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The view of Tim Weiland

The world is changing. That has always been the case. And the luxury hotel industry has often been at the forefront of developments when it comes to innovation. Just think of hotel pioneer Johannes Badrutt, who installed Switzerland’s first electrical system above his Kulm hotel in St. Moritz, creating a furore with his festively illuminated Belle Époque halls.

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However, new topics can also be challenging. How can a luxury hotel be environmentally sustainable? How should a luxury hotel approach the topic of food waste? After all, no sacrifices can be made in terms of quality or comfort. We accompanied the General Manager of The Alpina Gstaad, Tim Weiland, on a trip to the Gstaad ski resort, where he showed us an example of how a luxury hotel can tackle such issues.

The sun is shining and the pistes are in top condition. Tim Weiland is visibly happy. He glides down the slopes at high speed like a man who does nothing else the whole winter long. And yet he tells us that this is his first day’s skiing this season – and it’s already the start of March. What is more, today’s skiing isn’t purely recreational. Weiland is here to show us The Alpina Gstaad’s food truck. The philosophy behind the food truck is focused on sustainability.

“If you’ve ever grown something in your garden, you will understand how much work goes into every item of food.”

We encounter it at Vorderes Eggli. The menu features things like meatballs and vegetarian empanadas. Although clearly delicious, are these dishes really true to the spirit of The Alpina Gstaad? Weiland explains: ‘The concept of an on-piste food truck is allowed to differ from the culinary concept of haute cuisine. It makes a luxury hotel a little more accessible, and brings The Alpina Gstaad to the people.’

The dishes aren’t just delicious; there is another idea behind them, too. For the vegetarian empanadas, for example, Martin Göschel’s kitchen team uses vegetables that are of flawless quality but can no longer be processed in the hotel kitchen because of their shape. It also makes meatballs from pieces of meat that are qualitatively excellent but less appealing optically.

Tim Weiland is a general manager who thinks a lot about every topic. He calls it mindfulness. It’s about considering what’s behind the things we encounter, such as food, he explains. He believes that the luxury hotel industry needs a rethink. ‘You can turn a 400-gram potato into two sophisticated creations each weighing 100 grams each and throw the rest away,’ he says. ‘Or you can ask yourself whether the leftovers can be put to good use, too? After all, the flavour is still there.’

Having taken a seat in the lounge chairs next to the food truck, we bask in the glorious sunshine and enjoy our delicious food. This example shows that making a contribution in terms of food waste does not impair the quality of a luxury hotel. Quite the opposite, in fact: The Alpina Gstaad food truck is proving extremely popular among skiers and snowboarders. Tim Weiland, Martin Göschel and the kitchen team are killing two birds with one stone. The food truck is an excellent, appealing way of marketing the hotel and it also helps the hotel kitchen to reduce food waste.

Words Martin Hoch
Photos Nico Schaerer

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