Vatican City, Apr 28, 2016 / 02:36 am
A native of Zurich, Switzerland, David Geisser was a chef prodigy.
He compiled his first best-selling cookbook at age 18, produced his second cookbook before he was 23, and was working under masters such as Antonio Colaianni of the Gault Millau restaurant in Switzerland.
Amidst his rising stardom in the culinary world, he decided to join the Pontifical Swiss Guard – a historically elite body of Swiss soldiers who have served as guardians to the pope in Vatican City since the 1500s.
“I volunteered for the Pontifical Swiss Guard because that was my dream – to be like my father and serve in the Swiss Guard. It is a great honor for young Swiss men,” Geisser told CNA.
Credit: Katarzyna Artymiak.
He was officially sworn in as a Swiss Guard in May 2013. Once he was serving a higher cause, Geisser would hang up his apron and lay his acclaimed chef days to rest.
But during the same time, the Swiss Guard was working on a promotional pamphlet encouraging Swiss Guard prospectives to apply for the position of papal guardian. Geisser jumped on the opportunity to turn the recruit document into a high-quality cookbook, filled with pictures, recipes, and stories.
“The Commander [Daniel Anrig] decided the Swiss Guard should do a cookbook and assigned me to lead the project,” Geisser explained, saying Anrig had always been interested in Geisser’s culinary background.
Geisser collaborated with Commander Anrig and fellow Swiss Guard Erwin Niederberger, a former pastry chef who produced most of the cookbook’s text. Together, they transformed the recruit brochure into Buon Appetito – a culinary masterpiece, carefully crafted with 76 hand-picked recipes, including papal favorites.