Challenge: Cooking in a caravan

Walter Klose describes how he meticulously prepares so that everything goes according to plan while cooking in the food truck.

Special situations, of course, call for special measures. And when a 7-metre long, shining chrome caravan with a built-in kitchen is hauled onto the Gupf by a tractor, that is a special situation.

The Gupf guest house, situated about 1000 metres above sea level in Rehetobel in Appenzell, is a coveted address among bon vivants. Here Manuela and Walter Kloser indulge their guests with classic, sophisticated cuisine and one of most spectacular wine cellars in Switzerland. But the guests who come today can expect a special programme. The V-ZUG food truck, which is now parked in front of the adjacent farm’s barn, is part of their menu. Before the first canapé spoons can be distributed, however, entremetier Damian Vetsch has to roll slices of kohlrabi, pick fresh herbs in the garden and check the stock in the refrigerator compartments. His boss Walter Klose enjoys cooking and serving from the food truck. “There is a relaxed, almost holiday-like spirit and an atmosphere of freedom among the guests,” he says. It’s easy to strike up a conversation while trying, for example, a spoon with scallops, cold melon soup and pink pepper. “The food truck is a catalyst for conversation. You meet people you might not have if you were sitting at a set table,” Klose says. In combination with the restaurant next door, Walter Klose sees the food truck as “a valuable addition to our offerings”. He then serves the guests three small plates. There are meatballs, for example, which were previously cooked and then heated in the oven at 180 degrees for a few minutes. “It’s important that we serve something warm,” Klose explains. The guests are also meant to see that the food truck, with its two combi-steam cookers, a tradition oven, a Teppan Yaki and an induction cooker, was actually built for cooking. But for such occasions, the cooking needs to be well planned. According to Chef Klose, three to four people could have prepared this special evening in about ten hours. A little canapé spoon, eaten in just a few seconds, has up to five components.

Or the plate with the roasted duck liver – the almost inconspicuous blue-purple gel, which was prepared back in October, is easy to overlook, but it delivers enormous flavour. Cook Damian Vetsch polished, pricked, and soaked damsons in a marinade made of red wine, vinegar, water, sugar and spices every day for a week. The damsons are then briefly cooked in the marinade, preserved and stored in a dark cellar for at least half a year. Damian then creates a fruity gel with an intense damson aroma from the marinade, which he thickens with agar-agar. While the guests eat the main course at a set table in the restaurant, dessert is being prepared outside in the food truck. Blueberry pancakes, to be served with blueberry ice cream, are being made on the Teppan Yaki grill; a rhubarb strudel goes into the combi-steam cooker; and a chocolate cake with a strawberry core is baking in the oven. Walter Klose wants to show his guests that it is also possible to cook in a “caravan” with limited space. “We are intentionally serving warm dishes for dessert as well,” Walter Klose says. First, his guests should see some “action” and second, the perception of aromas is more diverse at different temperatures. For guests, that means a sweet conclusion to the evening, both hot and cold.

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