Exuding positive energy and in high spirits, she radiantly walked onto the stage of the LAC Arte e Cultura in Lugano to accept her prize. A year after receiving her first Michelin star, the 30 year-old chef at Le Café Suisse in Bex (Vaud canton) has reason to celebrate once again. Andrea Caputo. Vice President Blancpain, awarded her with the Young Chef Award. Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the Guide MICHELIN, congratulated Marie Robert and was full of praise: "With her passion and commitment she creates a rather feminine, sometimes sassy, modern and very creative style of cuisine, with great attention to detail but never losing sight of the ingredients, cultivating that characteristic "Marie Robert" style for which she was awarded a MICHELIN star last year".
A restaurant in the pink
Her red mane is her trademark and colour plays an important role for Marie Robert. In both the food and the restaurant, pink adds that extra touch. Robert runs the restaurant with her partner, Arnaud Gorse, but the kitchen is her domain. All the signs of creativity, including the presentation of her dishes, show that Marie Robert is someone who knows what she wants. "For me, flavour is the most important thing in a dish, but on top of that I simply love it if it pleases the eye, is playful and has a feminine touch."
Sassy, crazy and a rule-breaker
She responds to Gwendal Poullennec's words of praise with a little smile: "I don't know if my dishes are sassy. I put my whole heart into them and choose the ingredients I love to work with – first of all, they have to be good. Then I like to add some of my own unique 'craziness'." She reflects for a moment and then laughs: "I've been running Le Café Suisse for ten years now and have often wondered who Marie Robert actually is." She tells us that the way she cooks is the way she is: without fear of anything new or different. But it is especially on occasions like this special award that she sometimes muses, "I think I have evolved through my experience and my passion — and I love breaking the rules. I am someone who loves to set myself challenges, and I always try to push myself to the limit, because we should never be complacent!”
Local, seasonal and exotic
Being creative, as far as Robert is concerned, is not just her full-time job as a boss and cook but is also a form of relaxation. This includes not only her often very colourful dishes, but also the restaurant's ever-changing fixtures and decor. "The overall experience should make your visit to us a real adventure!" The ingredients she uses are local and seasonal, which is important to her, but some are also exotic, because the Young Chef 2020 loves Asia: "The spices and new discoveries are like a change of scenery."
The Michelin inspectors commended her on running "a lively and charming place where both regular guests and "newcomers" feel well looked after.
The waitstaff are competent, attentive and work with panache. Robert's cooking is technically very accomplished, showcasing original ideas, using excellent produce, and you'll have great fun too! And you don't have to stick to a set menu here; you can also order à la carte to your heart's content, although the "great culinary journey" that is the "menu surprise" is undoubtedly tempting!
“I hope this is how the adventure continues!”
Andreas Caminada: dream guest
Being self-taught, the 30 year-old does not have a mentor. But if she could have anyone as a guest at Le Café Suisse it would be Andreas Caminada because "not only is he a very skilled chef, but he also has a good feeling for management, which I admire very much. On top of that, he has class!" She also admits, "it would be interesting to find out what the benchmark is to get a second MICHELIN star... Just out of curiosity," and says, "I hope this is how the adventure continues!"
The perfect finish
Her favourite dish? There's no single thing, but she does reveal her passion. "Not very original, but I love chocolate. I have always loved pastries and desserts because they are the perfect finish to a meal out."
The MICHELIN Guide Switzerland 2020 is available for 39 Swiss Francs (29.95 Euros in Germany and 30.80 Euros in Austria). In the latest edition, a total of 632 restaurants, ranging from country inns to gourmet restaurants, and 215 hotels are recommended.
© Guide MICHELIN/lenaka/Le Café Suisse