• Alzheimer's Association

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We were recently contacted by The Randin Chef, Michel Randin, and were bowled over by the glowing reviews that we were sent. Michel organizes cooking workshops and we asked him a few questions.

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?

I’m Swiss. I love to cook. And I’ve married into a big South Indian family. It was inevitable that I turned my hand to Indian cuisine during my 16-year marriage!

The idea for The Randin Chef came to me after hearing so many people say they avoid using Indian spices because they never know how much to use or what to mix. I want to show people that Indian cooking can be easy and that contrary to popular belief, it does not take a long time to make healthy and flavourful dishes with just a few key ingredients.

My inspiration came from my wife’s aunt, Renee D’Souza, who has been my mentor and keenest supporter. She loves cooking as much as I do and when we visited her in India in 2014, she took me under her wing and showed me how to make several dishes from Mangalore and Goa, situated in the South of India. She was a patient teacher who gave me the confidence to reproduce everything I learnt once I got back to Switzerland and the knowledge to experiment with these spices on my own.

This is the feeling that I hope to transmit to participants at my workshops. I want them to learn-by-doing so that they have the confidence to create these dishes at home to enjoy with their family and friends.

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Read through to find out how to benefit from 20% discount!

It often happens that baked goods are the path to success... and after baking for her family, that is exactly what happened to this mother! Olga Johnson, the owner of Christie's Bakery, came from a background far removed from the gastronomic field. We asked her a few questions:

When and why did you start Christie’s Bakery?

My background started in bank management positions. I moved to London and later to Geneva with my husband and after the children started school, I took advantage of this free time to delve into my own hobbies, baking being one of them. My first cakes were such a success that my friends started to ask if they can order from me! That was 3 years ago and since then I have hundreds of happy clients in Geneva and even in Lausanne, Montreux and neighboring France who have ordered cakes from me.

What is behind the name, Christie's Bakery?

My daughter’s name is Christina and since she is my inspiration, I kept the name of my home bakery to my tea room as well. So she is the real boss behind the scenes!

What is your background: nationality, education, why Geneva?

I was born in Ukraine, my parents are Russian. I have university degrees in finance, law and business. And baking is my passion. Our family moved to Geneva due to my husband’s job. And honestly this was my dream since I first visited Switzerland more than 10 years ago. Geneva was love at first sight!

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Bastien and Sandra at Plainpalais market on Fridays

When and why did you start The Brown_e?

I started thinking about The Brown_e in 2018. I have always liked baking and, of course, eating homemade desserts. In March last year I realized I could not find what I was looking for when I wanted something sweet and fudgy so I created the concept I would have liked to find myself.

I started The Brown_e website months later and in February 2019 I started at Plainpalais Market. At the end of September 2019 I got a place at the Marché du Leman on Sundays.

What is behind the name?

Finding the brownie recipe I was dreaming of is one of the reasons why I started this project and I wanted it to be the name. As I started as e-commerce only, I wanted to add
the underscore and replace the « i ». The « e » represents the environment. We encourage our customers to reuse our packaging and our paper bags or bring their own
containers. We do not use plastic and ingredients are locally sourced. We do not own a car, and all our orders are delivered by public transport or by bike. One of our long-term
goals is to have a carbon neutral The Brown_e shop.

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As much as we love a pain au chocolat with a juice in the morning or an eclair with un café in the afternoon, we all like to reminisce about foods from our homeland. Upon hearing about Venus and Rose in St-Triphon, near Ollon, we immediately got in touch with owner Michelle Cerusini. Michelle explained to knowitall.ch that she is South African but grew up in very colonial Zimbabwe, where her love for a proper cuppa began. We asked her a few questions so read on and bon appétit!

When and why did you open Venus et Rose English Tearoom?

Venus et Rose opened in June 2017. My work contract ended a few years earlier, I wanted to do something close to home so I could spend more time with my teenagers and didn’t want to go back to 100% IT jobs. The La Jardinerie de St-Triphon Garden Center is close to home and I had always bought my plants and other lovely things there so I approached them about the tearoom, to introduce the concept of having a place to eat/drink in a garden center, something which is common in the UK and South Africa. It took almost 4 years of changing owners of the garden center, business planning, and permissions to finally open Venus and Rose.

What is behind the name?
My formidable, legendary great Aunt was called Venus, and my daughter’s second name is now Venus. Rose is to recall our location, the garden center and flowers, and it works in both English and French.

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If you want to keep the sunshine of summer fresh in your memory, then why not try some refreshing paletas? Read on to find out what they are! Arnaud Golay and Benoît Bryand are offering a voucher for some frozen Paleta Loca popsicles to one lucky reader, read below! Here is the interview with Paleta Loca.

Can you explain your company name?
We chose Paleta Loca because paleta is the typical popsicle from Mexico. We discovered it in Mexico and wanted to develop it in Switzerland. Paleta keeps the origin of the product, and the way we produce it as well, as we produce exactly the same way as they do in Mexico. Then, we wanted to add a word that everyone can understand, and that represent who we are and what we want to do. We wanted something fun, that we could easily use to promote the product. Finally, we wanted a name that can easily stay in mind, people don't forget: Loca = crazy in Spanish.

When did you start?
We went to Mexico in January 2016 to learn with paleteros how to produce paletas, then we bought a machine from Mexico and we started the production in Switzerland in May 2016. At this time we were both still students at the Ecole Hotelière de Lausanne (EHL) and worked on it full time during our summer holidays.

Why popcicles? What is your background?
We started this project for different reasons.
Arnaud explains: First, I discovered paletas travelling in Mexico and found it good, cool and with many positive points for the Swiss market (100% natural, low sugar, no additives, real taste of the fruit, low calories, no intolerances...) so I thought it could work in Switzerland during summer. I was 18 and had no idea how to start a business.
Then I attended EHL, and during my last year I felt I was ready to start. I ask my best friend Benoît to join as it would be more fun to do together.
Finally, it was the perfect business to start as a student, as we had a very small budget. We invested Fr. 5'000.- each to buy a machine, some sticks and some packaging, and we started to sell paletas. Then the company grew. No profit was made at the beginning.