Restaurant reaches milestone in fine dining

Daniel Bumann knows how to excite taste buds. Milestone

A small gourmet restaurant has been declared the surprise winner of this year’s Milestone award for excellence in tourism.

This content was published on November 2, 2004 - 11:02

The family-run “Chesa Pirani” was hailed as a “success story” by the jury, which announced the winners at a ceremony on Tuesday.

The jury said a “pioneering spirit, imagination, high standards and persistence” had turned the restaurant in the village of La Punt in the southeastern Engadine valley into one of the best in the country.

“These are the qualities that have helped make the Swiss tourist industry and Swiss cuisine famous the world over,” Peter Kühler, head of the jury and organiser of the awards, told swissinfo.

Chef and owner Daniel Bumann has been awarded 18 stars by the Gault Millau guide, and the Chesa Pirani is the only Swiss restaurant boasting two Michelin stars.

Situated in a restored 18th-century house, Bumann and his team have put the emphasis on preparing gourmet meals from local fish, game and produce.

SFr10,000 ($8,300) in prize money was attached to the top award.

Unique identity

Second place and SFr5,000 went to the Geneva hotel chain, “Manotel”, for the complete makeover of its six hotels in the city, giving each one, as the jury noted, “a unique identity”.

For example, the Hotel Edelweiss is billed as the “mountain to the city” while the Hotel Kipling stands for colonial nostalgia.

The Milestone – sponsored by the Swiss Hotel Association, the Swiss Tourism Federation and the economics ministry – is now in its fifth year and has established itself as the most sought-after prize in the Swiss tourist industry,

There were nearly 80 entries competing for the Milestones, which also included prizes for the most promising young talent, lifetime achievement and a special award for the most “original and witty” project.

“The growing number of entries each year shows that there is a great interest in this prize for innovation,” said Kühler.

“The need for change, to leave the beaten path, is widely recognised,” he added.

Leave beaten path

Three hospitality-school students impressed the jury in the “original and witty” category, with their project, “Après walking for tired feet”.

Simple and easy to implement, the concept amounts to little more than a variety of herbal footbaths which restaurants or inns can offer tired hikers.

The service has already been adopted by an inn in Appenzell, which sold 120 footbaths within the first six weeks.

The jury said the concept was “an effective way of generating additional income”.

“There is a trend towards the creation of unique experiences, and it’s becoming more important,” said Kühler.

Last year’s top award went to the Interlaken theme park, Mystery Park, based on the extraterrestrial theories of the best-selling Swiss author, Erich von Däniken.

swissinfo, Dale Bechtel

Key facts

First prize – restaurant Chesa Pirani.
Second prize – Manotel hotel group.
Young talent – Bruno Fläcklin, 31-year-old tourist director, Sörenberg Flühli tourism.
Lifetime achievement – Werner Bernet, director of non-profit cooperative, Reka.
Original and witty – “Après walking for tired feet” project.

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