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It doesn’t always have to be caviar

New culinary scene in the engadin

St. MoritzPontresina
La Scarpetta, St. Moritz

Authentic, unfussy and mouth-watering

The new gastronomic scene in the Engadin charms guests with its unusual locations and creative concepts.

What happens when an engineering draughtsman, a facility manager and a student of gastronomic sciences meet? No, this isn’t a joke. This genuine encounter between three talented lads was the beginning of a wonderful friendship that has brought a witty and original twist to the Engadin’s gastro scene – and success, too. No kidding!

Calling all foodies: a new generation of cooks is shaking things up in the kitchens of the Engadin!

Michelin-starred chefs and top protagonists of classical cuisine are watching with amazement their new neighbours, who have mischievously turned the tables on them with new concepts and laid-back venues that are proving highly successful. Not that the Engadin was ever seen as a stronghold of conservative cuisine: on the contrary, it has always stood for top quality in the country with Europe’s greatest concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants.

And yet it seems as if the gastronomic niche that Dimitrios Kefalas, Fabian Roth, Luca Höfer and Nicolas Hauser are now filling with visionary verve had been waiting all too long for these daring young entrepreneurs and innovators.


La Scarpetta
Via Veglia 11
7500 St. Moritz
T +41 79 565 78 86
lascarpetta@grottovino.ch www.engadin.ch/scarpetta

Gartenrestaurant Giardin
Via Maistra 62
7504 Pontresina
T +41 81 842 88 88

Back to the roots”, means not just a return to pure flavours and regional products, but also a rediscovery of the original Engadin as we know and love it: small, special, authentic and relaxed.

La Scarpetta, St. Moritz
La Scarpetta, St. Moritz

The future lies in the roots

They manage this delicate balancing act with a nonchalance that the traditional Michelin-starred chefs, burdened with high expectations, look on with envy. The young newcomers chatted to us about food trends in the Engadin and their tips and dreams as they cooked pasta together in their restaurant, La Scarpetta.

“My parents, too, ran a restaurant;” “I always sat with my granny in the kitchen and helped her peel potatoes;” “Other kids dreamed of becoming a train driver, but I already wanted to be a cook from the age of eight”... How did you all actually get into the world of gastronomy?
Professionally we come from very different places, but we’re united by a love of cooking. We are all from the Upper Engadin, but study and jobs took us in totally different directions. Dimitrios studied in Zurich and also worked there for two years in IT; Fabian trained as a civil engineering draughtsman before joining his parents’ sports shop in St. Moritz; and Luca is studying at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, cradle of the Slow Food movement. But we always used to meet up to cook together, for friends or just for ourselves, and over pasta and wine we would dream up plans for our own restaurant – until we finally went for it!
How did you first reveal your hidden talents?
In winter 2017, we opened a kind of “chef’s table” as a pop-up in the QN bar at the Schweizerhof in St. Moritz. They put a really old-fashioned, wood-panelled room at our disposal, with a kitchen that was barely half the size of the table we’re sitting at now. For us that was more than enough, because we only ever prepared our 4-course dinner for just 14 guests. We just wanted to find out if our idea would work: one table, one small and cosy room, everything always freshly prepared. And it worked: we were fully booked, week after week!

Is all this talk of fine food whetting your appetite?

If you’d like to treat yourself to delicious fresh pasta, crispy pizza or hearty Pizzoccheri, you can book your seats at a table or order a takeaway pizza here.
Gartenrestaurant Giardin

Enjoy fresh menues in cozy atmosphere with a great view to St. Moritz and Roseg Valley.

by La Scarpetta Team

Called a trendsetter by GaultMillau

GaultMillau has called you trendsetters. What trends are you setting, then?
Quite simply: Back to the roots. Simple cuisine with high quality, fair prices, very informal. Here at La Scarpetta, our guests sit together at two big tables. The evening may begin with five couples or pairs of guests, but by the end all of them are talking together and sharing their wine. It makes us enormously happy to see how our place becomes their place, too. The Giardin, our new garden restaurant in Pontresina, is a bit too big to have the same cosy intimacy as La Scarpetta, but the atmosphere and style are very similar to those of its “little sister”. We want the Giardin, too, to keep offering guests fresh and original experiences, so we are starting with a new concept in winter 2019/2020.
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Fresh Pasta by La Scarpetta
Luca is studying Gastronomic Sciences in Piedmont, cradle of Slow Food. Would you like to bring this movement to the Engadin, too?
We certainly would, if it weren’t already gaining ground here steadily! The young gastro scene – and by that, we mean us hosts as well as our guests – is totally committed to the concept. “Back to the roots” actually also means “back to the original flavours”. After all, Slow Food stands for good, clean and fair ingredients – in other words, tasty, seasonal and uncontaminated goods direct from the producer. Luca’s studies in Piedmont are helping us to expand steadily our network of regional suppliers.
To finish, can you take us on a food tour through the Engadin’s wild gastronomic scene?
Sure! Hmm, let’s think for a moment… Breakfast is definitely at the alpine cheese dairy in Morteratsch. The setting is gorgeous, and visitors can watch the cheese being made. For our morning snack, we’ll visit the Famiglia Cadurisch in Isola near Sils, who have been making superb goat’s cheese, among other things, on their farm for generations. Lunch… well, here we’re spoilt for choice… PappaLoù on Lake Silvaplana is definitely always an option, but really we ought to head up to an alpine hut! To Georgy’s mountain hut on Piz Languard, for example, or the Segantini mountain hut up on the Schafberg. Simple cuisine, no frills, top quality. You sit in the sunshine, you’re in a good mood and you’ve been enjoying a fabulous hike – what more could you want? In Pontresina, we’ll make a stop at Gianottis wine bar for a drink before heading over to St. Moritz for dinner: the people who run Dal Mulin are not much older than us, and offer wonderful, authentic cuisine and a fantastic wine list. If we’d prefer somewhere lively – and loud! – then La Baracca is the place to go in winter. And perhaps one tip you might not expect, because the name sounds rather conservative: the Country Club at the Kulm Hotel! A really laid-back atmosphere, superb value, and the local cook is a total “back to the roots” enthusiast. The only conservative thing about the place is the name!

La Scarpetta Team (left to right): Dimitrios Kefalas, Luca Höfer, Fabian Roth

La Scarpetta Team