blog 2

Interview with Master Chef Helmut Holzer

In this interview with Master Chef Helmut Holzer (one of only 11 in the whole world!), he shares with us his research and development work around plant-based foods.

You can find out more about his project and work by clicking this link here.

Here’s a transcript of the first 8 mins of the interview:

Chef Paul Luna (CPL): My name is Paul Luna, and you’re turned into F&B Lunacy. I am here today with Master Chef Helmut Holzer. So tell us a bit about yourself.

Master Chef Helmut Holzer (MCHH): That’s a that’s the worst thing you can ask me because i don’t i don’t know how to blow my own horn. You know that’s difficult that’s a difficult one.

CPL: What are you cooking on? What are you — what are you working on right… How long have you been right now… uh…

MCHH: I’m no longer active in the in the day-to-day culinary field. I’ve moved over into R&D for the last 18 years and been working on plant-based proteins. Everything from insects to bio. You know, stem cell. Growing meats in in petri dishes so to speak. From ideations all the way to taking it to the shelf. Right now i’m working with a thai company, coming with plant-based proteins and under the southeast asian flavor profiles — with rice, with noodles…

All different type of fun stuff like that.

CPL: Sounds incredibly interesting.

MCHH: It is it’s been it’s been a tough year, but it’s been also very rewarding here from that
aspect great. Great as a master in the food and beverage industry.

CPL: What do you see for the future of culinary arts?

MCHH: Oh boy, that’s a loaded question… But the restaurant industry as you know is suffering greatly right now. And a lot of the industry is shifting in the retail, into meal kits, into home. Home meals and all replacements all and so forth, so…

It’s gonna be the tough ones gonna be making it and the weak ones gonna be flushed out unfortunately.

CPL: What about for the food and beverage industry as a whole?

MCHH: As the whole um as soon as we have the virus under control i’m sure it’s going to
bloom back to his glory before. It’s going to take some time i would say.

20 and ’22. We’ll be somewhat back in the saddle. This pandemic, it has turned the restaurant industry globally on its head.

CPL: What are your thoughts?

MCHH: Well we we all we all had to we all at one point say to ourselves… Well we chefs we cooks, we always gonna have a job because everybody has to eat. Well, that’s no longer the case you know. So unless you think outside the box, and you go and reinvent yourself you gonna be sitting on the side of the road so to speak.

CPL: What do you think of self-taught chefs?

MCHH: Well, you know cooking comes from the heart, you know. So depending on how big your heart is and how much you devote yourself to it, there’s a lot of good happy cooks out
there.

Chefs self-taught chefs um… If they work with good trained chefs, they can reach a certain level as well

CPL: What advice do you have for the chef restaurateur who wants to open a restaurant in this reality?

MCHH: I’ll make it a grab-and-go. The grand the grab-and-go will work. Yeah i think you know i’ve seen i’ve suggested a lot of different folks different opportunities. You know the everyday housewife or the everyday i call them home economic engineers they don’t have don’t have access to the quality of meats and the quality of fish quality chicken we have access to so i suggested, why don’t you go and during the restaurant into a little market where so many people can come in they can select they can have some beautiful cuts of meat some pates terrains all the different stuff you can make and and you can utilize because every square foot of your restaurant has to make money otherwise there’s no
reason for having a restaurant. Might as well have a truck have a food truck you know because there’s no need for you to sit down and have candlelight and you cannot enjoy it right now it’s impossible right so i told them if they’re invaders into delivery people then you turn your cooks into production people and try to overcome this whole mess until it turns
around how much is going to turn right that’s still in the crystal ball got broken in the last UPS shipment so i don’t know

CPL: for a while there we were seeing a trend towards chef-owned establishment do you still see that trend leading forward?

MCHH: yeah the brave ones still going to go forward with it. The ones who have people believe in them and float the bill, because not every chef is made to be a business person you know.

CPL: Is gaining mastery in the kitchen enough nowadays

MCHH: I just finished my term as uh chairman of the American Master Chefs Order and our our mission is continue the craft hone the craft and our slogan is forever student. So you continuously have to go and re-evaluate yourself, educate yourself. You can never stop in this business. Learning. Look at different opportunities and uh hone a skill.

CPL: You know when i when i think of chefs i think of the things that chefs now have to do not just in cooking but when it comes to social media. What are your thoughts?

MCHH: Yeah i think social media is definitely a huge — it’s a double-edged sword it’s like food network you know. Food network did a lot for the name chef but it also kind of gave a … i don’t know… it gave the wrong picture you know.

I think everybody wants to come out of school and be be a tv chef you know. Not everybody is an Emeril Lagasse. Not everybody is a … you know, whoever the names might be… or iron chef.

A lot of show.

I’m not sure if the skill level has to be there. So it is it’s a little bit of a smoke and mirrors in my in my opinion.

CPL: Do you have anything you like to share with the people? Anything you…? Any thoughts working on?

MCHH: Yeah we worked on some incredible meal kits out of thailand, indian flavor profiles. Thai profiles where even a simple home economic engineer can make a great meal at home. The noodles are there the pre-cooked. The coconut milk is there. The blend protein it’s just or you can do your own uh shrimp chicken pork beef whatever you want to do. Five minutes you have a meal done and it has this deal of approval.

It is it is outstanding i mean.

Horrible! How to get away with serving horrible-tasting food to a party

A few months ago, I received a call to cater an event for a large group of people in Winterthur. My goal: to create the most horrible-tasting experience for them imaginable. My first step was to go through my shelves and refrigerators and dig up all the oldest, worst-tasting ingredients I could get my hands on.

JUST KIDDING! April Fool’s Day!

When it comes to preparing food for large parties, a lot of time and planning goes into it. Some cooks and caterers rely on processed, pre-prepared frozen foods to handle large parties. That’s not my style.

I make sure to come up with delicious dishes, using the freshest ingredients I can get my hands on. Typically, I’ll do my shopping about two or three days before the event (sometimes, I have to call the grocery store even earlier to make sure they order the ingredients I need), and then I’ll start prepping and readying everything in the 40-some hours leading up to the big event.

It’s like being back in college getting ready for a big exam. There can be sleepless nights with a few 20-minute power naps leading up to the moment when people start arriving. Hungry.

So, about the Horrible! exclamation in the video…

I was preparing Tabbouleh, made with a lot of fresh parsley and mint, quinoa, tomatoes, fresh lemon, some olive oil and salt. This was but one of five dishes I was preparing for about 40 people, and I had been on a roll, but getting a little silly. These parties have a lot of moving parts.

Have you ever noticed how the television cooking shows always have the chef tasting his own food and going, “Mmmm! Delicious!” with a dreamy expression? We thought we’d have a laugh and shoot the opposite. If I hadn’t been so sleep-deprived, I might have found this less funny…

Hope you can laugh with us.

Have you seen my cookbook?

I have a little cookbook out and ready for download. It’s called 5 Easy Chef Luna Recipes. You can access it by clicking here, or on the image furthr below.

In it, I share the following five easy recipes:5 Easy Recipes Cover Image

  • A delicious Cabbage Saladrecipe, one of my most popular dishes back in the United States
  • Asian-style Green Beans, which is a healthy alternative to the french fry
  • Gambas al ajillo, one of my favorite easy-as-hell, show-stopping dishes
  • A dependable Tomato Sauce recipe, which serves as an important flavor basis for any dish, including spaghetti, of course. (This tomato sauce is THE secret ingredient to the Bacon Lovers’ Erlebnis speck-tacularness!)
  • Banana Brot, an easy recipe that delivers again and again

One of the things I love about this little booklet is that each recipe has a hyperlink that sends you directly to a YouTube video. So, you have all the ingredients and a brief description on one page, but you can see the recipe in action! Just click on the link in the image below!

Chef Luna to download 5 easy chef luna recipes book

Best pizza in Winterthur, Switzerland

You may not know this about me, but I can be pretty particular about the food I eat. To find, say, the best pizza in Winterthur (the town in Switzerland where I live) can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Why? Because there are TONS of pizza restaurants here. But many of them serve up the usual frozen-dough, baked in a run-of-the-mill oven pies, which — doesn’t feed my craving for the Southern Italian snack.

The Best Pizza in Winterthur?

So, when I discovered this place in my current hometown, Pizzeria Cardinal on Agnesstrasse 42, Winterthur, I found my go-to restaurant whenever I’m in the mood for pizza made in a real wood-fire oven!

Check out my video (under five minutes) to see why I think the best pizza in Winterthur is at Pizzeria Cardinal!

The best pizza — because of the people!

You will probably see that besides the freshness of the ingredients used, the awesome equipment (did you notice how many times I shot that amazing oven?) they use, the people who work (and own) Pizzeria Cardinale are wonderful!

Every time my wife and I go there, they are warm and welcoming! (Believe me, this is not a given in Switzerland. The people can be very reserved.) When I asked the owner if I could shoot a video in her place and get a mini-tour of the center of production, without hesitation she asked me to follow her around!

Thank you Pizzeria Cardinal for being my go-to place for the best pizza in this town!

(This blog post is my honest opinion. I have not received any compensation or payment to make the video or write this blog post.)  

If you find yourself in Winterthur, and you’re looking for a great place to have pizza and an Italian dinner, you won’t regret coming to his family-owned business. It’s well worth your evening in this small town.

Have you seen my cookbook?

I have a little cookbook out and ready for download. It’s called 5 Easy Chef Luna Recipes. You can access it by clicking here, or on the image furthr below.

In it, I share the following five easy recipes:5 Easy Recipes Cover Image

  • A delicious Cabbage Salad recipe, one of my most popular dishes back in the United States
  • Asian-style Green Beans, which is a healthy alternative to the french fry
  • Gambas al ajillo, one of my favorite easy-as-hell, show-stopping dishes
  • A dependable Tomato Sauce recipe, which serves as an important flavor basis for any dish, including spaghetti, of course. (This tomato sauce is THE secret ingredient to the Bacon Lovers’ Erlebnis speck-tacularness!)
  • Banana Brot, an easy recipe that delivers again and again

One of the things I love about this little booklet is that each recipe has a hyperlink that sends you directly to a YouTube video. So, you have all the ingredients and a brief description on one page, but you can see the recipe in action! Just click on the link in the image below!

Chef Luna to download 5 easy chef luna recipes book

Beck Schneider Café: A nice place for a cup of tea.

People love their coffee in Switzerland. But every now and again, an herbal infusion (chamomile), can be really satisfying. In the town where I live, Winterthur, there are many, many cafés to choose from. One of the ones I keep coming back to is Beck Schneider. Check out the video I shot there.

It’s a cozy place where one can get a range of pastries, delicious coffees, and also a range of teas.

This also was the birthplace of the term, “all over the place,” which I would like to be the name of my YouTube channel. Let’s see where this takes us!

Have you seen my cookbook?

I have a little cookbook out and ready for download. It’s called 5 Easy Chef Luna Recipes. You can access it by clicking here, or on the image further below.

In it, I share the following five easy recipes:5 Easy Recipes Cover Image

  • A delicious Cabbage Saladrecipe, one of my most popular dishes back in the United States
  • Asian-style Green Beans, which is a healthy alternative to the french fry
  • Gambas al ajillo, one of my favorite easy-as-hell, show-stopping dishes
  • A dependable Tomato Sauce recipe, which serves as an important flavor basis for any dish
  • Banana Brot, an easy recipe that delivers again and again

One of the things I love about this little booklet is that each recipe has a hyperlink that sends you directly to a YouTube video. So, you have all the ingredients and a brief description on one page, but you can see the recipe in action! Just click on the link in the image below!

Chef Luna to download 5 easy chef luna recipes book

A simple lesson in goodbyes

Living in Winterthur, Switzerland, one of the things that is inevitable is learning German. There are many ways to say goodbye in German, but “Tschüss” is probably heard most frequently. While recording this video, we enjoyed the spontaneous opportunity to convey a simple lesson in goodbyes between close friends. Check it out!

Before we say our goodbyes! Have you seen my cookbook?

I have a little cookbook out and ready for download. It’s called 5 Easy Chef Luna Recipes. You can access it by clicking here, or on the image furthr below.

In it, I share the following five easy recipes:

  • A delicious Cabbage Salad recipe, one of my most popular dishes back in the United States
  • Asian-style Green Beans, which is a healthy alternative to the french fry
  • Gambas al ajillo, one of my favorite easy-as-hell, show-stopping dishes
  • A dependable Tomato Sauce recipe, which serves as an important flavor basis for any dish, including spaghetti, of course
  • Banana Brot, an easy recipe that delivers again and again

One of the things I love about this little booklet is that each recipe has a hyperlink that sends you directly to a YouTube video. So, you have all the ingredients and a brief description on one page, but you can see the recipe in action! Just click on the link in the image below!

Chef Luna to download 5 easy chef luna recipes book

I love Switzerland

What is it like to live in Switzerland? Totally awesome.

Is it the mountains? The snow? Or the slopes? The countrysides or the people?

I don’t know.

Love is not a thing that is defined.

I love you when I don’t think of you.

I love Switzerland, explained.

Coming from New York City, the people I meet here in Switzerland, and in Winterthur, often ask me why would I move here.

Love is something that cannot be defined or explained.

My wife moved to Winterthur. So, without thinking, I moved. I followed.

Love is absent of thought. The moment you think, you live the opposite.

I only love you, when I don’t think of you.

Every moment is a new beginning. It’s an eternity. There is no comparing, or remembering. Only living. Only loving.

What to do in Lugano, Switzerland, on Christmas Day

If you’re wondering what to do in Lugano, Switzerland, on Christmas Day, I might have an idea for you.

Visit Hotel Splendide and have a glass of champagne or two.

The holiday season is a lively time of year in Lugano. We had the instinct to visit the small town in Canton Ticino a few days before Christmas day and we were greeted with a lively small town with lots of stands and artisanal goodies. On the 25th, things quieted down considerably. All the stands were gone. The stores were closed. Even restaurants had shuttered, so the cooks and wait staff could enjoy time with their families and friends on that festive day.

So, we decided to have a couple glasses of champagne at the Hotel Splendide right on the lake. Check out our little video clip of the experience. There was music, Perrier Jouet, and an amazing view over lake Lugano.

JesusRICE! is born!

A month ago today, ChefLuna opened the doors on its latest venture, called: JesusRICE!

From the outset, JesusRICE! is nothing particularly original. It’s a food concept. People go there to eat. The menu centers around: you guessed it–rice. Rice with veggies, rice with beef, rice with chicken–served with white beans. The core menu items are gluten-free and lactose free.

This venture, currently, is a one-man show. I am the dishwasher, the cook, the register-person and the doorman.

JesusRICE! is located in downtown Winterthur on Schützenstrasse 10. You can find out more about it at: jesusrice.chefluna.com.

What makes JesusRICE! special?

What makes JesusRICE! special is its purpose.

  • What to do with asylum seekers in our communities?
  • Who is helping troubled youth and orphans?
  • Is there a place for disenfranchised individuals to get the help they need to become vibrant contributors to the communities in which they live?
  • What can I do?

JesusRICE! is addressing issues that are challenging our local societies right now.

JesusRICE! is that place–for those who want training, on-the-job experience, friendship and a place they can feel safe and call home.

If you’re in Winterthur, Switzerland, swing by to check it out.

I*Ron Winterthur Featured Chef Luna This Week!

Chef Luna Featured in I*Ron Winterthur on 7. October 2014It’s so thrilling when people start to hear about you.

This week, with the help of I*Ron Winterthur, we were able to announce a small contest to Winterthur residents who would like to try our Chef Luna’s Ess-Abo for a week. But first, let’s just celebrate the virtual ink that helped us get the word out about what we do!

 

 

Face of Chef Luna Makes the Masthead of Local Paper!

We are so thrilled to get a chance to share a piece of what we do here in Winterthur. Christine Buschor, a freelancer for the Stadt Anzeiger, wrote a story about what we are committed to doing, to help us spread the message in German. Click on the image below and check out the story on page 11. There’s also a surprise recipe from me on how to make a basic tomato sauce — the perfect “mother sauce” for your culinary needs!