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After five years in the making, Swiss Education Group, Switzerland’s leading provider of hotel management and culinary arts education, is launching The Mosimann Collection – A culinary heritage on its César Ritz Colleges Switzerland campus in Le Bouveret, in the Swiss canton of Valais. The private collection of Anton Mosimann, a world-renowned Swiss chef and Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), comprises thousands of remarkable and rare objects, ranging from old cookbooks to royal menu cards and kitchen utensils, personal souvenirs and works of art. This collection, which bears witness to the celebrated bow-tie-sporting chef’s culinary passion and stellar career, will now feature in a permanent exhibition on the school’s campus. Its doors will be open to all.
‘It is a great honour for me that Swiss Education Group has curated a permanent exhibition of my culinary collection. I have long dreamed of the opportunity to bring everything together under one roof to help those starting out in the catering industry. I could never have imagined that it would happen within my lifetime, and in such a magnificent setting. It is indeed a dream come true,’ said Anton Mosimann, OBE.
The exhibition spans a number of spaces across four different floors, and is designed as a source of learning and inspiration for students. ‘We want to reveal the man behind this extraordinary personality and to preserve his work as a true source of inspiration for budding chefs and hoteliers,’ emphasised Florent Rondez, CEO of Swiss Education Group, who, alongside designer and interior architect Omid Louie, was responsible for designing the exhibition. In among the display cases, the exhibition’s movie screen and a room dedicated to the British Royal Household are a number of features based on parts of the Mosimann’s dining club in London, including its Montblanc private dining room and its staircases bedecked with photos of celebrities from all over the world. Drawing inspiration from the club’s church windows and two existing 1930s bay windows at César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, the exhibition features a number of stained-glass windows crafted by tutors and students from the Stained-Glass Arts and Fine Arts College in Monthey, also in the canton of Valais.
Five centuries of the history of fine dining
The Mosimann Collection was developed with an educational purpose in mind, and in accordance with its owner’s wishes. Anton Mosimann, OBE, is a recipe collection enthusiast and has gathered over 6000 extremely valuable works over the course of his career, including the world’s largest cookbook, written by hand in 1733, Nostradamus’s jam-making book and around ten works by French chef Auguste Escoffier. The collection also features hundreds of menu cards of historical import, such as one from the Tsar of Russia’s coronation banquet in 1896 and one from London’s Savoy Hotel dating back to 4 June 1936 – 80 years to the day before the launch of the exhibition. Fifty-six gold medals, personal souvenirs and works by Swiss artists such as Jean-Pierre Corpataux (Le Boucher Corpaato), Margrith Burkhardt, Marc Reist and Jean Tinguely also feature in the collection.
‘It has been very emotional preparing the material from my own personal archive. For the first time since I started out as a chef over fifty years ago, I have sat down and read all the material and revisited my extensive collection of menus, recipes and books. I cannot thank the Swiss Education Group enough for approaching me and persuading me to let their professionals curate this collection. To walk around and see these pieces that have had a profound influence on me personally and guided me through my career is perhaps the greatest luxury I will ever be given. I hope that this material will also inspire others and encourage them to strive for a higher level of creativity,’ added Anton Mosimann, OBE.
A tribute to the founder of the Montreux Jazz Festival
Adjacent to the main exhibition room is a kitchen with a chef’s table named La Table de Claude (Claude’s Table) in reference to Claude Nobs, the passionate visionary who founded the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. Nobs had been named the best young chef in Switzerland, and sought artists’ favour by creating new dishes for them in his open-plan kitchen at the Chalet Le Picotin. La Table de Claude is based on that legendary place, and the varied array of objects with which it is decorated, which includes an old-style oven, pans bearing the monogram of King George V and pieces of porcelain and silverware from the Dorchester Hotel and the Fairmont le Montreux Palace, is a nod to his spirit of enthusiasm and generosity.