A soft-spoken, humble persona belies the prominence that Chef Anton Mosimann has risen to in an illustrious career spanning over five decades. One is immediately struck by the down-to-earth nature with which he conducts himself, a fact that compliments the drive and passion he exhibits when talking about food. The same drive and passion, he affirms with enthusiasm, which was present when he was a youngling learning the ropes. Having last been in Malaysia 18 months ago, the well-travelled chef has returned, delivering some of his signature dishes at The Club Saujana Resort and The Datai Langkawi. The exclusive lunch and dinner menus contain some of his most famous creations and represent the height of culinary art. Each course has been masterfully paired with a selection of Carlsberg’s top brands, including Kronenbourg 1664, Asahi Super Dry, Grimbergen and Somersby Apple Cider to give guests a unique dining experience and a departure from the typical wine accompaniment. The Swiss-born chef was perhaps always destined to work with food, having gleaned a solid foundation from his restaurateur parents, who taught him how to pick fruits and vegetables at the local market and how smelly a cheese really should be. Most importantly, he learnt good, honest food, a running theme that would stay with him for the rest of his career and one that later led him to create his magnum opus, cuisine naturelle. A fast-paced apprenticeship was followed by a whirlwind of positions in only the finest restaurants in Switzerland. “I chose only the best chefs to work under, always wanted to go for the best…” he says, and after gaining experience in Italy, Japan and Canada, he suddenly found himself with a Masterchef diploma at the tender age of 25. The youngest chef ever to receive this sought-after diploma. The Hotel Years The turning point for the young and ambitious Mosimann came after winning gold at a cooking competition in 1975. The win served to catapult him into the upper echelons of the cheffing world and as a result was promptly invited to become Maitre Chef de Cuisines at The Dorchester in London, where he would hone his skills for the next 13 years. Mosimann fondly recalls his trepidation at accepting the position that would see 132 chefs working under him, some of them with twice his age and experience. Embracing the challenge with all his being, he jumped into the deep end came out something of a legend. During his time at the Dorchester, he was responsible for the hotel gaining two Michelin stars, the first hotel outside of France to receive the honour and a keystone moment for the culinary world. After gaining the coveted two stars, having worked through five different owners and 10 different managers, the question arose “where do I go from here?” There was only one answer, namely to establish his own business. So came about the birth of Mosimann’s Private Dining Club in London’s Belgravia, one of the wealthiest districts in the world. The private dining club would revolutionise the gastronomic landscape in London and is best summed up by Loyd Grossman, “This history of food in Britain divides neatly into two periods – before Mosimann and after Mosimann.” Clean, Simple, Healthy At the time, the prevailing style of cooking in fine-dining restaurants entailed the generous use of those guilty ingredients that make everything taste better; butter, cream and alcohol. This wasn’t doing Britain any favours, and it struck him that thousands of people were dying every year because of heart disease directly related to this heavy-set diet. A fresh approach was needed, one that would do away with the butter and the cream, while also enhancing the natural, basic flavour of ingredients. Something that would keep it simple, yet maintain a layered flavour-scape. Enter cuisine naturelle, with a focus on the individual ingredients’ flavours, and with a keen eye on presentation. His club would spearhead the new cuisine, taking the country and then the world by storm, and influencing many different cultures. Today the cuisine is apparent in some form or another almost everywhere one looks. Times have changed and from Asia to the European continent and beyond, trends have shifted towards healthier cooking techniques and ingredients. Mosimann’s main philosophy of less is more is central to cuisine naturelle, and he uses the scallop as a prime example. The poor shellfish is rarely cooked correctly and usually coated with butter and oil, swimming in a sea of cream. The natural flavours are entirely masked, and with a rubbery flat texture, this is one very unhappy scallop. In stark contrast is the chef’s preferred way of consuming the shellfish, namely raw with just a touch of salt. The sweetness, tenderness and natural flavour of the scallop puts any sauce to shame. Once again, he asserts his firm belief in less is more, and in the case of the scallop, this belief couldn’t hold more true. A Royal Chef Not many chefs can attest to having served four generations of the British Royal Family and less even to four American Presidents and six British Prime Ministers (not to mention countless crowned heads of Europe). Indeed, he seems to be in and out of No 10 Downing Street on a regular basis and just last year, took over the kitchens at Buckingham Palace to showcase his expertise at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. One of the highlights of his career, he asserts with a smile. Recalling a time when he cooked for a party of 85 at an embassy in Washington DC, he was promptly called out after dinner to meet the guests, and was startled to find that in a matter of five minutes, he had met three American Presidents, one of whom was Jimmy Carter. His wife, Rosalyn Carter, was so impressed by his bread and butter pudding, she requested a sizeable doggy bag be made right away. “These are moments that are just fantastic,” he reflects. Indeed, some might say, career-defining moments. A Trademark Menu Diners at the Saujana and Datai are in for a treat as the chef has prepared a typical Mossiman menu, but with fine twists to make it a East-West mix, and infused with some of Carlsberg’s signature brands. The starter, a Scottish Salmon marinated in salt, sugar and herbs, cooked in the Swedish style with a side sauce of pickled ginger and a lemon dressing. A first course that represents a nice fusion of flavours and creates a light and easy-to-eat dish. His risotto al funghi, the best-selling dish on a weekly basis since the opening of his club in 1988, makes an appearance on the menu, a creation that he takes great pride in and is universally loved. A gently roasted fillet of lamb, infused with rosemary, served pink and with red wine jus takes centre stage as the main course. There is also steamed seabass that comes with baby tomatoes, lightly tossed in olive oil and with a touch of cherry vinegar. Fresh basil and coriander keep the flavours simple and let the fish do the talking. The sweet ending comes with a contrast of hot and cold sensations as fresh pineapple with black pepper is sautéed in butter (just a little!) and served with a caramel sauce and homemade vanilla ice-cream. To finish the meal, a crème brulee cappuccino and just as a taster, the famous bread and butter pudding. A menu that showcases some of Mossiman’s most celebrated dishes with the addition of some fusion elements and most importantly with a focus on simplicity. Off Road Adventures So what does one of the most accomplished chefs of the 21st century do in his spare time? For Mosimann it’s rallying. After his stint in Malaysia, it’s back to London first of all to regroup, and then off to Buenos Aires where the 61-year-old will be travelling on a dirt track down to Patagonia for four weeks. A favourite pastime for the chef, he travels with a big group and occasionally breaks out the pots and pans along the way. Travelling in general has featured heavily in his life and from a young age, far-off places like Japan and Montreal were already ticked off his list. Visiting the markets, not surprisingly, is one of the primary means by which he acquaints himself with a culture. It is, after all, food that binds a culture, and by talking to the people that produce and sell it, one can acquire more information than expected. Throughout his 50-year career, Mossiman has amassed an empire that includes a private member’s club in Belgravia, an events and catering company, as well as the Mossiman Academy that offers cookery courses at all levels. His zest for cooking and life has never waned, evidenced by his regular travels throughout the world, conducting food promotions, hosting dinners and entertaining a top-notch clientele. He talks with true passion about food and new trends emerging in the competitive gastronomic industry, and is ever hungry to learn more. The man has also published a small library, consisting of 10 cookbooks that cover a whole spectrum of cuisines, and as if that’s not enough, he’s also available for corporate talks. The question is, what can’t he do?