Chef Markus Neff
Chef Markus Neff is our head chef at Waldhotel Fletschhorn.
Markus was born in Bludenz and learned his trade in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. Markus came to cook at Waldhotel Fletschhorn in 1983, learning from Irma Dütsch, “Chef of the Year” in 1994. After he had learned all he could from her – and more – he took charge of the kitchen in 1989 and became a co-owner of the hotel in 2003.
The top chef cooked up his first Michelin star in 2003. In 2007, he was awarded with 18 Gault Millau points in Switzerland and became Chef of the Year.
“Markus arranges the food in a clear and stringent way that pleases the eye –
there is no unnecessary decoration, nothing that cannot be eaten. While elsewhere, more and more attention is being paid to showmanship and the palette of the superfluous is becoming more and more varied and colourful, in the Fletschhorn, the chef keeps both feet solidly on the ground, he respects his produce and exercises the art of proportion in his own humble but nevertheless confident manner.” Basel, summer 2009
Paul Imhof, Introduction to the Waldhotel Fletschhorn Cookbook.
Charlie was born in Austria and wandered the world before discovering Saas-Fee in 1988 and realizing that this mountaintop retreat was where he was meant to be. He attended the Bad Leonfelden Hotel Management School and worked in a number of Austrian hotels before joining the Sagafjord cruise liner in Florida as a senior member of the wait staff and then as maître d’ for three years. He extended his adventure for two years in Australia but was drawn back to snowy Northern Europe by the offer of a winter season job at the Fletschhorn, and never left.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWBX4UdG8aI
Charlie took responsibility for the wine cellar and won the Bertelsmann Sommelier of the Year Award in 2009. A visionary with a discerning palate, Charlie is committed to understanding and satisfying the needs of his guests. In 2003, he led the management team’s purchase of the hotel from Irma and Jörg Dütsch. Always looking for further challenges, Charlie loves taking on new challenges and intends to take the Waldhotel Fletschhorn to even greater heights.
David Gruss, born in 1981 in Winterberg in the German Sauerland, the “Dutch Alps”, has been Maren’s right hand since December 2005. Since 2011 he is heading the Bergrestaurant Spielboden, 2450 meters above sea level. A cool mountain affair awarded with a Bib Gourmand by Michelin and 14 Points in the Gault & Millau.
At the Fletschhorn he supervises service and the massive wine cellar. Whatever needs to be done, David steps in. David has done ski jumping on a professional level, assisted in the construction of cable cars and generally loves a challenge – such as the rugged landscape of the Saas valley and its gnarly inhabitants.“That’s why he loves Saas-Fee”, says Maren. “He has a dry sense of humor, is quick-witted, intelligent and extremely resilient.”
Maren came to the Waldhotel Fletschhorn at the age of 22, after her cooking apprenticeship. Originally from Nuremberg, Germany, her fascination for fine dining was fed by Markus Neff who trained her as commis de cuisine.
She then attended the Lausanne Hotel School for four years and went to work for a group of exclusive hotels in Indonesia, Tahiti and Cambodia. But her heart remained at Fletschhorn and she returned to Switzerland in 2003.
Maren loves diversity – life should be exciting, challenging and colourful. She enjoys working in a place she loves with people she cares for, and for guests who become much more than that: friends.
Mathias Häusler, called “Brösel” (crumb) by his boss, has been the Fletschhorn’s saucier since 2003, almost since the beginning of the trio’s tenure in the Waldhotel. He found his way to the Fletschhorn as the son of long-standing regular guests.
The young man from Pratteln near Basel learned cookery in the Restaurant L’Esplanade in Aubonne. “Mathias is very reliable. He is always there”, says Markus, “and he loves to be there.”
Since 2014 he took on the challenge of being responsible for the Spielboden mountain restaurant in the position of head chef. He really cooks with enthusiasm because he loves to eat. He is always willing to help, obliging, polite. “A wonderful person”, says Maren, “who strongly believes the very best of the world.”