A guide to Germany's three starred chefs: Thomas Bühner

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th November 2014
In the run up to the release of this year’s German Michelin guide, we take a closer look at Germany’s 3 Michelin star restaurants and chefs.  LaVie 2013Thomas Bühner, head chef at the three Michelin starred La Vie in Osnabrück in the north west of Germany, is one of Germany’s best chefs. Thomas was born in 1962 in Riesenbeck and didn’t know he wanted to become a chef until he did an aptitude test at the employment office, which told him he should become a baker, chef or farmer. He then decided to do a cooking apprenticeship at the Schweizer Haus in Paderborn. After graduating, he worked under Günter Scherrer at the Hilton in Düsseldorf and under Heinz Wehmann at the Landhuas Scherrer in Hamburg. In 1988, he cooked at Restaurant Jörg Müller on the isle of Sylt and in 1989 at the Schwarzwaldstube under renowned Harald Wohlfahrt. There, he learned the importance of discipline and was inspired by Wohlfahrt’s calm attitude and the warmth he showed towards his team. From 1991 until 2006 Thomas was head chef at the Restaurant La Table in Dortmund, where he gained his first two Michelin stars. He was awarded “Rising Star of the Year” in 2001 and five years later “Chef of the Year” by Gault & Millau. In April 2006, Thomas and his wife Thayarni Kanagaratnam took over the La Vie in Osnabrück. La Vie gained two Michelin stars only six months after Thomas took over the restaurant, and received its third one in 2011. In 2009, Thomas was rewarded with the title of Relais & Châteaux “Grand Chef” and the La Vie became a member of “Les Grandes Tables du Mondes” (The Great Tables of the World) in 2010. With this accolade, Thomas joined the elite club of only a few luxury restaurants and hotels from around the world that can call themselves members. Thomas’ original cuisine is avant-garde and Dinner_la_vie_4121021aromatic. It concentrates on the best quality produce, the highest standard of preparation and daring flavour combinations. He uses modern methods such as gentle vacuum and low-temperature cooking to preserve the natural flavours of the produce he uses. His dishes look like pieces of art and sometimes you might not know what it is on your plate – these surprises make his cuisine so special. “Food has to arouse emotions,” Thomas says. One of his signature dishes is the interesting “Pure Venison”, in which the meat is served with a pure venison jus. Another speciality is the “Lamb from front to back”, where neck, shoulder, back, liver and tail of the lamb are served with vegetables and herbs, which lambs eat in the wild. If he has friends over at his home he doesn’t cook. “Cooking is work for me,” Thomas says, so his wife becomes the head chef. “She can relax while she cooks.” Kanagaratnam creates Tamil, south Indian dishes and “is an excellent cook”, he insists. One of Thomas’ culinary dreams is to eat a truly perfect asparagus – something he has yet to experience. Thomas’ secret for a successful restaurant is love and passion. “Because if you really love what you do, it will be very good.” By Vera Kleinken Look out for our editorial on Friday when we ask the question: “Is German cuisine the best kept secret?”

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th November 2014

A guide to Germany's three starred chefs: Thomas Bühner