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From Michelin Stars to Mentorship: Thomas Bühner's Guidance for Hospitality Success

Thomas Bühner has made a significant mark in fine dining, notably during his tenure at La Vie in Osnabrück, Germany, where he earned three Michelin stars. His expertise combines traditional cooking methods with innovative techniques, focusing on "aroma cuisine" to highlight the complexity of flavours. Recognised as a leader in the field, Bühner's insights are invaluable for those hiring a chef.

In an exclusive piece for ChefHire, Bühner shares his rich experience and innovative approaches that influence the food industry. His advice is particularly useful for those looking to hire a chef who not only possesses exceptional skills but also has the ability to innovate and create memorable dining experiences.

Bühner emphasises the importance of balancing current dining trends with timeless cooking techniques, essential for a chef to remain at the industry's forefront. His dedication to aroma cuisine and understanding of flavours are crucial for hiring a chef capable of crafting unforgettable culinary experiences. For anyone involved in hiring a chef, Bühner's guidance offers a roadmap to finding talent that brings creativity, skill, and a deep understanding of gastronomy to the table.

Can you tell us about your current role?

I have been head chef and managing director for restaurant la vie, located in Osnabrueck, Germany, for 12 years. We have been awarded with three Michelin Stars and 19 Gault&Maillau points and have been also been a member of Relais& Châteaux. However, unfortunately the restaurant has closed its doors only a few weeks ago and will not be opened again. I am therefore deciding on my future right now, traveling a lot and meeting chefs and friends around the globe.

What has been some of the highlights of this position?

Besides serving guests from all over the world, some of them famous, some of them not, it has for sure been the traveling part that was most exciting for me. I have been to all continents and visited many countries to represent la vie to international foodies. I loved this a lot as it gave me the chance to dip into other cultures, meet many new friends and show the world, how exciting Germany is culinary wise.

Can you tell us a bit about your career before this current position?

I am a trained chef that worked in different restaurants over the years. However, my most important position was sous chef of Harald Wohlfahrt at the TraubeTonbach, three Michelin stars. After this job, I became a head chef in Dortmund and was awarded with two Michelin stars. I then started to take over restaurant la vie in 2006 and am happy to say that I was able to achieve my main life goal: Three Michelin stars. 

What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry at the moment?

The challenge to find employees (kitchen and service) as well as product quality – you have more and more products and more variety but the quality does not necessarily increase in my opinion.

What do you see as a possible solution to the growing shortage of chefs?

More money, more appreciation and better working times would definitely help.

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