Switzerland / Luzern 1970
THE LUZERN CHAPTER
The following season, I worked at the Hotel Schweizerhof in Luzern. It was one of the classic colonial or church-typed of hotels under the outstanding leadership of the Chef, Mr. Viscardi, who made us laugh whenever he slipped off the floor. His body was build in the shape of a bowling ball which made it impossible for him to stand up on his own. Most of the time, all the cooks were hiding behind the equipment when Mr. Viscardi screamed for help.....nasty cooks!
Mr. Viscardi was the "A La Carte champion." All the food was cooked after guest orders and this was and is the only recipe for top quality. There was also a time when Mr. Vonderstrass, the Sous Chef and football champion from Hota showed me how to taste wine. It was a classic wedding where the daughter of this huge gem shop owner was getting married. Mr. Butcher, the host had purchased for the occasion, two special antique bottles of wine which were about a few hundred years old. By mistake, it was placed in the same large zinc bath on ice with all the normal wine bottles. Mr. Vonderstrass believed that there was no difference in drinking a bottle more or less at such a big party. He chose the lousy looking one which we opened in the kitchen. Two wine glassed and the taste ran..."not so good but"...was his response! Half an hour later, chaos broke out in the whole hotel. One of the antique bottles were missing or better said as not visible. Our stomachs were out of bounds for a check-up and the missing bottle was buried in the cellar, in butcherys bone container under a mountain of gravy bones. We were sweating this evening when everybody was checking the kitchen, the garbage disposal area and etc. Nobody knew that we were scared! Everybody believed that we seated from working very hard.
A great chef and a great hotel like Mr. Viscardi and the Schweizerhof had a problem later that year. This was due to the first batch of American Express tourists who arrived in sandals, short-pants and tee-shirts.
Unlike the other guests who requested for menus by whispering, these people from America were nearly shouting on top of their lungs, and the noise echoed from the 10-meter high classic dining hall, sounded like a speaker, for a hamburger.
This of course, does not exist in a restaurant serving classic cuisine. The result of this was protests from the restaurants maitre dand the Chef de Cuisine who walked out shaking their heads and left these funny clients alone.
The first break-through towards a new dimension in the hospitality trade where my chef and the maitre d sensed them as....culture less.
The local Recipe
EVEN LUZERN IS SWITZERLAND
GESCHNETZELTES MIT ROESTI
SHREDDED VEAL IN CREAM SAUCE WITH SWISS HASHBROWN.
SLICE FINELY LEAN VEAL. MARINATE WITH SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA AND SPRINKLE WITH FLOUR. SAUTE IN HOT BUTTER, THEN ADD FRESH CHAMPIGNON SLICES AND CHOPPED ONION. PLACE THE GOLDEN BROWN MEAT ON A PLATE AND ADD A LITTLE WHITE WINE AND CREAM INTO THE PAN. SIMMER A LITTLE TO GET THE REMAINING ROAST PRODUCTS FROM THE PAN. REDUCE TO THE RIGHT THICKNESS. FOLD SAUCE AND MEAT WITHOUT ADDITIONAL BOILING AND PLACE NEXT TO SWISS HASHBROWN (GRATED POTATO PANFRIED IN BUTTER TO PANCAKE SIZE) ON A PLATE. LASTLY, SPRINKLE WITH FRESHLY CHOPPED PARSLEY.