Dishes with groove – a deft composition on every plate

The new head chef at the Romantik Maison Hornberg has rhythm in his blood and groove in his kitchen

Maison Hornberg is located in the quiet village of Saanenmöser, at the gateway to the Saanenland. As one of the Responsible Hotels of Switzerland, it is committed to modelling social and environmental sustainability. Head chef David Ebner uses local ingredients due to their superior quality and proximity to the hotel. During game season, this includes porcini mushrooms from Bert Inäbnit. The native Austrian has demonstrated impressive versatility several times in his career: along with training as a chef, he studied culture and social anthropology at university and did a degree in jazz music. Yet his appetite for learning doesn’t seem to have been satisfied yet: alongside his day job, Ebner is completing a distance learning course in nutritional sciences and disease prevention. With 13 years of kitchen experience under his belt – including stints in New York and Vienna – he brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the hotel. 

©  (c) Timon Rupp / ©Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

Questions for David Ebner – Head Chef at the Maison Hornberg

You’ve made the journey from vegetarian cuisine in New York and fine dining restaurants in Vienna to becoming Head Chef at the Maison Hornberg in Saanenmöser. What drew you to the Bernese Oberland and the Saanenland? 

To be honest, it was coincidence, circumstance, fate – whatever you want to call it. The last few years have been challenging, and many people have been forced to make a change. Luckily, I was able to make the most of the situation. Just a year ago, I wasn’t even aware of the existence of the Saanenland, but now I couldn’t be happier to live here. 

As a sous chef, you performed at a top level in Vienna. What are your current ambitions for your team now that you’re the head chef at the Maison Hornberg? 

My ambitions are always the same, no matter what level: original, sustainable cooking that sparks joy. If my guests are happy, I’m happy too. 

As a trained and enthusiastic jazz musician, you bring groove to the kitchen. How do you set the tone for your chefs? 

A band sounds best when they play together. As a bass player, I try to lay a foundation on which everyone can build their notes. And of course, I also get to set the pace. But every dish is a composition of melody and rhythm, and the whole kitchen is one big band.

Do you actually have music playing in your kitchen? If so when, what are you playing? 

Of course! There’s radio playing throughout the day, and then something different for every evening service: from reggae, techno and funk to classical, and everything in between. 

How important are local ingredients in your cuisine? 

They’re extremely important! Every region has its own culinary treasures and idiosyncrasies. As a chef, I feel compelled to showcase these in my dishes. In these parts, Kobi eggs are known for their quality. The Schönried dairy supplies us with dairy products and I like the Simmental beer so much that I sometimes use it in my dishes. 

Why are there so many excellent restaurants in the Gstaad holiday region? 

I think the region inspires it. There are lots of passionate restaurateurs here, along with plenty of diners who appreciate high quality and great chefs. It’s the perfect recipe for outstanding restaurants. 

Do you have a favourite dish? (Or two or three?) 

Ramen, ramen and ramen. Seriously though, there are hardly any dishes that I don’t like. 

Where or what should every visitor to the Gstaad holiday region have eaten? 

The best thing is the venison sausages from Buure Metzg, cooked over a campfire or on the barbecue! 

©  (c) Timon Rupp / ©Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

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