Anton Mosimann is celebrating his sixtieth birthday with a star-studded bash at The Dorchester and a 10,000km car rally from Peking to Paris. He talks to Emily Manson.
Why are you taking part in the rally?
It's the excitement and the challenge mainly, but I'm also looking forward to eating lots of different types of food in Mongolia, China and Russia. I'm sure there will be some really unusual experiences, with food being prepared in all sorts of ways. Also it's a 60-day rally, which coincides with me turning 60.
What do you have to do?
Thirty cars drive from Beijing to Paris in 60 days. I love to drive but don't know much about car maintenance so I've had to go on a crash course in car repair so I can do the basics. We will have all the equipment, extra materials, tyres and such in the car with us.
Why do you feel it's important to support Hospitality Action?
It's very close to my heart, because being in the business I have seen people going sideways, either because of alcohol or drugs and I feel very sorry for them and hope to be able contribute something to help that.
You turn 60 on 23 February. What are you doing to celebrate?
We're having a dinner for 300 chefs and friends at the Dorchester. Chefs are coming from around the world - it makes me very proud to have worked with and trained so many - I feel like a father with many children. Henry Harris and I have put together a menu with food from all over the world.
What's the biggest change since you started cooking?
I was very lucky to be in Japan 35 years ago, when sushi was unique and basically unheard of in Europe. But the biggest change is the whole influence from the Far East which has had a tremendous effect on European cuisine making it lighter and healthier and bringing different flavours into cooking.
What's the most important thing you've learned?
If you want to be in the winning team, you have to be on top of things, work hard, be dedicated and willing to give pleasure to other people constantly. It's nothing new but some people forget you have to be focused and concentrate on providing that every day.
What's your gem of wisdom to pass down to young aspiring chefs?
If you enjoy cooking, then go for it. It is a fantastic profession. In my career, I have seen the world, worked in 75 different cities, and met the most amazing people all because of my job.