With two Michelin-stars to his name, Marcus G. Lindner is a culinary powerhouse. Overseeing the gastronomic vision at Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad is not a task to be taken lightly. The hotel has a diverse range of culinary offerings, including fine-dining restaurant LEONARD’s, rustic fondue favourite Le Petit Chalet and The Sushi Bar. Fiercely passionate about cooking from a young age, the celebrated chef brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his kitchen. In this interview, we get exclusive access into his world to hear his story, style and plans for Le Grand Bellevue in 2019.
What would you say is your style of cooking?
I love Mediterranean fine dining with a modern twist. At LEONARD’s, the hummus and king crab salad with granny smith apple and rouille is the perfect light lunch, whilst the amuse bouche of turbot, mango, cabbage and eel on the fine dining menu is refreshing and delicious. .
What cooking techniques do you rely on for flavour?
I am fascinated by the way mashing, pickling and smoking changes the taste and texture of food. These techniques can create powerful or subtle flavours, where even the slightest change in the ingredients or process can have the most profound effect.
(Picture: Vegetable Salad Wrap, Pickled Ginger & Radish)
At what age did you start cooking?
My mother was a brilliant cook and she would prepare a proper home-cooked meal daily, even at lunchtime. Being culinary spoilt at a young age definitely shaped me, but I didn’t think it would be my career path. I decided to do a cooking apprenticeship at 15 or 16 in my hometown Montforthaus in Felldkirch, and something clicked. It was very challenging, only three of us out of ten passed the apprenticeship, but I didn’t look back.
That’s amazing! What was your secret to success?
I have always been very innovative and avant-garde with my cooking. Even back then, I wasn’t afraid to take risks. I was only 15 when I created my signature carrot sorbet.
So, if it wasn’t cooking, what career would you have pursued instead?
I actually wanted to be a watchmaker or goldsmith. I’m very creative and I am always drawing and illustrating. I didn’t realise I could apply those skills to cooking too – now, I draw all of my dishes before I make them!
You have travelled extensively around Europe throughout your career. What have you learnt along the way in terms of cooking?
If you want fantastic Mediterranean food, go to Barcelona. Their local cuisine is fresh and authentic. I love Vienna for how distinct the gastronomy is. The city is a melting pot of cultures and that is reflected in its cuisine, which has influences from Turkey, Hungary and Asia. I am similarly desperate to visit Budapest. Budapest was a central point for such a large empire, which makes me think it will be a similar melting pot to Vienna.
What dishes can you not get enough of?
We have a dish of a scallop served with beetroot and strawberry, dill and amaranth in the fine dining menu at LEONARD’s at the moment. You wouldn’t think they work together, but they complement each other perfectly. When each of them are sourced and cooked correctly, they are all so delicate and flavoursome that they almost melt in your mouth.
(Picture: Scallop, Strawberry, Beetroot, Dill, Amaranth)
Are there any new dishes that you plan to introduce in 2019?
I cannot wait to share my duck liver dish with guests at LEONARD’s.. It’s cooked with chard, coconut and dashi, which makes it balanced and nutritious yet indulgent all at the same time. It’s almost too good to be true.
As wellness grows in popularity, how do you incorporate health and nutrition into your menus for guests?
I live a very healthy lifestyle myself and I try to incorporate it into my work as much as possible. However, for me a healthy lifestyle is about balance and sometimes that means indulging a little. I’m aware that everyone has their own definition of health, but I think it should be based on what makes you feel good and fits your lifestyle best. Having said that, I do think it’s odd when people don’t eat butter…
What do you recommend for guests who want to be healthy at the hotel? Can you tell us more about the ski & soul special healthy menu?
I am always happy to completely customise a menu for guests with special requirements and preferences. On the ski & soul special menu, the quinoa-burger is delicious. It’s made with wholefoods such as dinkel (spelt), kamut (wheat), beans and linsen. Wash it down with a shot of wheatgrass and you’re full of energy for a day on the slopes!
(Picture: Marcus G. Lindner)