How Not to Train for the Marathon

By Salma Abdelnour Posted November 02, 2007

I'm too much of a wuss to ever run a marathon—or last longer than three miles—so I didn't deserve to carbo-load as much as I did at Michelin three-star Swiss chef Philippe Rochat's marathon-celebration dinner at Café Gray the other night. Chef Gray Kunz invited Rochat—his old friend from the days when both trained with superstar chef Frédy Girardet at l’Hôtel de Ville in Crissier, Switzerland—to take over the Café Gray kitchen for three dinners this week to honor Rochat's late wife, Franziska Rochat-Moser. She won the New York City Marathon in 1997 and died in an avalanche in the Alps five years ago.

Rochat took over the Hôtel de Ville kitchen when Girardet retired, and this week Rochat's New York City posse—American and Swiss friends, Swiss watch-company executives, and assorted highly-placed expats—have been turning out to fill Café Gray over three consecutive nights (tonight's the last night). Wednesday's dinner was so mind-blowingly delicious, I was happy to miss Halloween for it. The highlights: A dish that proves "elegant spaghetti" is not an oxymoron, and that Rochat makes by twisting a mound of nutty-tasting durum-wheat pasta into a tight Slinky-like spiral and resting it in a buttery white-truffle sauce; a raw scallop in Dom Perignon sauce; a plate of fantastically sharp, pungent raw-milk Alpine cheeses that are nearly impossible to find here; and an 1895 Château d'Yquem (that's not a typo).

Needless to say, I won't be working off any of those calories during this Sunday's marathon. Instead I'll just be attending a marathon party and eating bagels—and trying to make myself marginally useful by spreading the word about the Fondation Franziska Rochat-Moser, created to help train young long-distance runners.

The foundation's website is in French, but that means you get to use the always-fun Google translation tool: Turns out Estelle Oberson, a young Rochat-Moser foundation sponsoree and champion of a March 2007 Switzerland race, won for "browsing 8 kilometers in 33 minutes 01 seconds." Browsing eight kilometers? I can totally do that.

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