Two pans on the road! – an interview with Yves and Iwan
With “Two Pans On The Road” Iwan Hediger and Yves Seeholzer are presenting their first cookbook together, and within are numerous creative and scrumptious recipes. Simple and quick vegetarian fare, with inspiration coming from their own culinary journey throughout Australia.
Iwan and Yves, congratulations on your innovative and successful cookbook “Two Pans On The Road”. Before we get address your book and other culinary projects, lets take a quick step back into where the magic comes from. Did you both always want to be chefs? How did you guys start on the path of this amazing career?
Yves: I was pretty much born into the hospitality industry and from a young age was already standing in the kitchen of my fathers hotel chopping vegetables. So the way of the kitchen was never going to be a problem.
Iwan: Even as a little boy, I enjoyed being in the kitchen. Home economics was actually something I was really enthusiastic about in school.
Incidentally, I did an apprenticeship in the hotel of Yves’s father, But we didn’t cross paths much at that time.
Where did you guys study your cooking, and what were your most memorable moments of those times?
Yves: I did my culinary studies in the Kultur and Kongress Zentrum KKL in Luzern. I learned so much over there, over 3 years in the apprenticeship program I was able to work in all the departments such as Banqueting, the A La Carte restaurant and the Gourmet Restaurant. It allowed me to get a really great insight into the kitchen life-style.
Iwan: I spent my apprenticeship at the Swiss-Chalet in Merlischachen nearby Luzern. It was a very classic apprenticeship, but unfortunately not very innovative. However, I did learn a lot from the experienced chefs, who had worked in very prestigious restaurants.
Iwan, for you, after your time as a chef at the Swiss-Chalet came Australia. What do you find the most impressive about the Australian cuisine and the people there?
Iwan: I honestly have to say, I haven’t really gotten seriously involved with the Australian cuisine even though I’ve been there 3 times already. For my first trip I wanted to foremost meet new people and really get to know the country. I really love the easy-going nature of the people and how helpful they are. Regardless of how care-free and stress-resistant they are you can always count on them. During my second trip to Australia, I worked shortly at a Swiss restaurant, so I didn’t really get a chance to get to know Australian cuisine very well then either.
TWO PANS ON THE ROAD & THE AUSTRALIAN WAY OF LIFE
The Australian way of life finds its way into your cookbook. Which recipe describes it best?
Yves: Oh, that’s hard to say, because our recipes are not specifically Australian. The Australians are a very relaxed sort of people, and it seemed to us often they are more relaxed than us here at home. On page 29 you can find the recipe “Sweet Potato Puree with Sauteed Asparagus”. We went through the many various types in the market and found a lot of inspiration.
Iwan: Every recipe is easy and uncomplicated, just like the Australians. We cooked just like we like to cook at home, the Australian way of life we picked up a couple trips before.
Yves, after your apprenticeship, the next step took you to Southeast Asia and India for over 2 years. The cuisine of Southeast Asia is fascinating but also incredibly diverse. What did you take from that experience? How were you influenced as a Chef during this time? How would you describe your current cooking style?
Yves: My time in Southeast Asia and India influenced me immensely. I thought it was fascinating the way the street cooks would cut everything up into equal pieces, throw it in a wok, and make an amazing dish out of it. The relaxed way fascinated me most. Our current cooking style is pretty much “all day, everyday” kind of stuff I would say, but varied. Throughout the years it has become clear that we like to combine fruits and vegetables in one dish.
Your first and co-authored cookbook “Two Pans On The Road”: How did you come up with the idea?
Yves: It’s pretty funny actually. Iwan, my cousin and I ran a small restaurant together for 4 years on Lake Lucerne. One morning, in the third year, Iwan asked me if I wanted to go with him during the winter break to Australia for a couple of weeks. As spontaneous as I am, I said of course. The next day Iwan came to me and asked if it would not be better to incorporate some culinary projects. He thought just going from point A to point B is a bit boring. So on that day we decided to write a travel cookbook. We were both really excited about the idea and nothing was going to stand in our way.
Iwan: We didn’t have a specific concept, we just let it play out. Much later did we realize that we cook everything with a maximum of two pans… and thus came the name and concept.
TWO PANS ON THE ROAD- SIMPLE AND QUICK VEGETARIAN RECIPES
In your cookbook “Two Pans On The Road” you present 50 vegetarian an Vegan recipes. Why no meat😉?
Yves: That is a bit of a long story. To make a long story short, each of us has our own reason for doing this. For me, it was a health basis, and to come closer to nutrition in general. I had by then battled cancer twice and wanted to look to much more than only taking medication. So nutrition as a theme was a priority. I’ve tried every form of diet, at the end I have come to the conclusion after much studying that the vegetarian or vegan diet is by far the best diet if you have or have had diseases such as cancer. That was the reason I switched to a vegetarian and vegan lifestyle. I don’t want to get into the way animals are raised in the system and things like that at the moment, I think it’s a big topic enough nowadays.
Iwan: Yea, I’m in the hot-seat now.😉 When Yves started eating vegetarian I had already started to reduce my meat consumption. Shortly before our flight to australia I had my last piece of meat. The reasons why I chose vegetarian are many but our book isn’t about getting people to switch to a vegetarian diet, we hope it will be a big source of inspiration.
So, now that the cookbook is done: What was the most difficult thing in making your successful cookbook?
Yves: If I am honest, I never found it hard to do. I think the most time consuming thing was to bring across the recipes so that anyone at home in their kitchen can do it.
Iwan: We did exactly what we liked and what we are good at doing, so I didn’t find it that hard. I think the hardest part was the trade-offs you have to make when working with a publisher, but we were also very lucky that we probably wrote the right book at the right moment. The cookbook market is saturated and so many great ideas never make it to the book shelves.
In the book there are 50 dishes. How many did you guys create on the trip?
Yves: I believe there were around 53 dishes we came up with.
Iwan: Originally we wanted to do more. By the end of it we kind of needed a vacation from the vacation. Although in hindsight we completed the project at exactly the right time.
Drive, imagination, the courage to throw yourselves out there and two pans were the recipe for this fantastic cookbook! What did you guys miss the most Chef-wise? Which appliance or spice etc…?
Yves: A walk-in cooler and a dishwashing machine.
Iwan: A bit more space in the camper. The longer the trip took, the more the plates and stuff piled up. Maybe it’s better we didn’t have the space or we would have gotten more complicated with the cooking.
Could you guys recommend a recipe from your book?
Asian Mango Celery Salad – Perfect for the summer!
Okay… Honestly now, what did you miss from the Swiss cuisine during your travels? The good cheese?
Yves: You’re not off the mark with the cheese. It’s great in Switzerland 😉 and on a cool evening south of Perth a fondue with a glass of kirsch would be delicious.
Do your ideas and the success of your book spur you on to do further culinary projects in other countries?
Yves: We are definitely doing that. From January- March 2018, we were in New Zealand for 2 months where we wrote our second cookbook due to be released in spring of 2019.
Iwan: … also with two pans. 😉
Thank you so much, Iwan and Yves! You’ve made me hungry!
For more information on the guys and “Two Pans On The Road” you can find it at: