Culinary Arts
4 min read

Crowning the culinary art with Olympic gold

EHL Insights
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Andrea Werth (27) from Bonaduz has already demonstrated her culinary talent in renowned restaurants. But she has also been successful outside the restaurants: in 2015 she was named Young Chef of the Year. She is currently studying at the EHL Campus Passugg and is also training for the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart.

From Enrico Söllmann, Photo Philipp Baer, Article published in Bündner Tagblatt (BT)

When she was little, she already knew which professional path she would take later. "As a very young girl, I loved looking over my grandmother's and my mother's shoulders in the kitchen and helping them cook wherever possible," recalls Andrea Werth from Bonaduz, now 27 years old, of earlier days. And logically: "I have always enjoyed good food," she says during the conversation with the BT at the School Hotel Passugg and smiles contentedly. There, at the EHL Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH), she has been completing her training as a certified hotel manager since last autumn, which will take her a total of three years. As part of her comprehensive studies, Andrea Werth will be moving to the Canton of Ticino next summer to the 5-star superior hotel "Giardino" in Ascona - nestled between the mountains and Lake Maggiore. She is very much looking forward to the upcoming internship, she says. Among other things, she will be at the reception desk and thus gain a broad insight into the interface between guest and hotel. This is in any case the motivation behind her studies: "I see this as a broadening of horizons," emphasizes the trained cook.

First a refusal given

However, Andrea Werth will not lose sight of her passion and her previous craft. Since the beginning of this year, she has been a member of the Swiss National Culinary Team. But the gourmet chef had declined an initial request to take the reins herself over Christmas 2018, much later. The "Nati" became aware of her talent just over three years ago after winning the "marmite youngster 2015" competition. Thanks to a dessert; Andrea Werth is very fond of patisserie and sweets, as she points out. At the time, she had served the expert jury curd cheese dumplings with dried apricots and goat's curd ice cream - refined with apricot vinegar. The "Young Chef of the Year" award is regarded within the industry as one of the most important in the area of young chefs and has already been a stepping stone to higher consecrations for some and some others. However, she did not have time for the national team at that time, which she later regretted, as she relates. "I couldn't get over the question of why I hadn't accepted."

Andrea Werth studiert an der EHL Hotelfachschule Passugg und trainiert für die Kocholympiade

School hotel as an optimal training ground

However, Guy Estoppey, a cooking colleague she worked together, had not forgotten her and at the end of last year gave her the tip that the national team was still looking for members befinde. And she didn't let this second chance slip away. So Andrea Werth already met the "Nati" in February for a joint photo shoot and has since been training ambitious for the Culinary Olympics, which will take place in February 2020 in Stuttgart. "Passugg is an ideal place for this. So I can prepare myself optimally for the Olympics while I'm studying. But that's not the reason why she took a room in the school hotel and doesn't live at home in Bonaduz. "Because there is a lot of group work to do, it is ideal to be accommodated here." As is well known, the national team was only added in the second semester of her studies. "But it's great, now I can use the kitchen of the school hotel in my free time for my personal training," says Andrea Werth. The preparation is an ongoing process. The members create their menus independently. Every month the team meets for tasting and critical exchange, and then again individually refine their own culinary contribution. The national team aims high, as the 27-year-old student and cook says. "Our goal is gold. That sounds very ambitious, but with our top team it's also realistic".

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The proximity to home as a decision factor

The patisserie has become Andrea Werth's hobbyhorse to a certain extent. However, she did not undergo a classic confectioner's apprenticeship for this. After completing her apprenticeship as a cook at the Hotel "Chesa Grischuna" in Klosters in summer 2011, she moved to the Valais the following winter. There, the gourmet chef deepened her "skills" and knowledge at the "Waldhotel Fletschhorn" in Saas-Fee under the guidance of top chef Markus Neff. For the 2012 winter season, she seized the opportunity when she was offered a job at the "Lamparts" restaurant in Hägendorf, Solothurn. This step under the wings of 2-star chef Reto Lampart was the door opener for her to pursue a career as a patissier. "I love making little works of art out of food. I really like the precise work that is necessary in patisserie. I like order and I don't mind cooking strictly according to a recipe," Andrea Werth explains her preferences. But she is also always open to new things. That's why she moved back to Graubünden in the summer of 2015 - to Vals to be precise, to the restaurant "7132 Silver", which had just opened its doors at that time. She was attracted by the challenge of seeing how something is created and helping to build it. Being close to home made the decision easier, as she says. In general, Graubünden is very close to her heart. "I'm a family person, I love the mountains around me, I like to walk and climb, and to browse through recipes at my leisure," says Andrea Werth. Anyone who thinks she also cooks gourmet dishes for herself is wrong. She prefers pasta and risotto in private. "Simple, but good it should be. Her favorite dish, however, is an old family recipe, she says. Veal tongue in a mustard sauce with capers, pepperoni and chopped eggs - served with mashed potatoes.

And what will she move forward after her studies at SSTH? Maybe with an own hotel and restaurant? "I don't know yet. I'm simply looking forward to the broad-based studies I have ahead of me." And to the Culinary Olympics, where, as a member of the national team, she is aiming for nothing more than the gold medal.

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