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Rapping chef waxes lyrical in New York

Ivo Adam has been cooking up a storm in New York swissinfo.ch

Switzerland’s newest celebrity chef, Ivo Adam, has been teaching the Americans a thing or two about rapping and recipes.

This content was published on December 15, 2004 - 14:26

Adam was in New York to promote the “young and innovative” side of Swiss cuisine – and offer locals a taste of his Eminem-style approach to cooking.

At a banquet thrown by Swiss tourism chiefs at a trendy Manhattan hotel, Adam performed his single, “Birchermuesli”, in front of an audience of 200 hungry diners.

Donning a chef’s hat and sunglasses, the athletic 26-year-old lip-synched his way through the track while whipping up a bowl of the traditional Swiss breakfast dish.

For jaded New Yorkers at the dinner, a rapping chef was a novel sight – and, for some, a difficult dish to swallow.

“Rapping recipes is definitely not something anyone has done – not that they should be doing this,” Lisa Chernick, deputy editor of the New York-based website, Epicurious.com, told swissinfo.

“To appropriate something so deeply rooted in New York culture presents its own difficulties,” she added. “Anyone who really cares about rap would at best roll their eyes.”

Rapping recipes

Chernick said she thought the most interesting aspect of Adam’s rapping was that it might appeal to kids, which is exactly what it has done in Switzerland.

The rapping chef’s summer tour of 40 schools persuaded many pupils that life in a hot kitchen could be “cool”.

Nick Malgieri, Switzerland Tourism’s wine and food spokesman, explained that Adam had been invited to the New York event to “help promote Swiss cuisine as young and innovative”.

“Ivo is part of a new breed of Swiss chefs, like Vreni Giger, at the Hotel Jägerhof in St Gallen, and Françoise Wicki, of at the Palace Hotel in Lucerne, who are shaking things up,” Malgieri said.

“This is not rehashed rösti,” he added.

Young and innovative cuisine

Adam, a member of the Swiss team that captured gold in Singapore at the World Culinary Grand Prix in 2002, calls his songs “rapcipes”.

Birchermuesli is one of 16 tracks on his rap cookbook CD, “Rapzept”, which is packaged in a small pizza box.

Other tracks include a fairly straightforward pasta for first-timers, and one for “Schoggischuum” or chocolate mousse.

Thanks to a deal with Swiss concern Bio Familia, whereby a copy of the song was distributed with 100,000 boxes of Birchermuesli cereal, the track went “double platinum” in Switzerland.

While 100,000 units is a far cry from the US platinum equivalent of two million, the success of the venture has prompted Adam and his manager, Roman Tschäppeler, to think about a similar tie-up with the cereal’s US distributor.

New restaurant

Adam’s next move is to take on head-chef duties at Apropos, a new restaurant backed by René Brogle in the town of Olten, which is set to open in March 2005.

Adam said Apropos would provide “fashion food” that is mainly organic, cooked by a young staff trained by him.

“Young people are hungry and passionate,” he told swissinfo.

Adam himself has a reputation for bold culinary ventures, such as Chateaubriand steak with chocolate sauce, and he likes to push the boundaries of taste.

“When I was young, I used to like to play with Lego [blocks] and build houses. I realised I could do the same with food,” he said.

Although Apropos will be “brand new in the world of food in Switzerland”, according to Malgieri, Adam will probably have to rein in his appetite for the very unusual.

But while he may have to respect the traditional Swiss palate in the restaurant, it’s anyone’s guess what Adam could get up to given a wider audience.

Though his manager wouldn’t divulge details, he did say the pair were in pre-contract negotiations for a television show “in the near future”.

swissinfo, Carla Drysdale in New York

In brief

Adam’s favourite rapper is Eminem and his culinary hero is Daniel Bumann, the award-winning chef at Chesa Pirani in canton Graubünden.

He has worked for the Ferien Art hotel in Saas Fee and was part of the cooking brigade at the Kempinski hotel in St Moritz.

Ivo Adam was the youngest member of the Swiss team which won gold at the 2002 World Cooking Championships in Singapore.

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