Michelin star Chef Olivier Jean: 'It’s all about consistency'

Michelin star Chef Olivier Jean: 'It’s all about consistency'

Chef Olivier Jean, who is in Mumbai to curate a special Asian French menu for the weekend at Vetro, The Oberoi feels consistency is one of the most essential ingredients in the recipe to earn a Michelin star

Shruti PanditUpdated: Thursday, March 16, 2023, 10:07 PM IST
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Chef Olivier Jean is a simpleton who has inherited passion for food and cooking from his grandmother and mother. His, otherwise tired, face lights up when he starts talking about his cooking and his journey so far.

Chef Olivier trained with the legendary Chef Joel Robuchon and worked with him in Paris and Monaco before heading the operations in Taipei, Taiwan and now heading L’Atelier de Robuchon at The Woodward, Geneva. Michelin stars followed him everywhere.

What’s the secret? “No secret!” says Olivier. “It’s all about consistency that follows innovation, hard work, right ingredients and a marvelous presentation,” he adds. “The Michelin comes first time and judges you for taste – texture, flavours, aroma – and the recipe and its presentation – ingredients, preparation and plating. It visits you again some more times to test you for consistency. Only if you pass the test of consistency do you get the star,” he explains. “Ten years with Chef Robuchon taught me the nuances I practice in my cooking.”

In India at Vetro, The Oberoi, he is curating an Asian French menu. Coming from a Chef who has always admitted that ‘authentic’ is the sound foundation for a successful kitchen, a ‘fusion’ sounding menu is a surprise. “It’s not fusion, that I am cooking or curating…” clarifies Olivier. “Recipes remain French, authentic, original French recipes. However, I am using some Indian ingredients in the recipes as innovation. And that’s the surprise element, which can be termed as Asian French,” he shares.

While he is using the usual suspects like turmeric, curry leaves and curry masala, what surprised me most was Rooh Afza! “Oh yes… I loved it… the aroma, the flavours…” Olivier tells. I am using as a base for one of my sorbets.”

What’s the biggest challenge in creating a menu for Indian palate? Vegetarian menus? “To a certain extent yes,” Olivier admits. “I know that in India, I might have a table where the husband is non-vegetarian and the wife is vegetarian. Keeping that in mind, I have to create equal number of dishes for both… starting from amuse bouche to the entrée to the dessert,” he says. “However, I must admit that vegetarian and vegan population is increasing worldwide now. I have seen 15 to 20 percent increase in last five years. And that has helped me, as I have had to make vegan dishes for guests at last minute sometimes in Geneva.”

Olivier feels that being vegetarian once in a while is good for health. "I have made it compulsory for my children to eat vegetables. And once a week, it's only veg," he adds.

One of the trade secrets of Olivier is not over saucing any dish. “Anything over is a ‘no-no’. That was my mentor’s law. Because anything more than necessary overpowers the original. And over-saucy dishes never retain textures and original taste,” he reveals. Another one is using all that’s in the kitchen to create new extracts and essences. “That was my grandma’s secret,” Olivier admits. “She used everything – bones, stalks of vegetables – just about everything to create jus and other stuff that could be used either as condiments or as side dish or base or jus or consume or dressing…” Taking inspiration from his grandma, Olivier is working to create unique dishes.

I look forward to tasting the food curated by Chef Olivier Jean. Please stay tuned to know the details on Friday. That will help you plan your weekend dinner at the Vetro at The Oberoi, Mumbai.

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