Olivier Limousin Talks to Top 25 Restaurants
Olivier Limousin is the Executive Chef at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Bangkok. When Joël Robuchon asked Olivier Limousin to open his first restaurant in Bangkok he had already opened L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in London where he gained two Michelin stars. Having worked for Joël Robuchon for over 10 years, Olivier readily accepted the challenge to move to the Thai capital.
Was yours a conscious decision to become a chef or did you find you fell into it?
When I was young, when I was a little boy, I wanted to be involved in the motorcycle industry. I loved motorcycles, so I wanted to become maybe a motorcycle rider, maybe a policeman on a motorcycle, something like that because I really loved motorcycles. That was my first dream. As a teenager I was bored by school, and inspired by my grandmother I decided to become a chef.
What are some emerging food trends that you’re noticing?
As a Chef, and for most reputable Chefs around teh world, the trend is to source sustainable products and organic grown ingredients. One challenge is to avoid the wastage of food as much as we can, that’s very important for me.
Do you source as much local produce as possible for your restaurant and what impact does it have on the menu?
We always source from small, local farmers and local fishermen first, trying to find the best local product before considering importation. For the products we import from France, Japan or Australia we only source from small family businesses with a long tradition and culture of food and ingredients.
What’s the difference between running a restaurant in France and running one in Bangkok?
The weather and working hours, people in Bangkok eat much earlier in France; we open the restaurant at 6:30 and have bookingon opening. In terms of running a restaurant, in France you can several deliveries of fresh produce a day which is not possible in Thailand. Working with Thai people was another agreeable surprise when I came to Bangkok, they are always smiling and have a lot of positive energy. Thai people are, in general, more dedicated to work than Europeans.
How is people’s relationship with food different in South East Asia?
Thai people love food and are very knowleadgable about food. They know about flavour, texture, colourful and spiciness and they know exactly where the good restaurants are.
Is there one dish that sums up your style?
If there is one dish I have to point out it’s king crab with avocado. I served it in London but now I’m using locally sourced avocado from and pomelos and the dish has even nicer balance, I cannot take it off the menu.
What do you think the most important qualities are in a young chef?
Of course he needs the passion for food and cooking but should be a good leader and possess a team spirit. You can be the best chef, cook perfectly any dish but you will always need a motivated team around you.
What’s the one cooking tool that a Chef should not be without?
A spoon to test because a chef has to always and continously taste what he is cooking. We use disposable plastic spoons as we always taste, taste, taste… No doubt, the spoon is a chef’s most important tool.
What’s next for you (plans, dreams,…)?
Having a baby with my Thai wife in the coming years, and just go on with my work as Executive Chef at L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. I started cooking in a restaurant when I was 16, now I’m 44 and still enjoy cooking everyday and make people happy with one dish, with one meal.