Set in the jaw-slackening Swiss countryside, backed by the Alps and in the heart of Fürstenau (officially the world’s smallest town), Schloss Schauenstein looks as though it has come straight from the pages of a picture book. When a setting is this good, it comes with a responsibility to look after it and Andreas Caminada is a head chef who takes this responsibility very seriously indeed. So much so that his restaurant achieved a record 94% score in the 2019 assessment by Food Made Good Global.
It’s a restaurant that speaks to its locale perfectly. The ’Schloss’ – Swiss-German for ‘castle’ – is a sprawling estate that features orchards, woods and land for hunting. As much produce as possible is sourced from within the castle grounds and in excess of 30% (even more in the summer) of the vegetables, fruits and herbs used here are grown and harvested by the team in their three greenhouses and sprawling gardens. The chef also works closely with organic farmer Marcel Foffa, whose vegetable farm and greenhouses are just a mile from the restaurant.
The restaurant has arranged several co-operatives with local smallholdings which grow vegetables to order. Artichokes, quince, rare apple varieties and squashes unique to the region come in daily when in season, while it also works with a local herb producer and specialised mushroom pickers who forage on behalf of the property, to furnish the kitchen team with wild herbs and berries such as saffron and sea buckthorn from the local region.
But the sustainability doesn’t stop at the pass. The restaurant roasts its own coffee, having built a small roastery next to the castle, and the restaurant bakes its own organic bread in the new wood-fired bakery at Casa Caminada in the castle grounds. It’s Adreas Caminada’s vision to one day being entirely self-sufficient, and he is making moves in exactly the right direction.
In terms of power, the restaurant uses 100% renewable energy making use of hydro energy and hydroelectricity to power every element of the restaurant and its hotel rooms. All local produce arrives in reusable packaging (baskets and glass) and all the remaining packing is collected by a local firm who convert it into renewable energy.
Schloss Schauenstein also looks after its community and the industry as a whole. In 2015, they founded Fundaziun Uccelin, a foundation that seeks out young, talented hospitality professionals. "I founded it to foster ambitious chefs and service talents within the gastronomic industry with the long-term goal to secure highly skilled and passionate professionals for our wonderful craft,” says Caminada.
Since its inception in 2015, it has grown into a global network with over 70 of the world's best restaurants as partners. Massimo Bottura, Gaggan Anand, Daniel Humm, Virgilio Martinez and Daniel Barber are involved with the foundation's internship program where those accepted for the 20-week scholarship are allowed to choose their stages from these restaurants. By offering this kind of backing for young professionals the foundation creates a unique opportunity for the next generation to gain insights into global culinary diversity.
Caminada’s restaurant is the perfect example of a progressive kitchen of the future. In an isolated location that could be deemed nigh-on impossible to produce a restaurant with such sustainability credentials, the Schloss Schauenstein team have achieved a restaurant that leads the way in every element of environmental credentials and is a worthy winner of the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2019.
The Sustainable Restaurant Award is given to the restaurant with the highest environmental and social responsibility rating, as ranked by audit partner Food Made Good Global. Since 2017, applications are open to all restaurants in the 50 Best and 51-100 list and restaurants must self-nominate to be eligible. Schloss Schauenstein follows in the footstep of Azurmendi, the 2014 and 2018 winner, Septime, which received the award in 2017, and Relae, which won in 2016 and 2015.
Discover more about the previous award winners