The challenge of adapting culinary delights and service to a theater at a new event

Interview with Gion M. Fetz, Executive Chef at SSTH Hotel Management School Passugg

In the current semester, the project "The Flying Cow" was implemented together with the SSTH students. SSTH has created the first and only chorical dinner show.

Here, culture and culinary delights combine to create a unique evening. Choir singing, storytelling, show and theatre combine with selected delicacies to create an experience that appeals to all the senses.

Because such multisensual experiences and the emotions associated with them determine the expectations and experiences of the guests. In this holistic production, everyone - from the organisers, students and choir members to the guest - is part of the experience.

In the following interview, Gion Fetz, Executive Chef of the SSTH, explains how the culinary art can be adapted to an extraordinary event and what the learning goals of the students were in this practical project.

Gion Fetz Executive Chef SSTH in the Student Kitchen

With the "Flying Cow" a new kind of event was brought to life, which has never existed in such a way before. How were you involved in the planning process of the event as the chef of the kitchen?

The culinary side was involved in the planning process from the beginning. Together with the strategic, creative and musical side, we developed ideas and possibilities. The starting shot was over 2.5 years ago, since then there have been numerous meetings.

I was very open to this project because I love trying new things. I was also attracted by the challenge of matching my food to the ideas of a screenwriter. It was clear early on that there would be several groups in the play, so I developed the idea of a new service style. Instead of the well-known plate service, we developed innovative, small portions. I was very curious to see how the guests would react!

Matching your menu to a play was a whole new experience for you. Where did you get your inspiration from?

I was eagerly awaiting the final script of the story. When it came, I studied and analyzed it in detail. The theme titles then provided me with the template for the culinary side. In order to better understand the stage director's thoughts, I met with him and we intensively exchanged ideas. But the menu sequence should not only underline the story, but also include excellent products to reflect our cuisine on a gourmet level.

Here is the example of the episode "Innocence": The childhood when we stole a carrot in the neighboring garden and were very proud of our prey and the taste of biting into it inspired me to go "Carrot ginger soup with coconut and coriander".

How are students involved in such events on the F&B side? What can they learn?

The HF students of the Culinary Arts specialization were involved in the organization and implementation of the event. They received the story book and had to read their way into the theatre beforehand. The idea was to refine the "Out of the Box" event with the help of the students. The students were commissioned to plan the service choreography. This included elements such as cladding, type of service and special effects. One team was responsible for the logistics, another for the design of the booklet and menu.

The event was supposed to show them how to successfully plan and implement a special event of a different kind. In addition it was our goal to give them the courage to try something new and to present themselves as confident hosts. The hotel managers of the future should venture out of their comfort zone and break new ground.

What vision are you pursuing with F&B at SSTH? Where should the journey for students in the culinary field continue?

I would like the students to be able to go out into the job market after their training at our hotel management school and say that they have learned a lot of exciting and valuable things in the culinary field.

In addition, it is my goal that they are also regarded by the industry as highly trained specialists who are up to date and appreciated for their skills. Since the industry is very fast moving, we always have to stay on the ball and pick up new trends in the academic field. The crowning glory would of course be if we could create new trends ourselves.

Wondering how to transform an abstract idea to experiencable Affective Hospitality?