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- Saturday, 26 December 2015 12:32 | Written by Stephan Lendi
Matthias Tesi Baur is the founder of the World Gourmet Society and represents the global WGS society on the Swiss board. His love for food developed mainly during his trips to Asia, America and Australia. Especially the cultural side of preparing and serving food is a special point of Tesi’s interest.
What exactly is WGS international?
The World Gourmet Society is a club of food and wine enthusiasts around the world. It started in 2010 with a group on LinkedIn. The aim of the group was to give people from different countries a platform to share their love for authentic food and wine. Very quickly this group became the largest group for gourmands worldwide on LinkedIn. The World Gourmet Society itself was founded in 2012 based on that success. The mission statement of WGS is “to discover new culinary landscapes and to support young talents”. We want to bring people around the World together. We organize events such as the World Gourmet Festival but also dinner evenings. Last year for example we had a great dinner at the auction house Christie’s in London. We have gourmet groups around the world in cities and regions such as Munich, Miami, Gold Coast (Australia), Zurich and many more. Very important is our Code of Ethics! The Society is an exclusive club for everybody who truly loves good food and wine. Any product or self-promotion is not appreciated. In total we reach around 50.000 food and wine enthusiasts worldwide.
What was the intention to start the World Gourmet Society?
At the very beginning I just wanted to start a group on LinkedIn. My idea was not to start a society. One of the light bulb moments was an evening in Beijing in a street with five Japanese restaurants where Japanese food was prepared in the way it was done 100 years ago. I had such a great evening enjoying food I didn’t know that it exists that way with friends and wanted to create a group where people can share such an experience. After the group was established it became clear that “self-promotion” always plays a big part in Social Media, so I had the idea to start the society and make it more exclusive and base it on the code of ethics that reflects respect for other food cultures.
How do people live the idea of WGS in different countries?
Oh – that is done in many different ways. In Argentina one of our members (Fernando Muñoz Pace) is submitting extremely interesting articles about Argentine cuisine. In Florida Chef Frankie Harvey won the Iron Chef Competition representing the World Gourmet Society. In London we organized two great dinners – one to discover Austrian cuisine and one to showcase art and jewellery at Christie’s last year. In Paris the local WGS group organized a wine and cheese evening in a private flat overlooking the rooftops of the city and now in Switzerland we have put a team together to grow WGS in your country. There are so many different ways to work with WGS and share the enthusiasm. I have the feeling we are just at the beginning of a great journey.
What potential do you see in the setup of WGS in Switzerland?
Switzerland is a country that stands in the world for quality, watches and the finance sector. I think it is great to represent such prestigious attributes but I think Switzerland has much more to offer. The cuisine, the hospitality and the food culture of Switzerland is something the world really should discover. I think the potential of WGS Switzerland is to push and promote the culinary reputation of the country in the world and the great culinary personalities the country has to offer.
How do you live your culinary passion for food today?
Mainly by meeting old and new friends and enjoying food and wine with them. Having a good dinner or enjoying a good wine is a bonding event as you can often see how people really are.
Which restaurants and cuisine do you prefer when you go out?
I like many different cuisines. In Asia I love Japanese and Thai but traditional Chinese is also a cuisine I enjoy very much. In Europe it depends. In my view Italian cuisine is the best for a budget below €50 and French above €50. I’m also a big fan of Southern German and Austrian cuisine which is in my view underrated and I enjoy the American twist on fusion cuisine. I really do not have “the one cuisine” that I can call my favourite.
…and what do you order?
That can be different as well. Sometimes I go for the set menu and sometimes a la carte. I love to have a chat with the chef if he has the time and I love to experiment. As one example I had sesame foi gras with mango sorbet and Chinese pickled mushrooms a while ago. An absolutely outstanding combination of different tastes across cultures and continents! In general I don’t think I have a favourite dish but if I have to pick something I would always go for a good piece of meat or a smoked fish.
When did you discover your passion for good food?
It was really my trips to other countries and the great opportunity to meet other people and cultures through food. During these trips I discovered that in Europe we often think we know a cuisine but if you enjoy food in the country of origin it is most often something totally different. That caught my interest and I guess I will never stop discovering!
About Tesi Baur
Tesi Baur made his career in the exhibition industry. He started at Messe Frankfurt and moved to the British Organizer Reed Exhibitions in 2000 where he was responsible for the online strategy in Germany and Switzerland. In 2007 he moved to London and became the global e-business Director of the company. From 2012 to 2014 he was the Portfolio Director of the Food Ingredients show and conference portfolio of United Business Media. Since 2014 he has been working as a consultant for the event industry, e-business and international business. Tesi founded the World Gourmet Society in 2010. Parallel to his jobs he founded the World Gourmet Society in 2010.