chef explains: “in high-end cuisine, it’s not enough just to use good ingredients: timing and precision are also essential elements for achieving exceptional results.” There’s no arguing with that.
Baume & Mercier recently celebrated their partnership with Les Grandes Tables de Suisse at Le Pérolles restaurant in Fribourg with the association’s chairman, award-winning chef Pierre-André Ayer.
At the event, the culinary and horological worlds were brought together under the theme of the moon. For Baume & Mercier, it meant showcasing the Clifton Chronograph Complete Calendar, a timepiece that echoes the exceptional attention to detail that goes into fine gastronomy. And it gave the chef the opportunity to introduce his guests to food and wine produced in tune with the cycles of the moon, which have an impact on the quality and maturity of the produce. As he points out: “What Baume & Mercier has in common with myself is passion, quality, and an appreciation of good things.”
For several years, Blancpain has been associated with both the Bocuse d’Or Switzerland and the Relais & Châteaux association. The watchmaker points to the obvious connections between gastronomy and traditional watchmaking: passion, emotion and authenticity. There can be no success without all three. Blancpain vaunts the meticulous craftsmanship and pursuit of excellence of its gastronomic ambassadors. Among the many top chefs who have worked and continue to work in partnership with the brand are the famous French chef Joël Robuchon. The values of professionalism, rigour, confidence and creativity espoused by Joël Robuchon, who currently holds more Michelin stars than anyone else in the world, are reflected in the watchmaker’s own values.
Sandro Steingruber, a chef from the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland, has been a friend of Carl F. Bucherer since 2012. Sandro Steingruber is chef of the Epoca restaurant at the Hôtel Waldhaus Flims Mountain Resort & Spa, and currently holds 17 Gault & Millau points. Carl F. Bucherer chose him to be its ambassador because of their commitment to the same values: passion, excellence and precision; high-quality primary materials; and attention to the smallest details. These are all essential to the quality of the final product, in both watchmaking and gastronomy.
Chef Peter Goossens of Belgium is in possession of all the qualities needed to win over the Maison Lebeau-Courally. Lebeau-Courally prides itself on its mechanical known-how, precision and excellence, in both watchmaking and the manufacture of luxury hunting rifles. A partnership with Peter Goossens, head of the Hof van Cleve in Kruishoutem in the Flemish Ardennes, whose motto is “Always better”, was inevitable. His ongoing devotion to this principle is the reason he has remained at the pinnacle of the gastronomic renaissance in his country. He demands the highest quality ingredients and sets exacting standards for precisely timing the creation of his dishes, and is never without his Lebeau-Courally watch.
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