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Solving Industry Challenges: Julien Othomene's Vision for Hospitality

Updated: 4 days ago

Julien Othomene's Vision for Hospitality

Julien Othomene has become a notable figure in the hospitality industry, particularly in desserts, illustrating the impact of thoughtful chef recruitment. His career started at the Chalet de la Forêt as a pastry clerk before advancing under the mentorship of the pastry chef at Epicure at Hotel Bristol in Paris. Returning to the Chalet as Pastry Chef, Othomene brings innovative ideas that promise to enhance the dining experience, reflecting his growth and the value of hiring chefs with a forward-looking approach. Starting at the Chalet de la Forêt, Othomene's role evolved significantly after his experience at Epicure, where he gained valuable skills and insights. As the Pastry Chef at the Chalet, Othomene now offers new dessert options that aim to delight guests and inspire the industry. His approach demonstrates the benefits of hiring chefs who bring fresh perspectives and creativity to their work.

Othomene's transition from a pastry clerk to a leading Pastry Chef underscores the need for a hiring strategy that prioritises potential for innovation and development. His story shows how strategic choices in recruitment can lead to notable advancements in the hospitality field. Othomene's ongoing contributions to the industry serve as a case study on the importance of hiring chefs who are dedicated to pushing boundaries and striving for excellence. His path offers a reminder that the success of a hospitality business is closely linked to its approach to recognising and nurturing talent.

Can you tell us about your current role ?

I am actually Pastry Chef at « Le Chalet de la Forêt », a two michelin stars restaurant in

Brussels, Belgium .

What has been some of the highlights of this position ?

Always looking for the best way to sublime a product. Working with seasonal and local products. Being able to transmit my passion everyday to my team. Elaborating new dishes close to nature. Even though we are in the city, i can always refresh my mind in the forest (Bois de la Cambre) next to the restaurant.

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

I wasn't always in the pastry. I started cooking at the age of 14years old, by watching and helping my mother and grandmother in the kitchen. They gave me the passion of cooking. I fell in love with the atmosphere and the transmition of love from a person to a dish.

I did 3 years of « savoury » before switching to pastry. I was 16 by then and the only idea I had in mind was to learn the most, the fastest. I spent two years at « Le Castellas » in south of France with the chef Jerôme Nutile (MOF « Meilleur Ouvrier de France »), before starting at « Le Chalet de la Forêt », and then « Le Bristol » in Paris with Laurent Janin. A while after, I recieved a call from Pascal Devalkenneer (Le Chalet de la Forêt**) telling me that he was looking for a Pastry chef. That was an offer I couldn't refuse. So I came back to Belgium.

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

For me, the biggest challenge is to keep working with the same ingredients each season but going deeper and further with the creation. Finding always a new way to surprise the customer. Think of the impossible and making it possible !

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

We are in a world where you can get anything you want whenever you want (with social media, internet, etc.). So I believe the younger generation lose patience and want to achieve the greatest position, the faster the better. But I believe they are jumping steps. It's a tough job, long hours, but if you do it with passion you lose track of time. Being a chef is not easy, it takes years, but its worth the wait !

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