Cuccinetta, Ad Novum, Zurich
The best incentive given to employees the real picky gourmet has ever read or heard about must be the Cucinetta at the company headquarters of Ad novum. Forget free childcare, world class health services, Blackberries or Black Amex corporate cards. If management is really committed to their employees they’ll give them their own gourmet restaurant. Cuccinetta is run by a former professional gourmet chef from the industry and for roughly 15 CHF, employees (and invited guests) can dine on a 3 course meal. The first course was a cheese and sausage salad with edible flowers, which were homegrown on the chef’s balcony. While I prefer a more rustic cheese and sausage salad, it was surprising to see how elegant this dish can be made to taste. Clearly the chef knows what he’s doing. Following up was a cod filet accompanied with mussels and some sort of grain risotto. The sheer size of the fish filets were overwhelming, certainly this place is about making employees happy and not about optimising food costs. The dish itself was tasty, simple and a combination which is not run of the mill. The real surprising dish was the dessert (lacking picture) which was a homemade vermicelles, unlike the industrial versions, this taste strongly and distinctively of chestnuts and kirsch. If you cannot work full time in the restaurant critic business, then working at a company with it’s own restaurant is certainly a viable option. But then again, wasn’t that also the case when you went to elementary school and came home to your mother’s home cooked meals every noon ?