Chef Anton Mosimann: words do not do justice to his sun ray-like personality — and his countless achievements.

Here’s a man who has been cooking for over four generations of the British royal family, and carries an air of cheerful delight that stirs the room with contagious grace and charm. From humble beginnings to great honours, today, we get to catch up with him. A must-read for all aspiring chefs and lovers of food.

[All image credit: Swiss Education Group]

Born into a restaurant family in Solothurn, Switzerland, it wouldn’t be wrong to say Chef Anton has spent almost all his life in the kitchen, helping out in his parents and starting an internship at a local hotel from the age of 15. Finding joy in simple cooking and in hospitality, Chef Anton invested all his labour pursuing a culinary education, which rewarded as the youngest chef to ever receive the coveted Chef de Cuisine Diploma. He was 25.

From here, Chef Anton then also became the youngest to ever serve as the Maitre Chef de Cuisines at the renowned Dorchester Hotel in London. 13 years into the position, he was awarded two Michelin stars after fully committing to his so-called “Cuisine Naturelle”: cooking made use of merely freshest ingredients and mostly free from oil, butter, alcohol and with little or no sugar and salt at all.

Throughout his lifetime serving as a chef, Chef Anton became regarded as one of the most experienced and delightful hosts — evidenced in his culinary services to generations of the British royal family, prime ministers, numerous US presidents, a wedding banquet for Kate and William, and even as a catering partner to three Olympic Games. Now running the exclusive Mosimann’s Dining Club in London, Chef Anton Mosimann has bridged together tasteful fare and wine with his highly evident love for fine food.

Most recently, and as a way to share his love with the world, The Mosimann Collection: A Culinary Heritage,” has opened at the César Ritz Colleges Switzerland in Le Bouveret, through the partnership of Anton Mosimann and the Swiss Education Group. The collaboration offers a profound glimpse into Chef Anton’s life through his private collection of cookbooks (some dating to the 15th century), photographs, old menus, and even his signature bowties.

But until we pay a visit to the land of the Swiss Alps, we managed to sit down with Chef Anton for a special foodie talk. Read all about his thoughts on favourite meals, special moments, and more, in this exclusive interview with the charming chef. 

What was your first job in the kitchen? 

My first job was washing up. I was working in the kitchen since I was a little boy so doing dishes was my very first task.

What meal inspired you to become a chef? 

Simple but good food [smiles]. I was always surrounded by basic, organic food so that was all I knew and tasted growing up.

What do you think is the key element to fine dining? 

There are many essential elements to good fine dining. Obviously, the fundamental key is good food. But a mix of other things like good company and good service also contribute to a perfect fine dining experience.

You’ve cooked for four generations of the British royal family. What are their favourite meals to have? 

Just like us, they love good food! [laughs] I was in Japan and Italy for one year, and there, I learned how to make honest and simple food, all from humble ingredients grown from the ground, not in the lab. I was really inspired and so that was all I was cooking for them — simple yet fine food. They always let me surprise them with something new so I don’t really cook them the same thing twice.

You cooked for Prince Willian and Kate Middleton’s wedding reception, what did you make for them?  

Again: very good food! [laughs] I was cooking for 280 people and so the team and I cooked up an array of food — all under the concept of cuisine naturelle.

How would you describe your cooking style?

I was classically trained so we used a lot of cream and butter in cooking. Everything was full fat. But then I went to Japan, so there was no more butter and fat. That’s when I created cuisine naturelle — a cooking with no cream and no butter, because ingredients should taste the way they should taste. I also created this simple, honest style of cooking to benefit myself just so I could eat better and healthier — as we all should.

What is the best meal you’ve ever eaten so far throughout your culinary journey?  

Rabbit cooked in tomato sauce with lots of fresh vegetables and fresh herbs. It’s wonderful. My father used to cook this a lot for Sunday lunch.

What’s the best meal you’ve eaten so far in Bangkok?

I love local food. I remember asking my taxi driver when I first arrived in Bangkok to take me where he would usually go for lunch. “I would love to go with you,” I said. He was a bit shy to show me at first, but ended up taking me to this place by the street where many taxi drivers stopped by to eat. We sat down and had a meal. To be around nice local people, eating real Thai food, that was one of the experiences I enjoyed very much.

 

Do you find it challenging having to constantly create? 

I love creating. In a way, you have to somehow be born into creativity. It’s the ability that when you see an ingredient lying on the table, you’ll have fun and joy thinking of ways to play with it. I love to create and make new dishes all the time so to me creating has never really been much of a challenge.

 

How many bowties do you have?

300. [laughs]

Wine or water?

Champagne! 

Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?

Pineapple on pizza is great!

What do you eat for guilty pleasure?

Dried fruit, especially dried pineapple.

How often do you prepare your own meals at home?

Quite often. My wife and I are a very good team in the kitchen and we often make a very healthy meal together.

Three things that make you a chef? 

Dedication, creativity, and a willing mind to work hard and to give service to people.

What’s your biggest pet peeve in the kitchen? 

Food waste. I’m allergic to food waste. More should be done to save food in the kitchen and make the most out of it.

If you were to be an ingredient, what would you be and why?

A bundle of mixed herbs, because they give wonderful aromas.

What is one food book or movie everyone should read or see? 

My book, Life is a Circus. It’s 400 pages long but it has got everything you need to know about food and cooking! 

Your advice to aspiring chefs?

First of all, congratulations on choosing such a wonderful career path! It’s hard work, but it’s also filled with fun and joy. There’s nothing compared to seeing people enjoying your food; the fruit of your labour at the end of the day. Go to a good school. Swiss Education is the one I often recommend to people since they’ve got an organised culinary system and skilled teachers who are one hundred percent committed to the students.

Unexpected party. What do you cook?

There’s always pasta somewhere. So a nice pasta dish with lots and lots of herbs served with a glass of good champagne would be absolutely lovely. Yum. 

Last but not least, what’s for dinner?

We are having an alumni dinner with former students of Swiss Education Group who are based here in Bangkok tonight at Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok! Can’t wait to see what food they will surprise me with.

Kankanit Wichiantanon
Writer, Bangkok
Kankanit is a writer by day and a baker by night. If there’s one thing you should know about her, it’s that she can wax poetic about food 24/7. Her daily routine is writing, cooking, eating, repeat. They are the things that inspire her from morning 'til night.