Kochfreunde.com is the culinary magazine of Oliver Wagner. Here, everything revolves around the almost most beautiful thing in the world: good food. The focus ranges from reports on exciting restaurants to recipes from his own kitchen, cookbooks and culinary gadgets.


Kochfreunde.com ist das kulinarisches Magazin von Oliver Wagner. Hier dreht sich alles rund um die beinahe schönste Sache der Welt: Gutes Essen. Dabei reicht der Fokus von Berichten über spannende Restaurants bis hin zu Rezepten aus der eigenen Küche, Kochbücher und kulinarische Gadgets.

Andreas Caminada & Quique Dacosta

At first glance, one can draw certain parallels between Andreas Caminada and Quique Dacosta. In purely visual terms, there’s no denying that anyway – but much more interesting is the consistency and perfection in craftsmanship that distinguishes both in equal measure. And yet the culinary worlds of three-star chefs are far apart.

Andreas Caminada and Quique Dacosta

One day in April, there was the extraordinary opportunity to experience a joint Four Hands menu with Andreas Caminada and Quique Dacosta. Reason enough to make the trip to sunny Switzerland.

My last visit to Quique Dacosta is almost two years ago – and here, at Schloss Schauenstein, I have not been before. For 15 years, Andreas Caminada has built his creative refuge in Fürstenau, in the canton of Graubünden. Over the years it has been renovated, expanded and recently added on to, the small castle is a beautiful place, out of time as it were, and yet modern. The classic substance of the former boarding school was retained and in places supplemented with discreet and ultra-modern elements.

Photo: Andreas Caminada

The restaurant has held three stars since 2011 and is currently ranked 72nd in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017 (formerly 23rd), and continues to produce great talent that continues to bring Andreas Caminada’s ideas to the culinary world. In general, the promotion of young talent is a major topic for the 40-year-old. His foundation, Fundaziun Uccelin, recently started its second year helping talented scholars learn the great craft. And he brings them again and again to the kitchens of his international partners – just like to Denia to Quique Dacosta. Accordingly, a portion of the proceeds from the Four Hands Dinner also directly supports the Foundation’s other work.

We start the menu with some small appetizers, especially highlighting a foie gras terrine and foie gras almonds from the host. This is followed by a satay of king crab on crispy chip, similar to what is regularly found in Denia at Dacosta.

“Corn and yogurt” stacks far too low to describe the following course from Andreas Caminada. The corn is worked as a broth and ice cream and is combined with a yogurt espuma. Clear, simple and much deeper and more aromatic than one would expect from the description.

At first it feels a bit unusual to get involved with Quique Dacosta’s Mediterranean world of taste here between all the mountain panorama. Tuna belly on pepper cabbage, wasabi dumpling and pisco sour, however, remind us that not only two cuisines but also two regions meet here in constant change. The Toro melts on the palate and is given a fresh and summery note by the strong herb and the light and slightly acidic raviolo of radish.

With red cabbage as ice cream, as a chip and red cabbage-ham broth, Andreas Caminada takes us back from the coast to his mountain world. A very clear, reduced and extremely elegant gait in its overall appearance. Again, however, full of deep flavors and despite the exciting contrast of texture and temperature, the essence of red cabbage is perfectly captured.

The kefir (actually a goat’s milk snow) of celery and oyster acts like a cool and iodine sea breeze. Mustard seed, dill and celery and again the contrast of temperatures support the dish great without drowning out the oyster.

Andreas Caminada’s beef tartare has little in common with the classic preparation. He serves it in a fresh version with sour cream and pearls of dill, yogurt and beetroot. This continues to be light and summery, only the comparatively high proportion of sour cream masks the tartare a bit too much for my liking.

We’re sticking with creamy textures – but in a completely different flavor world. A sea urchin cream covers a creamy gelled combination of sea urchin and razor clam, crab and smoked pea. Taste great, intense and with strong umami appeal.

Lemon Fish, is a lemon fish escabèche and is served in a colorful, fun vessel that may even be modeled after the namesake fish. Of course, this does not detract from the enjoyment. For the traditionally acidic sauce plays again with the title of the dish with a high citrus content, but combines fish, potatoes, kumquats and celery into a thoroughly interesting combination.Char and carrot by Andreas Caminada is not only a signature dish of the Swiss, it again enhances the already previously eye-catching elegance of his dishes. The fish is delicately confit and of sensational quality. The carrots sliced paper-thin and lightly marinated. Together with a mousse of smoked fish and fine corainder leaves, new flavors emerge with every fork.

As a surprise course, the two chefs then also serve a joint creation. Pumpkin and gamba combine mountains and sea on one plate. A bouillon of crustacean serves as a link between both products, the pickled pumpkin adds fine sour accents.

On a subsequent plate, the grilled head of the gamba from Denia is added to the plate, along with a fried specimen. It is in the head that much of the flavor of crustaceans lies dormant. Often, however, this is only found in the jus cooked out of it.

The region around Denia is known for rice production and the many dishes that come from it. The most famous, of course, is the paella, which originated a little further north in Valencia. Accordingly, rice dishes are always on the menu at Dacosta. Here a black rice with ashes from the trip and monkfish.

For the finale, Caminada sends another classic of his cuisine: kidney piece and belly of Bündner lamb. A sensational meat dish. The fillet is perfectly cooked and exceptionally tender and aromatic. The small piece of belly is crispy on the outside and has an almost fork-tender crumbly texture on the inside. Sea buckthorn jelly contributes a fruity acidity and a harissa cream a surprisingly intense spiciness. Sensational!

In the first dessert course, Quique Dacosta plays with seaweed with sake, yuzu, a mojito and tonic. It sounds a bit off at first, but it adds up to a very interesting gear. However, a bit too much texturizer in the numerous components diminishes the pleasure a bit.

Clearly more classic is the Swiss dessert around the protagonists rhubarb and yogurt, accompanied by a quark soufflée. A nice interplay of fruit, acidity and sweetness round out this far more than successful four-hands dinner.

The trip to Schauenstein was well worth this special menu. The next time I visit Graubünden, however, I will place myself entirely in the hands of Andereas Caminada and revel in his elegant creations.

A refresh of Quique Dacostas’ style was also very welcome. Presumably, however, this works a little better in his restaurant in Denia, the sea in front of the door and the garden in front of the restaurant pleasantly warmed by the just setting Spanish sun.

Quique Dacosta

Andreas Caminada

Schauenstein Castle
Schlossgass 77
7414 Fürstenau, Switzerland

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