Zermatt is the epitome of Switzerland. Brimming with pride the locals quite rightly have a lot to be happy about. Numerous gourmet restaurants gracing both on and off the mountain. The towering Matterhorn keeping guard over the traditional Savoyard chocolate box village. Window boxes blooming with vibrant flowers in the Summer and covered in their white coats during winter. And a fresh air that has something of a hallucinogenic affect on the locals!
We caught up with born and bred Dan Daniells. Something of a celebrity and restaurant owner of one of the numerous gourmet restaurants in resort, Chez Heini, Dan is man of many talents - well, can we blame him; every time we visit Zermatt we come away fancying ourselves being the next mountaineer to scale the heights of the Matterhorn or at the very least being able to muster up the many dishes we consumed during our stay. Alas, Dan beats us every time!
1) Dan, you are a man of very many talents; singer, writer, host, chef, entertainer. Of these many talents, do you consider yourself first and foremost a chef who can sing? Or do you see yourself as a singer who can cook?
I don’t have a particular ‘wow’ talent but lots of small things that I hope come together to create something wonderful. Just like light needs shade, cooking and art for me belong together.
2) Your family has lived in Zermatt for generations and you are very much the heart of the community, this is no where more evident than in your restaurant Chez Heini. Do all family members get involved in cooking of the dishes? Are the recipes inspired by ideas that have been handed down the generations?
Oh la la! Even though as a family we are very close and very connected, we all have and need our own territory in the kitchen! Along with my father Heini, we discuss and try very many recipes. We complement each other; Papa in his traditional way, me in my crazy type of way. And from this combination, from somewhere in the middle rises our new style! Tradition in conjunction with a touch of vision.
3) The Eurovision Song Contest took place earlier this year in Denmark. Back in 2005 you and your good friend, Frida from ABBA performed together to raise money for Children in Need. Would you ever consider performing in the Eurovision Song Contest?
Frida and I share a deep friendship. It was one of my most beautiful moments with her in the recording studio to stand and sing the songs alongside her.
We will continue with our projects and coming up with new ideas for raising money for Children in Need – do keep on donating! As for the Euro Vision Song Contest…you have to be young and fresh, I am mature and have too much life experience!
4) As a traveller, tell us more about your favourite country that you have travelled to? Why was it your favourite?
There is no particular favourite country for me. Around the world there are many wonderful places, the less attractive parts of the world are usually those that are man-made!!
If you have the chance, you should seize the moment to travel as often as can because travel opens your heart and horizons. There are some moments in life that are not so important – travel is not one of those!
5) Are you a skier or a snowboarder?
Since I was three years I stood on skis. In Zermatt you are born with two wooden planks on your feet! Skiing gives me a sense of freedom.
6) And finally, if you could ski in any other resort other than Zermatt, where would you choose to go on a ski holiday and why?
If you spend your life in one of the most beautiful ski resorts in Europe, and you have a love for travel, then you are allowed to do so, especially in search of the water! So for skiing it has to be in Zermatt, for everything else it does not matter where…perhaps water skiing in England ????