Story: Sustainability at table

Mediterranean lightness and flavours from the vegetable garden

A 150-hectare picture-postcard setting acts as a backdrop to Mattias Roock’s respectfully created gastronomic delicacies.

Born in northern Germany, Roock found himself in Ticino for the first time at the age of 21 and fell in love with it. Following a variety of work experience around the world, from Doha to Shanghai, he returned to southern Switzerland, becoming Executive Chef at the 5-star Castello del Sole hotel in Ascona in 2016. Since then he and his team have been delighting palates and promoting sustainability in the kitchen.

THE CHARACTER

Mattias Roock, Executive Chef at the Castello del Sole in Ascona

Mattias Roock, Executive Chef at the Castello del Sole in Ascona
Our cuisine can’t be without produce from our garden. It couldn’t be more local!

18 Gault&Millau points, 1 Michelin Star and 1 Michelin Green Star. Awards that acknowledge the hard work, passion and unique “Sapori del nostro orto” (Flavours from our vegetable garden) concept of the Locanda Barbarossa and its chef, Mattias Roock. 

A concept that aims to promote products sourced directly from the restaurant’s vegetable garden and that is respected at all times, without compromise, even when it is difficult to do so: cooking with seasonal produce grown just around the corner. 

It proved necessary to question various processes and adapt them in order to be able to implement a more sustainable approach. Chef Roock recommends reflecting on what can be adapted in the kitchen. For example, in order to eliminate pointless plastic use and consumption, he and his team have done away with sous-vide cooking and chosen to use glass jars to preserve and store foods for longer.

Awards such as Gault&Millau points and Michelin Stars are a great compliment for the restaurant, but the Green Star was even more appreciated as it confirms their special philosophy. 

Which is currently unique in Switzerland on a gourmet level.  

It’s important to consider the ecological footprint generated by the journey made by the produce we use in the kitchen.
Pomodori Castello del Sole

What attracted chef Roock to Ticino, and particularly to Ascona? The lake, the palm trees, the view of the mountains and the weather. A Mediterranean flair that is also apparent in his cuisine at the Locanda Barbarossa. He himself describes it as “Mediterranean lightness combined with classic French cooking techniques.” At its basis are products sourced directly from the restaurant garden: tomatoes, berries, citrus fruit, herbs and much more.  

What are his favourite products from Ticino? Naturally products from the Castello del Sole’s farm “Terreni alla Maggia”! Particularly its rice (the only 100% Swiss rice), polenta and wine. The Locanda Barbarossa’s “Sapori del nostro orto” menu is completed by food sourced from handpicked local suppliers of meat, fish and dairy produce. This harmonious union is behind the birth of the dish that best characterises chef Roock’s culinary philosophy: the “risotto del nostro orto” (risotto from our vegetable garden). 

Locanda Barbarossa, Ascona

Most of his inspiration is drawn from the local area and is also provided by his invaluable co-workers, from the sous-chefs to the suppliers.  

Terreni della Maggia

And so the “Mr Farm to Table”, the name by which chef Roock is known among Switzerland’s top chefs, cooks according to the motto “skill is when luck becomes a habit”. To paraphrase somewhat: we need to welcome luck with open arms, but we also need to know how to transform it into an opportunity.  

“Skill is when luck becomes a habit.” 

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Castello del Sole
Pro tip
The Terreni alla Maggia SA farm comprises 150 hectares of integrated and sustainable agriculture. It is home to fields, vineyards and orchards. It is the first and only Swiss farm to produce 100% Swiss rice.
The Castello del Sole offers a wide range of culinary options thanks to its 4 restaurants: Ristorante Tre Stagioni, Al Parco, La Spiaggia and, naturally, the Locanda Barbarossa.
Did you know that the nearby Maggia Delta and Lake Maggiore are the perfect place for a bit of stand-up paddleboarding and relaxing on the water?

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