Chef Mario Enchelmaier might not be a celebrity chef – yet – but he was most certainly the star at Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft (HTW) Chur early May.
Enchelmaier, Manager Trends Culinary Experience International LSG Sky Chefs Lounge GmbH, is not the first expert partaking in the Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS). He joins the rank of United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein Edward McMullen Jr., Managing Board Member of the World Economic Forum Alois Zwinggi and Switzerland Tourism CEO Martin Nydegger.
He is, however, the first Distinguished Speaker to star in a live stream event at HTW Chur in their most interactive session yet. Students were sat in the auditorium while Enchelmaier, tasked with cooking recipes specially created for the event, taught them how they could recreate his dishes from the kitchen – with the help of a student aid, of course.
This event marks the second in the university’s SMART Cooking series (the first happened in 2018), which aims to show students how they can cook international cuisines using locally-sourced, sustainable and affordable ingredients.
Why was that Message so Important to Impart?
“We believe that besides teaching content and specialist knowledge, a student’s time at university is where various non-academic skills are developed and where routines are shaped,” explains event organizer Prof. Dr. Thorsten Merkle, Director of Studies in Tourism HTW Chur. “Allowing students to learn about nutrition in a fun and interactive way will certainly help them remember the importance of ‘good’ eating habits.”
It was also an excellent opportunity for LSG Lounge to show all that goes into providing guests with the best experience possible. Enchelmaier adds: “From the unique demands of the food we provide in the lounges to the hospitable staff tending to guests, there’s a lot that goes into the business that people might not be aware of. So it was nice to be able to give LSG Lounge a face that the students can relate to.”
And with deeper awareness comes more recognition, something that Enchelmaier doesn’t consider a light topic. “Our needs are growing constantly, and we’re always looking for new personalities and perspectives. With this event, we’ve opened up an avenue for deeper collaboration with the university. This might mean more student visits to the lounge, with some of them taking an interest in doing a traineeship with us.”
What Happened at the Live Stream?
The event wasn’t all business, though, because students were able to try some of the dishes themselves. Many of them stayed past the Question & Answer segment and up to the end – but whether they were motivated by personal questions for Enchelmaier or by the allure of having him whip something up for them to enjoy remains unclear.
No wonder, then, that the event was deemed a success by both Enchelmaier and Merkle despite the gloomy weather causing the initial plan of Enchelmaier cooking from his food truck to fall through. “As we become more digitalized, it’s great that our opportunities to educate expand with it. But this is made more impactful by having a personal touch, and in this case, it was Mario actually being present to enrich the program,” says Merkle.
He adds: “We certainly hope that Mario and LSG Lounge will be interested to join our SMART Cooking session in 2020 as well!”