Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My surprise guest this month is Rolf Strub, a chef who served a stint in the Swiss Army, before moving from Switzerland to live in New Hampshire with his wife, Ann Czaja. He was born in Lachen and later moved to Zurich. His family back home consists of two half sisters and a half brother.

What made you decide to become a chef?

Schooling in Switzerland is different than in America. When I was fifteen, I was given the opportunity to select a career. With a group of students, I took a field trip to check out different occupations. A cook and a weapons smith held my interest. After sending a letter to each, applying as an apprentice, I was given one week training to see if I had the talent and interest in either one. Weapons smith was interesting, but I knew I wanted to be a chef.

I graduated at the age of sixteen and applied for a three-year apprenticeship. After I passed my final exams, I received a letter of recommendation from my employer, certifying that I was a qualified chef. This official document is extremely important when applying for a position in the culinary field.

How did you begin?

The best place to begin is at a hotel. You start from the bottom position as a helper and work your way up like many jobs. Learning the ins and outs of a kitchen and different stations takes time, and each restaurant is different. That makes a chef versatile. Also gives the person an opportunity to see exactly what part of the kitchen he wants to work in. Being head chef comes with all kind of responsibilities, more so than most people want to take on. I personally like the prep work, setting up the vegetables and having everything ready to go. Remember, a kitchen is proactive not reactive.

Do you work in a restaurant in New Hampshire?

Yes. I work at the Galley Hatch in Hampton NH. Sometimes we serve 400 meals in one hour. Service has to be on the spot and is very important to the reputation of the restaurant.

What does the future hold for you?

I would like to have my own store with a school, teaching classical French cuisine, cooking from scratch.

Thanks you Rolf for taking the time to be with us today. Can’t wait to taste one of your fantastic dishes. We wish you much success now and in the future.


Jean Henry Mead said...

You can certainly come and cook for me. :) Nice interview, Gwyn. I hope you've had time to answer the interview questions I sent you. I'm launching a new interview blog site for writers tomorrow, beginning with Angela Wilson. Please give me a date when you can get the Q & A back to me. (I've lost your email address).


Morgan Mandel said...

Being a chef could be a dangerous occupation. So many people with so many questions to answer, also giving hints they'd love certain dishes cooked for them. (G)

Morgan Mandel

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?