John Kemp’s Kitchen: Simply Swiss


Coucou, tout le monde! Or so I’ve learned to say here. Between the saluts, the bonjours, and the bonsoirs, I have been learning lots here in Switzerland, and more than just the many ways to say hello. In the almost month that I’ve spent here in Lausanne, I’ve had the chance to explore a plethora of different foods.
Swiss cuisine has been among these many experiences. With the amount of cheese and chocolate I’ve been indulging in here, I might be looking a little different by the time I get back to Glendon next year. However, what I’ve been enjoying even more has been the somewhat hidden gem that is Swiss cuisine. It features the country’s famed cheeses, such as the Gruyère-Vacherin fondue I was treated to the other day, but also something I find to be incredibly important in food: simplicity. The delicacies I’ve enjoyed such as rösti (essentially an oversized hash brown, mineg which was topped with grilled tomato, smoked bacon, pickled onions, and a fried egg – what character!) and jarret (smoked ham hock served over sauerkraut with roasted potatoes and minced chives) have both shared that simplicity I’ve been finding to be so prevalent in Swiss food.
This is not to say that Swiss cuisine is boring or bland, but that it’s great food made from relatively simple ingredients and in a relatively simple way. Yes, there are certain nuances that can vary depending on preparation methods and whatnot, but what’s important is that in our society, where food has become something unnecessarily complex and where cooking well has become something of a niche for those who “know how to cook”, it’s refreshing to see food as good and as straightforward as in Switzerland. What we need to realise is that good food isn’t hard, although remembering that is.
As a challenge, go into your fridge, cupboards, and pantries and see what you can create with what you find. Don’t be afraid to break rules and don’t be afraid to let intuition take the wheel. Once your pièce de résistance is complete, snap a photo and send it to me at either @johnkempskitchen on Instagram or John Kemp’s Kitchen on Facebook. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!