Born in South Tyrolean, Northern Italy, Martin Dalsass is a chef known locally as the ‘Olive Oil Pope’ thanks to his use of the Italian ingredient in signature dishes such as chocolate mouse with olive oil.
The chef runs the Talvoby Dalsass restaurant in St Moritz, Switzerland, where he uses his knowledge of the Mediterranean kitchen to prepare light dishes that focus in on the best possible ingredients.
He’s written a number of books, one on the subject of olive oil, and thinks that the raw product should always be the primary objective of the chef.
We caught up with Dalsass to discuss his role as a mentor in the competition and ask for some of his advice to the young chefs of today.
Who was your most important mentor for your profession and why?
Gérard Perriard in Ascona. In 1978 he had 2 Michelin star and I still remember that he made me taste one of his dish “Veal filet with goose leaver sauce” and I was stunned. From that moment I started to think that it’s possible to cook in a different and new way.
What’s the best advice you were ever given when you were training?
The quality is always the first thing. The raw product have to be of great quality and have to maintain their taste also in the dish.
Do you remember one of the big mistakes you made in a kitchen when you were training?
Once I burned 4 Strudel and I remember that I was really in hurry to maintain the service and prepare again what I ruined. It was really hard.
Is there one mistake you see young chefs making very often? What should they do instead?
They don’t taste enough their dishes. They are just working on the beauty of the plate without be focused on the taste.
What are the best characteristics a young chef can have, nowadays?
LOVE. Love for their job, love for the products and love for the kitchen. You can do the best just if you love what you do.
What are the worst?
Working with the presumption of being a great Chef.
What’s your main focus in advising the S.Pellegrino Young Chef candidate of your region?
Change the less possible the taste of the products and maintain the tradition in the dish.
What’s your message to all the finalists of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 worldwide?
Maintain the tradition and be true to the products. Don’t follow the trends, maintain the simplicity.