Reto Frei, is the owner of the tibits restaurant chain. Along with his brothers Christian and Daniel, and his business partners Rolf and Marielle Hiltl of Hiltl, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe, his vision was to create a high-class, fast food restaurant where people could enjoy tasty vegetarian food in relaxed surroundings. The brothers now have five tibits eateries in Switzerland (Winterthur, Bern, Basel and two in Zurich) as well as a vibrant tibits restaurant just off Regent Street in London.
At roughly what age did you become vegetarian?
At the age of seven.
What made you become vegetarian?
Once, my mother had cooked a chicken for dinner. When I saw the chicken on the plate with its legs and wings, I imagined it moving around and realised that it is an animal which had been killed. I felt sorry for it and refused to eat it. Since then, I have been a vegetarian and I’m happy with that decision.
What is your favourite vegetarian meal?
I love my homemade pizza with real tomato sauce, rocket and cheese. Simple but good. And accompanied by a glass of red wine!
Which is the best vegetarian restaurant you have been to?
tibits! I love the variety and quality at our restaurant and the casual ambience. Of course, we are always monitoring what others are doing too.
Where is the most vegetarian-friendly place?
I would say Israel and India as there are so many vegetarians in both countries.
What has been your worst experience as a vegetarian?
When I was travelling in Ecuador along the coast many years ago, they only had fish on the menu everywhere I went and I had to survive just on potatoes for a couple of days!
Can you recommend any good vegetarian resources (cookbooks/guides/websites/etc.)?
I’d recommend the Hiltl cookbook A World of Difference, which contains more than 60 delicious recipes. Hiltl is Europe’s oldest vegetarian restaurant and a partner of tibits. Later this year, tibits are very excited to be publishing our own tibits cookery book in English in the UK – it’s already a bestseller in Switzerland and has been reprinted many times over.
What’s your “signature dish” (and can you give us the recipe)?
One of my signature dishes is our White quinoa salad with dried cranberries (recipe attached). It is simple but very delicious.
White Quinoa with Dried Cranberries
Recipe for 800g (4 persons)
200g White quinoa grains, organic
2 litres Water
20g Sea salt, fine
100g Dried cranberries
40g Ginger, finely grated
60ml White balsamic vinegar
60ml Canola oil
30ml Orange juice, freshly squeezed
10g Parsley, chopped
Cook the quinoa in a large pot of boiling salted water for 20 min. Pour off the excess water
completely, let it drain off well with a little pressure so that it is almost dry and put it into a
bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the quinoa and mix well. Finally arrange in a bowl