Great chefs love cooking

Excellence meets Markus Arnold

Markus Arnold, Bern’s most innovative restaurateur, is convinced that what makes a good chef into an excellent chef is a love of food and cooking.

His ideas, his passion for cooking and hosting, and not least his extraordinary culinary expertise, are what established Markus Arnold firmly on the Swiss capital’s gastro scene several years ago. The 39-year-old is without a doubt the most innovative restaurateur in Bern; his restaurant “Steinhalle” has been awarded 17 Gault Millau points and a Michelin star, but the designation “top chef” doesn’t quite do justice to him, as he is truly multitalented.

He puts as much energy and passion into a project to serve steamed Tibetan dumplings (momos) at the train station as he puts into making fondue at the Christmas market or a pop-up burger stall near the Federal Palace. Whatever he’s doing, Markus Arnold has a relatively simple personal principle for ensuring outstanding quality in his profession: “An excellent chef must love their work. I’m actually convinced that something will only taste good if it’s been cooked by a happy chef.” That basically just means you have to try your own food on a regular basis, continues Arnold. That might seem obvious, he says, but it’s not necessarily a given.

He tells us that years of experience and great dedication have helped him develop and rely on his palate, and explains that one of the things which have made him a success is the ability to tell when something is so good that it tastes great not just to him, but to his guests as well. In essence that simply means that Arnold only prepares food that he likes himself, and which makes him happy.

“I just really enjoy eating. I like lots of different flavours and culinary cultures and I plan my holiday itineraries around restaurants,” he says. That’s probably why there is a constant rotation of themed menus at his own restaurant – sometimes French, sometimes Japanese or Scandinavian. And wherever the inspiration comes from, there’s another simple principle underlying everything Arnold serves: “A good basic product should be recognizable yet prepared in an exciting way.”

Not only that, but because Markus Arnold is someone who comes up with colourful new ideas on a daily basis, he also thinks that an unforgettable menu has to be fun. Guests should be entertained well, they shouldn’t get bored, he says. An evening at Arnold’s restaurant should be “chilled out and relaxed,” and what ultimately ensures excellence is, quite simply, a passion for food.

More impressions in the video

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