A passion for food and a long standing family tradition influenced Alfred Gafner to pursue a career as a professional chef. Another reason to enter the culinary field was the opportunity to gain international work experience, travel, study, and exchange knowledge.
After the formal training he continued to learn the classic cuisine in Geneva. Soon after, the Hilton International kitchens became his workplace for 18 years based in locations like Amsterdam, Vancouver, Caracas, Cairo, Manila, Seoul and Zurich. The key learning's from this experience was flexibility, find out about different cultures and their cuisine, adapting to people, respecting local customs and their social values. In each location he had to start learning all over again, which made it a pretty humble experience.
His next position in 1991 was Food Service Manager and in 1997 he became the Director of Food Production at Gate Gourmet Airline Catering in Zurich, Switzerland. He managed a large kitchen brigade that was producing up to 50’000 meals/day for 35 different International Airlines, a fantastic experience. He concentrated on developing industrialized production methods like standardized recipes, meat tumbling, hot fill and modified atmosphere packaging. Food preservation technology by extending shelf life has fascinated Alfred ever since.
In 2006 Alfred joined Compass Group Switzerland Ltd, a world leading Food Service Company, where he was focusing on Production Planning & Steering for the 300 plus Restaurants.
You probably are familiar with the phrase that says “The person that has turned his hobby into his profession is a happy one.” So in 2010 Alfred decided to make this step and is now a visiting lecturer at Les Roches, Bluches/ Crans-Montana, International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts / Affiliate of Les Roches based in Amman, Jordan. He focuses on topics like “Advanced Food Production Methods”. He urges the students to the fact that Continuous Improvement, Lean, Poka Yoke, 5S… should not fear to enter a kitchen!
He also enjoys sharing his wealth of practical knowledge to guide Food Production Companies focusing on producing chilled ready-to-eat foods and chilled meals.
Alfred has seen the huge need for culinary professionals to help support deprived and vulnerable organization. Today it is one of his greatest pleasures to work under the patronage of Swisscontact to give a helping hand to Chefs in need. This experience enables and exchange cultural and social contact between the host nationals and Alfred, which he enjoys tremendously.
Alfred has one son, Nicolas and lives in Kloten, Switzerland with his wife Zeenat. Alfred's hobbies include tending a little vineyard, visiting ice hockey games as a supporter of Kloten Flyers Hockey Team.