Vilson Krasnic: Head chef of elmira

17 Feb 2024
Situated in the former Löwenbräu brewery, which now serves as one of Zurich's main arts and culture destinations, elmira is a unique concept restaurant that seamlessly blends the best aspects of contemporary fine dining with the intimacy of being invited over to an old friend's house for dinner. We recently had the chance to drop by and have a quick chat with head chef Vilson Krasnic about what makes elmira so special, as well as pick his brain on what it's like being a chef in Zurich.
Chef Vilson Krasnic (second from left) and the team at elmira

What first inspired you to become a chef?
Vilson Krasnic: At 16 years old, I had to make a decision about the future and decided then to become a chef. Just some years after, when I learned who I was, I knew I that being a chef is what I wanted to be.

How long have you been a professional chef?
VK: Almost 20 years now.

What's your philosophy in the kitchen?
VK: I don’t want to manipulate the nature of the ingredients too much, I simply wanna the showcase the beauty of those ingredients to let them shine. Nature is perfect.

How do you develop new dishes? Where does the inspiration come from?
VK: After being a chef for so long, I get inspired by many things in life. Sometimes the idea for a new dish is dancing in my head for weeks: I’m never not creating in my head.

Any favourite ingredients to work with?
VK: I love many the regional ingredients you find around Zurich. I really like all kinds of radishes, fresh herbs and all of the unique things that each season gives us.
A feast for for the eyes and the palate!

What's more important: the work on the farm or the work in the kitchen?
VK: Both equally.

How has the culinary scene in Zurich changed in recent years?
VK: Many restaurant focus on vegetable-cuisine and sustainability now. Many reduce their use of fish and meat. Which is definitely a good thing.

What's your signature ‘don't leave my restaurant without trying’ plate?
VK: Right now it's 'The burnt leek', which showcases our philosophy perfectly in one dish. The vegetable is the star of the show and is being showcased with a well thought-out use of animal products, and of course there's no food waste.

What makes dining at elmira a unique experience?
VK: Ah, many things! To start with, the chefs bring the dishes to your table and give their first-hand explanations about them. On top of that, there's a beverage pairing for every dish. Our Sommelier Nicolas creates a very balanced pairing in a version with or without alcohol even. And to add one more thing: As a guest you can really feel the seasons of the year through our dishes.
Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink pairings accompany the meal

Can you trust a skinny chef?
VK: Yes. Because a skinny chef must be a hard worker. 😊

Any entertaining kitchen disasters you'd care to share?
VK: You know, we really try to avoid mistakes. 😉

Swiss cuisine in a few words?
VK: Cheese and milk products. But heavily internationally influenced by our surrounding countries.

What are three Swiss dishes that every visitor to Zurich should try?
VK: Rösti, Fondue and our 'Burnt Leek'. 😉

Any favourite late night snacks or fast food joints you frequent?
VK: A good slice of our sourdough bread with nicely salted butter.

How do you like to spend your days off in and around Zurich? Any tips for our readers?
VK: There are so many great restaurants in Zurich to enjoy - starting with elmira, of course!


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