Questions for Executive Chef Ripperger
Posted on: May 13, 2015
Recently, we sat down with our Executive Chef Markus Ripperger, who has been with the Hampshire House since 1992. Trained in culinary arts in his native Zurich, Switzerland, Markus went on to make a name for himself at the famed Restaurant L’Oasis in La Napoule, France. He then joined the Savoy Hotel and Grosvenor House in London before earning his stripes in Boston, where he presided over the dining rooms at the Colonnade Hotel, the Sheraton Boston Hotel and Swissotel.
Q: You have a broad culinary background. How do you tailor menus to suit Hampshire House’s historic setting?
A: Hampshire House is historically Bostonian. While constantly looking for new ideas, I still look back to traditional cooking methods, as well as cuisine that dates back all the way to the Middle Ages. Drawing from multiple time periods can lend to a timeless menu. Like our Swiss chocolate soup that dates back to the 1800s.
Q: In the same vein, how do you draw from Boston’s distinctive food culture in your creations?
A: Boston is very much a melting pot of cultures and culinary styles, sampling from those adds intrigue to most menus and dishes. One thing that has become apparent about Boston, especially over the last few years, is its culture of innovation. Bostonians are apt to try new things and experiment with new flavors, always in an effort to expand their knowledge. That said, drawing from Boston’s culture is very similar to drawing from world cultures.
Q: What are some of the ways you incorporate seasonal ingredients into your dishes?
A: Growing up in Zurich, there was a greater importance placed on eating seasonally as opposed to having summer crops in the dead of winter. With the farm-to-table movement and the growing number of small farmers in the Boston area, people are now more than ever interested in cooking and eating seasonally. We work with multiple rooftop farms to source seasonally available ingredients in our dishes. Growing herbs and vegetables on our own rooftops connects us even closer with our food and its sources.
Q: What are some of the Hampshire House’s most popular dishes, and how did you develop them?
A: Everyone has their favorite meal. I work closely with our clients to best determine their needs when creating event menus. We can customize dishes to a client’s taste to make them more enjoyable for the client and their guests.
Q: What is your guiding principle as a chef?
A: Preparing a meal is sharing a gift with those who partake in it. It is creating a memorable experience, exceeding expectations, celebrating life, love, and good health with food.