Mentoring – a key factor for Switzerland
The MICHELIN Mentor Award, sponsored by Sprüngli, for the development of gastronomical concepts and training of talent is close to the heart of Gwendal Poullennec, International Director of the MICHELIN Guide, who welcomed Andreas Caminada from Schloss Schauenstein (Fürstenau, Grisons) onto the stage. "Today is a great day for this chef, because three of his students (Silvio German, Marcel Skibba and Sven Wassmer) now have two MICHELIN stars to their names," he said. "Switzerland is not only geographically very attractive for young talents. Mentoring is also a key factor and an important way to pass on knowledge to the next generation, to inspire them, to convey passion, commitment and dedication."
“I just shed a tear…”
Coach, supporter of talent and mentor of many first-class chefs from all over the world, Caminada was congratulated with warm hugs from colleagues on the way to the stage. Smiling proudly, the 43-year-old put his hand to his heart as he admitted, "I've just shed a few tears. It's very unexpected, this award and also restaurants' two stars. Thank you very much!" Touched, he continued, "I would like to thank the teams and also the former employees of Schloss Schauenstein. This award is also due to my wife. She is the managing director of the Fundaziun Uccelin, which promotes many young talents and gives them a platform – this is a great award for the Fundaziun." The foundation offers chefs and service staff the opportunity to train in their craft so as to act as ambassadors to spread the quality of Switzerland's top gastronomy to the world.
Working with young people is pure joy, the motor that drives him
Caminada emphasises that it is close to his heart to individually support ambitious talents from the restaurant sector "by giving them financial and personal support. This support should pave the way for them to gain insight into the world's culinary diversity so that they can sustainably ensure the quality of their wonderful craft". When asked where he finds the time, he laughs and you can see his enthusiasm for promoting young talent: "That's everyday life, once you've found a passion, that's your job, and being a chef is where you give your all. No hour is too much, and I think that many people feel the same way I do: it is pure joy, the driving force is really working with young people, creating something together, being creative and ultimately making the guests happy. He ponders for a moment and adds, "that's what it's all about – that's the great thing!"
When Andreas Caminada was awarded his third MICHELIN star in 2010, it was the culinary equivalent of topping Mount Olympus. And for ten years now, the Grisons native has confidently confirmed this crowning glory. His latest award also has its origins in Greek mythology: Mentor was the friend of Ulysses, teacher and advisor to his son Telemachus.
What makes a good mentor? Taking responsibility to help the mentee stay on their path, to save them time and energy by accompanying them to where they already are or were. Someone who has a good mentor has a steeper learning curve, as he or she can benefit from their experience while avoiding serious mistakes.
This work seems to be at least as important to Caminada as the much-lauded harmony and diversity of his culinary creations. "The meal should be a journey of the senses that leaves a lasting impression" is how he himself describes the philosophy of his cooking craft. This philosophy, coupled with his passion, he passes on to his mentees.
The MICHELIN Guide Switzerland 2020 is available for 39 Swiss Francs (29.95 Euro in Germany and 30.80 Euro in Austria). In the latest edition, a total of 632 restaurants, ranging from country inns to gourmet restaurants, and 215 hotels are recommended by the MICHELIN Guide.
Portrait Andreas Caminada © Veronique Hoegger / Schloss Schauenstein
Photos Event © Guide MICHELIN