Q&A with Florian Wehrli, Executive Chef at Triomphe Restaurant, NYC
April 8, 2014
One of Midtown’s elite dining destinations, Triomphe Restaurant at The Iroquois New York serves creative, seasonally-inspired dishes with a healthy twist. With three new SPE-certified dishes making their way on to the menu for the new season, we sat down with Executive Chef Florian Wehrli to find out more about his food philosophy…
Q: As a chef, what inspired you to make health a priority when preparing food for your customers?
Some people may disagree, but I truly believe that we first and foremost “eat to live” and not “live to eat.” Now, our jobs as chefs is to make the process as enjoyable as possible. As chefs, we should be an example to our customers and the public on food practices. Sourcing the best ingredients, grown locally and with practices that preserve the environment, as well as the health of our patrons, are all top priorities.
And the best part is that we do this while keeping really tasty dishes on the table!
Q: How do you envision SPE Certified helping you achieve these health-focused objectives?
SPE gives us a chance to work with experts in both the nutrition and the culinary fields. I am a chef and I cook, so I may know a thing or two (or three…) about nutrition, but having someone whose main area of expertise is culinary nutrition, readily available to help with training, answer questions and offer tips and ideas is an amazing thing.
Q: Do you have a favorite (healthy) ingredient?
I am learning that most ingredients can be “healthy” when used appropriately and in the right quantity. Most things are good in moderation! My latest find is chia seeds. I love playing with them; their nutty flavor and cool thickening abilities are giving me some new ideas for savory and sweet applications.
Q: Who are your culinary heroes? Did you have a mentor when you were learning your trade?
I’ve cooked with lots of amazing chefs -- some famous and some less-so -- but all with tremendous talent. The first chefs I worked with in Switzerland -- Georges Wenger and Freddy Girardet -- will always be people I look up to. In America, I had a chance to work with Jean-Louis Palladin in New York and Las Vegas, which was quite an experience! But I have to say that the farmers and artisans that provide the ingredients that I cook with are my true heroes; I would not be able to do anything without them and their passion.
Q: A lot of chefs seem to have a favorite piece of equipment or utensil. What’s yours and why?
A flower pot and some good compost. You can’t beat fresh herbs to add to any dish! But to be more conventional I like a good cast iron skillet, nice and heavy.
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