When I was five years old, I begged my father to let me come into work with him. Without hesitation he obliged, waking me up the next day at 4:30 in the morning. I made it all of two hours doing menial jobs before crawling under his desk and going back to sleep. That was the very beginning of what would become one of my biggest passions in life.
My grandfather and grandmother started Andre’s in 1955 after emigrating from Switzerland. They came to America for the opportunity to open a business of their own. They were both extremely hardworking, refusing to let Andre’s be anything but a success. My grandparents, along with my father, mother and aunt, all believed in that same work ethic, inspiring me throughout my youth. I count myself lucky for having the gift of learning from them. One of the greatest opportunities they gave me was spending three years in Switzerland training under some of that country’s top executive chefs and pastry chefs. What my father understood, which I did not at the time, is that educating myself outside of the Andre’s group was essential for me to become a well-rounded pastry chef. I saw and was able to do things that gave me a broader base of knowledge to draw on when working in the kitchen.
To this day, I love to cook. It makes no difference if it’s at Andre’s for hundreds of excited customers or at home for my wife and daughters. I love to create and, hopefully, put smiles on people’s faces. Growing up in a multi-generational food establishment founded on Old-World traditions has taught me many things. Most importantly, it has taught me that cooking is a creative art form that enables a person to touch others through all the senses. I’ve learned many things throughout my culinary journey, one of which is that you never stop learning.
I hope you enjoy some of my favorite recipes that I love cooking at Andre’s, as well as at home for friends and family.
As the third generation of the Bollier family running Andre’s Confiserie Suisse, Rene Bollier never had any doubt about his future. At the age of five, he informed his kindergarten teacher that he was going to study in Switzerland as a pastry chef and take over Andre’s when he grew up. He truly started working there at the age of 11. “I was there every Saturday, holiday and during the summer,” he says. And other than odd jobs while attending KU and his three years studying in Switzerland, he’s done just that.
Fashioned after a cocktail created by a great friend and creative personality, I felt it only fitting to call it by his name. The Kemnitzer is the perfect fall cocktail to enjoy as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder. The blend of ingredients, along with the smooth flavor of Rieger whiskey, make this a big hit on our fall cocktail menu.
3 ounces Rieger whiskey
1 ounce honey clove syrup (see recipe below)
4 dashes Angostura bitters
4 ounces club soda
Orange wedge for garnish
Measure the first three ingredients into a highball glass. Fill the glass with ice and stir with a spoon. Top with club soda and garnish with an orange wedge.
Honey Clove Syrup
12 whole cloves
½ cup water
8 ounces honey
2 ounces simple syrup
In a saucepan, add cloves to water, bring to a boil and steep for 10 minutes. Strain the clove water and mix well with remaining ingredients. Will keep for four weeks in the refrigerator.
Grated Carrot or Beet Salad
Anyone who has frequented Andre’s for lunch will tell you that our grated carrot and beet salads have been a staple since the beginning. This simple, yet amazingly delicious, mix of root vegetables is something you’ll find on many menus all over Switzerland.
1 pound fresh carrots or beets
4 ounces Andre’s olive oil salad dressing (recipe follows)
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel and grate the vegetable of your choice with a box grater or food processor attachment. Mix with olive oil salad dressing and chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top with fresh chopped chives.
Andre’s Olive Oil Salad Dressing
1 medium shallot
3 ounces Dijon mustard
4 ounces apple cider vinegar
3 ounces water
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon Maggi or soy sauce
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
12 ounces olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Slowly add the oil while the processor is running, pausing it to scrape down the sides. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
Through the years many amazing chefs and cooks from Europe have helped mold our menu at Andre’s. This is one such dish taught to us by a Hungarian friend of the family. The big bold flavors pair beautifully with this cut of pork, which benefits from a long cooking time.
4 pounds pork shoulder, cubed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 pound button mushrooms, sliced
2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups beef stock
2 ounces tomato paste
2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika
½ cup dry white wine
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat oil on medium-high heat in a large dutch oven or frying pan until hot. Working in batches, brown all the meat. Set the meat aside and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan, and cook until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for one minute more and then sprinkle the vegetables with the flour. Add the meat back to the pan with the other ingredients, and stir until all the ingredients are incorporated. Cover and put in a 350-degree oven for one-and-a-half to two hours or until the meat is tender. Add water if too much evaporates, and stir occasionally. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with buttered spaetzle or pasta.
Our take on apple pie is something I always look forward to in the fall. Beautiful in presentation and delightful to eat with a scoop of Andre’s vanilla-bean ice cream, it has always been an example of the blending of Old World and New World at Andre’s.
8-inch sweet piecrust sugar dough
4 apples (Granny Smith or Jonathan are my go-to)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Streusel topping (recipe follows)
Peel, core and chop the apples. Squeeze juice of the lemon and mix with the apples. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the apples. Mound the apples in the prepared piecrust and sprinkle the streusel topping over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for one hour. Cool before serving. Sift powdered sugar over the top and serve with Andre’s vanilla-bean ice cream.
½ pound butter, softened
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Mix all ingredients and push through a coarse sifter or colander. Freeze completely before topping the apples.