Lausanne à Table is one of my favourite events in my adopted city because it brings everything I care for together: local food, artisanal producers, farmers and authentic, fun events all over the city.
That’s why talking with Elise Rabaey, the director of Lausanne à Table, and getting to know more about her role within the organization but also about her life and philosophy has been a true pleasure. Elise has been involved in this great project right from the beginning and I have the feeling that she is contributing greatly to its success.
In this interview, you will read more about Elise’s daily tasks as the director of Lausanne à Table, her connection with food and Lausanne, resources for inspiration and much more.
Would you suggest a song to hear while reading your interview?
How would you introduce yourself in a paragraph?
Oh… well, I love the mountains, the Chasselas wine, the artichokes, the linguine al vongole, Egon Schiele, the birds, and I love enjoying good food with good people! I am 38 years old.
Lausanne à Table, food and life in Lausanne
You are the director of Lausanne à Table, the non-profit organization promoting taste, local artisans and their products from the Lausanne region and its surroundings. How and why did you get involved in this organization?
I work for the city of Lausanne since 2010. At that time, I was involved in the urban marketing unit. In 2012, Lausanne was elected “Ville du Goût”. We organized many foodie events. This was supposed to be just for one year, but it was a great success (in the media, the population and the “protagonists of taste”) and the city of Lausanne decided to continue this manifestation. I was lucky to be able to continue it from then. In 2013, Lausanne Ville du Goût became Lausanne à Table. Right now, our association has more than 200 members.
Can you tell us a few more words about your role at Lausanne à Table and what it involves? What do you love most about your job?
My job is very diverse: in the morning I might be working on creating the communication strategy plan of our association and in the afternoon, I might be washing the dishes.
Part of my job is conceptualizing and organizing events; right now, for instance, I am getting in touch with chefs in order to ask them to participate in the world championship of Malakoffs! This means that I also have to create the competition brief.
Are you planning to have any Lausanne à Table events during the summer of 2020? Any exciting news we should be looking forward to?
Yes, we are very happy to have launched our program on the 15th of June 2020. Until December, many events will be organized. We had to “reinvent” the festival and include more intimate events. I am particularly proud of the “paniers pique-nique du 1er août” and “la clé des champs”, a new exciting event that took place already.
What does food mean to you?
For me, food is everything: sharing, tasting, and connecting. It’s not only about eating; it’s much more than that! Everybody cares about food: it tells stories, revokes memories, helps people to connect, to smile. Food is everything: cultural, historical, ethical; it’s also a great tool to connect people.
What’s unique about the gastronomy of Lausanne according to your opinion?
The city’s proximity to nature. Lausanne is surrounded by the lake, the mountains, the vineyards and the fields. This means you have a wide diversity of products very close to the city.
Which are your favourite foodie addresses/experiences in Lausanne?
That’s a difficult question! It depends on my state of mind, the weather… But I really like the market in the pedestrian area here in Lausanne; it is unique. I can find so many beautiful products here: tasty and seasonal fruits and vegetables, amazing cheese (I love “Les petites fromagères’” stand) or fresh pasta from Angelucci’s stand.
How is everyday life in Lausanne? What does a typical day of yours look like?
Lausanne has the advantages of a city with many restaurants, bars, museums etc but it also looks like a village. People are friendly, enjoying the pedestrian centre. The more I live here, the more I enjoy it!
Inspiration & Travel
Which book and/or movie would you recommend reading/watching to get inspired?
I would suggest watching “Coco before Chanel” because Coco Chanel is buried here in Lausanne. She loved this city and liked going to this cute restaurant “Chalet des Enfants” to drink her favourite hot chocolate!
Which are your current go-to inspiration resources?
I really like Camille Dea and her Instagram. The way she sees Lausanne and the quality of her photos. I also like the blog Cuisine Helvetica for the recipes. And I am very impressed by the talented Emmanuelle Rose, which is the digital manager of Lausanne Tourism. She launched the Lausanner and I like the way it represents Lausanne. I also like Fichtre, which is a very talented illustrator.
What does travel mean to you?
This has changed! Many years ago, for me, travel meant “travel far away”. Especially now with the Covid outbreak, travel is not about how many kilometers you drive. It’s more a state of mind. My last holidays were in my van, in Switzerland. I discovered Appenzell, Schwyz, and Lötschenthal. That was so beautiful.
What was your favourite travel experience so far and why?
Last week I went with my family to Berner Oberland. We took the train to Kleine Schneidegg. I had climbed the Mönch and Jungfrau some years ago with my husband. I was very happy to show the Eiger’s North Face to my 5 years old boy. Especially this year, because there were only people from Switzerland. No mass tourism. We felt so lucky to be there!
What is happiness for you?
A glass of Chasselas (local wine variety) with friends and my husband, with a view on the mountains and after that, a “tarte aux abricots du Valais” (apricot pie). This is paradise.
Thank you so much, Elise, for this interview and all the wonderful foodie events you bring to the city of Lausanne.
*All the photos for this article have been kindly provided by Elise Rabaey and Lausanne à Table, unless where mentioned otherwise.
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Are you visiting Lausanne soon and want to know which are the best places to eat and drink? Are you new to the city and eager to discover the top foodie addresses? Check out my ebook – The Curated Foodie Guide to Lausanne which consists of a 4-day foodie itinerary and an insider’s tips on local life.