You shouldn't blindly do something, just because it's written somewhere. In fact quite the opposite is true at the "Widder Bar & Kitchen" where the restaurant concept invites guests to "follow the flavour". Just like Alice when she follows the white rabbit down the rabbit hole, guests find themselves in a wonderland of flavours. The "Curry Trail" includes a dish of sweet potatoes, yellow lentils and lady's fingers, and an ice lolly made of baked apple and purple curry, while the "Intro to Cilantro" features steamed buns with oxtail and coriander. And for "When Life gives you Lemons", Staub has created cod ceviche with avocado, mango and pomegranate.

Tino Staub is the Executive Chef at the Widder Hotel and is responsible for the wide variety of flavours. "There are nine different flavours. For each flavour there is a meat, fish or vegetarian option. And there's also a corresponding cocktail or dessert", says Staub about the extensive menu. The chef and his team have conjured up a menu that includes chicken nuggets, lamb tagine with couscous and cha plu leaf-wrapped Scottish salmon marinated with beetroot.

More than just salt and pepper

Tino Staub's favourite dishes are Asian-inspired. "I like it when food is seasoned with more than just salt and pepper. I prefer dishes with character", he says. His signature dish is a luke-warm Thai beef salad with peanuts, mint and coriander. "We offer global cuisine. This doesn't mean that we cook national dishes, but rather I tend to have a flavour in my head and come up with my own creation based on this". We serve sharing dishes. "This way you have the opportunity to sample lots of different food".

This concept has been in effect for around a year and a half. The bar and restaurant are connected by a staircase. A walkway between the ground floor and first floor was not just an option, it was expressly requested. You won't find a tablecloth in sight in this Swiss deluxe hotel. "In terms of the quality, service and furnishings, the Widder is clearly a five-star hotel. However, we set ourselves apart by the urban feel that stems from our young team and modern concepts", says Staub.

Grand Hotel fascination

The fact that the hotel appointed a head chef in his early 30s is rather unusual, too. After all, the "AuGust" and "zur Schtund" also belong to the Widder Hotel. Guests can enjoy the large garden in summer and hang out slope-side at "Chez Vrony" in winter. Last year, the Widder joined "The Living Circle" hotel group. Staub has also visited affiliated businesses such as the "Buech" in Herrliberg. "I knew it would be a challenge. But I also knew that it was one I was ready for and capable of. It's a lot of work and a big responsibility. But I don't think I've done too badly so far", says the 35-year-old modestly.

The Widder Hotel in Zurich gave a young chef an opportunity. A fantastic decision. Tino Staub is flying high at the "Widder Bar & Kitchen" with his Asian-inspired sharing concept.

The Lucerne-born chef has plenty of experience in the luxury sector. What's more, he harbours a passion for the five-star hotel industry. "As a child, I was fascinated by the Schweizerhof in Lucerne. I was awestruck every time. It was so cool". So Tino did his apprenticeship at the traditional Lucerne hotel. On completion, he began work at Le Grand Bellevue in Gstaad before switching to the Gstaad Palace. "It was just like I had always imagined". Staub was working under Peter Wyss. "He’s an icon. I learnt a lot from him about classic cuisine". Even though Tino Staub's style is very different these days, he still uses the principles and techniques he learnt there on a daily basis.

Text: Kathia Baltisberger, Photos: Olivia Pulver

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