Olivier Bertho – Executive Chef, Olivier’s Restaurant, The Woburn Hotel
Telephone: 01525 292292
For the last fifteen years there has not been a single morning where Olivier Bertho has not looked forward to going to work. He loves his job, and his team of loyal Chefs clearly enjoy working for him. I had only been sat with Olivier for 5 minutes and my mind was already telling me “This man would be a great person to work for.”
You can tell Olivier is a team player. Maybe he could take a little more credit for his own talents and mastery in the kitchen? However, you sense he wouldn’t like that. It is almost guaranteed Olivier will want to mention those he works with and praise them instead. This is exactly what he did when discussing his new menu.
“You do not create menus like this on your own. It’s about team work. We all have an input. Some are relatively easy to create, whereas others can take a little longer to perfect. We don’t like to over complicate things but we’ll keep tweaking elements of a dish until we get them right.” Did you notice the repeated reference to “we” in those sentences? Olivier clearly wouldn’t allow you to praise him alone for the quality of the food you receive.
It is obvious Olivier is happy with life, and loves living in the idyllic surroundings of Woburn. His family are settled and of course, the restaurant at The Woburn Hotel is named after him. Yet there is not a hint of complacency about his work. Everything he talks about points to his dedication to the job at hand and his continual desire to strive for perfection.
A restaurant for all occasions
Olivier was head hunted for his current job but his humble nature continues when he points out that he did not demand the restaurant be named after him and nor was it his idea. “I am immensely proud that the restaurant was named after me. It was not my idea. Being a hotel we decided as a team we wanted the restaurant to be seen as a separate entity. You do not need to stay at the hotel in order to visit the restaurant. Everyone is welcome.” Indeed, when we asked Olivier for his dreams and aspirations for the year ahead he replied, “For Olivier’s to be seen as a restaurant for all occasions.”
Olivier continued, “My style in classic British with a French twist that allow the true flavours of the ingredients to come through.” Having maintained the restaurant’s two AA rosettes for 10 years, there is no doubting the consistency of food served at Olivier’s; but who was his inspiration? “Definitely the Roux brothers – they highlighted and enhanced the French classics that I grew up with.”
Having just eaten two amazing fish dishes from Olivier’s new menu (click here to read our review) he talks about his passion for cooking fish. It is now becoming apparent why the food I have just enjoyed was so exceptional. Olivier mentioned how he learnt to cook in France during his apprenticeship in restaurants that specialised in seafood. He then also mentions where he worked for a short while before moving to Woburn. “I lived in the seaside resort of Pornic in western France with my wife. It was a beautiful place and every day the boats would bring their freshly caught fish.”
Passion for pastry
It would be unfair though, to point this out to you and possibly give the slightest hint that seafood dishes alone are what you should eat at Olivier’s. For this is what makes Olivier the talent he is. Saying he is an all-rounder is not a term that does his culinary skills justice. His meat dishes can easily be described as perfect – that’s how good they are. Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised? Olivier has cooked for some of the greatest Chefs, royalty and British Prime Ministers.
There is another passion he has, and that is for pastry. This might give you a clue as to why desserts at Olivier’s are an absolute must!
Olivier explains, “Knowledge of pastry is essential. For some Chefs it can be their nemesis. I worked solely on this section in a hotel when I was younger and it has never fazed me. You have to know what you are doing. You’re cooking under pressure and that knowledge and experience helps you to get the finer details right.” Those finer details obviously include producing and perfecting delightful desserts such as the Pineapple Tarte Tatin. Desserts at Olivier’s are some of the most beautifully presented dishes you will find anywhere.
Olivier himself writes on The Woburn Hotel website that he looks forward to “welcoming you if you love good food.” At first sight you would have to say this is a typo. Good? It’s great! But then that is Olivier – humble, charming and unpresuming.
Call 01525 292292 to book your table at Olivier’s Restaurant, The Woburn Hotel.