Why seek distant culinary shores?

Over the course of his long career, Swiss celebrity chef Thuri Maag has not just collected numerous Michelin and Gault-Millau awards, he has also developed a fondness for rabbit meat. The self-proclaimed rabbit ambassador talked to European Business about the company he has founded to promote rabbit meat, delikantessa, and also shared his thoughts about the latest food trends.

European Food: Mr. Maag, meat comes in many different forms. Why have you chosen to promote rabbit meat in particular? 

Thuri Maag: There is a very simple answer to that question. I believe that rabbit is the meat of the future. The fact that it is a very lean meat that also lowers cholesterol speaks strongly in its favour. Combine that with a high iron content and the lowest environmental footprint of any meat and the arguments for it become overwhelming. The rabbits we raise on our farm are ready for slaughter after just 70 days. They are kept in accordance with the latest Swiss regulations and guidelines. Were you also aware that there is no danger of salmonella infection with rabbit meat? You can even eat it raw and prepare it in wonderful dishes such as tartare, carpaccio or mi-cuit (seared on the outside).

“I believe that rabbit is the meat of the future.”

Thuri Maag

European Food: Through your company delikantessa, you are actively spearheading a rabbit revival in the Swiss market. How much time does that leave for cooking?

Thuri Maag: I can still pursue my passion for cooking with delikantessa. The company requires me to wear my businessman’s hat quite a lot, but it also feeds into my activities as a chef by inspiring me with new and creative ideas.

European Food: When you look back at your career, have the qualities that made you a great chef helped you to be successful in business?

Thuri Maag: Qualities certainly, but also trends. You mustn’t forget I worked for four years with the best chefs in France. 35 years ago they were already championing regional cuisine and using the best local produce they could find. This regional focus is something that I continue to pursue in my current work.

European Food: To what extent are you aware of the current trends in international cuisine? 

Thuri Maag: I am completely up-to-date. It isn’t so easy to lose sight of international food trends. I am in regular contact with other chefs and attend seminars where new trends are showcased.

“What is important is not chasing after every trend that comes up but setting our own creative accents.”

Thrui Maag

European Food: The motto for this year’s Anuga trade fair is “Taste of the future”. How important is the world’s biggest food exhibition for you?

Thuri Maag: The Anuga is hugely important! However, I sometimes ask myself why I need to seek out distant culinary shores when there are so many good things to be had right here. I’m thinking about exotic excursions like insects, mealworms or even crocodile. Our humble rabbit is just as good a candidate for the nose-to-tail trend as beef, veal and pork. The shoulder can be braised to make Gigolette. The fillet is perfect for carpaccio or stroganoff. The legs can be cooked at a low temperature or sous-vide for the à la carte menu. What is important is not chasing after every trend that comes up but setting our own creative accents. This is true not just in cooking but in all areas of life. 

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European Food

Food Special 2/2017

In this issue: Brouwerij Anders! NV – Pushing the boundaries of Belgian craft beer / Mozart Distillerie Gmbh – Your chocolate moment / Gloria Maris Groupe – Breeding healthy and high-quality fish / Caseificio Longo Srl – The artisan cheese company / Fromagerie Biologique de Vielsalm – Pure nature, pure taste

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