Culinary Schools in Switzerland
Studying Culinary Arts in Switzerland
Undertaking to make your mark in the culinary arts in Switzerland is setting the bar as high as it goes: the country has the greatest number of Michelin starred restaurants per capita in the world. The Gault et Millau guide awarded seven Swiss chefs 19 out of the maximum 20 points in 2019.
If you want to become a chef then working furiously and with immense discipline, is probably the best way to study culinary arts in Switzerland.
There are many gifted chefs working all over the country. Once you have found your particular interest you enhance those skills by doing short courses. For example, vegan Chef, Jean-Christian Jury, recommends the cooking classes at the Haus Hiltl Academy.
One of Switzerland’s famous culinary schools is Ecole Chocolat. Ecole Chocolat was founded in 2003 and it includes courses for professional chocolatiers, chocolate making from the bean, quality assurance. Courses range from one week to three months.
If you are comfortable with a more formalized program then you can do no better than apply to the Culinary Arts Academy with campuses in Lucerne and Le Bouveret. They are associated to the Cesar Ritz Colleges and offer a B.A. and Diploma courses covering European, French and Italian cuisine.
Students are constantly exposed to visiting chefs in all disciplines.
At the end of this article you can a list of the best culinary schools in Switzerland.
A History of Haute Cuisine
The influence of the celebrity chef emerged during the late 16th century and was firmly established during the 17th century. The founding principles of the haute cuisine gastronomic tradition was born in Italy and glorified in France and England in the Royal Courts and the European aristocracy who had the financial means and leisure time for the excesses of banquets consisting of over a 100 courses. Louis X1V (1643-1715) dined in luxurious splendour, indulging in the many newly available spices and led the royals in dictating ‘good taste’’ in food. Catherine de Medici introduced pottery for the table and owned a copy of Bartolomeo Scappi’s 1570 cookbook ‘Opera dell’arte dell Cucinare’. By 1750 knives, forks, spoons and table napkins were in evidence.
François Pierre de la Varenne produced ‘Le Cuisinier Francois’ cookbook in 1651 which was regarded as the first guide to haute cuisine.
Varenne is said to represent the starting point of French cooking. He codified and defined the point in time where a medieval style of cooking, which had been more or less universal amongst the aristocracy throughout Europe, was replaced in France by a new, uniquely French way of cooking.
Cook’s Info 2019.
The ultimate haute cuisine ‘chef of kings and king of chefs’ was the Frenchman Auguste Escoffier. He documented the style in detail and invented the ‘kitchen brigade’ that supported the cook. In any large establishment this can consist of; the Chef de Cuisine, Executive Chef, Head Chef, Working Chef, Sous Chef and Chefs de Parti which include a Saucier, Rotissieur, Friturier and Grillardien; the Garde Manger, Charcutier, Entremetre, Patissier, Boulanger and Glacier, Commis and Apprentices.
This haute cuisine underwent subtle but significant modification in the 70’s with chefs like Paul Bocuse; sauces became lighter, heavy meat less popular, adding vegetables and fruit resulted in less cooking times and creativity in food combinations and plate presentation became increasingly important.
This was called nouvelle cuisine and that was brought to Switzerland via the French and flourished there.
Traditional Swiss Foods
Switzerland’s cuisine is largely based in its farming culture which accords well with the best intentions of haute cuisine. Like wine making, the cooking is based on ‘le terroir’ i.e. that which is seasonally available from the land and dictated by the eating traditions in France, Germany and Italy.
• Cheese. Roughly half the milk production goes into the 750 varieties of cheeses currently available. In 1914 the Swiss started the Swiss Cheese Union (Schweizer Käseunion), a marketing and trading organisation to better control the cheese production. They in fact limited the huge variety to concentrate on Emmental and Gruyere, inventing the Fondue as a ‘national dish’ to promote its use to foreigners during the war. The Union was finally denounced as a ‘Cheese Mafia’ and closed in 1999.
• Chocolate. Daniel Peter, who worked for Nestle, found a way of making milk chocolate in 1875 that revolutionised the confectionary industry. He was not actually a chef but a candle maker whose livelihood was becoming obsolete! The Swiss still lead the world in consumption of chocolate at over 11 kg per person per year.
• Potatoes. Rösti; the traditional Alpine breakfast made of potato, onions, Appenzeller cheese and caraway seeds.
• Muesli. The internationally popular breakfast mixture was invented by Maximilian Bircher-Benner in Zurich at his health sanatorium.
• Sausages. Cervelat; beef, pure pork, pork fat meat and spices from St. Gallen. Longeole is pork meat flavoured with dill and made only in the Geneva Canton.
Switzerland boasts ‘the world’s oldest continuously run vegetarian restaurant’. When Ambrosius Hiltl was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis the only place he could find meat-free food was the Vegetarierheim and Abstinence café, founded in1898 in Zurich. In 1904 he married the cook Martha Gneupel.
Find below a researched list of all culinary schools in Switzerland.