Olivier Briault, The Edgbaston

The Staff Canteen

Olivier Briault discusses his role as Head Chef at The Edgbaston and his own inspirations with regards to pursuing a career as a Chef.

Name: Olivier Briault

Place of work: The Edgbaston

Follow Adam on Twitter: @Briaultolivier

Role: Head Chef

Bio: French born Olivier Briault was surrounded by food from a very young age (both his father and grandfather are pastry chefs). Following in his family's footsteps Olivier completed a diploma in patisserie and moved to Paris to get his career off the ground. Prior to his current role at The Edgbaston, Olivier was the pastry chef at the Michelin starred, Simpsons Restaurant based in Birmingham. Olivier has been a pastry chef for over 10 years.

Chef Skills

Olivier Briault takes us through his personal experiences whilst being in the Culinary Industry. These key skills that young Chefs and industry professionals learn as part of their basic training.

How long have you been in this role?

Almost two years

What is your main role?

My main role is to create new recipes, to innovate, to use the best ingredients and to make the most amazing afternoon tea for our clients.

Who are the key chefs and restaurants that someone should be speaking to and trying to gain experience with?

Before joining The Edgbaston I worked for Simpsons Restaurant where I gained invaluable experience. I particularly loved working with Luke Tipping and his team because they put their heart and soul into everything they do. So I would definitely say that someone looking for experience should be knocking on their door.

How long have you been in your current role?

Almost two years.

How did you get into the industry?

I completed a diploma in patisserie, chocolate making, confectionary and ice cream at CFA in Normandy. I then moved to Paris to start my career where I worked for a number of Patisserie shops to perfect my skills. I have been working as head pastry chef for over 10 years now.

Who/what inspired you to start cooking?

I am a third generation French pastry chef. I grew up surrounded by delicious classic French pastry in the tradition carried on by my parents and grandparents for sixty years. My passion for the art of pastry comes from my family, my grandfather and then my father.

What advice would you give to aspiring chefs?

There are many areas of pastry to learn about and master to become a pastry chef such as chocolate, ice cream, pastry etc. the most important thing is to understand that you cannot become a very good pastry chef overnight. You need to work hard and you need experience. So when aspiring pastry chefs start, they need to listen to the chefs they are learning from and they need to be prepared to work long hours. Finally, they need a variety of experience, so they should not be scared about changing their place of work every so often to learn different ways of working.

What are your (five) top tips for someone looking to start a career within the hospitality sector?

1- Get the relevant qualifications
2-Be curious, find a mentor and continue learning
3-Stay positive and calm under pressure
5-Be driven and be prepared to work long hours

What do you enjoy the most about your job?

I particularly enjoy the patisserie side of creating new afternoon tea menus for guests. Researching new flavors and combinations to make something unique for our guests, taking dessert menus to new heights, it is what gets me out of bed in the morning! What I love most is to make people happy with my creations and the look on someone’s face when they take their first bite into an item on my afternoon tea menu, it is priceless!

What are you looking out for on a CV or in an interview if someone was applying to work with you?

On the CV I look at their experience, where they have worked before, how long they have worked with an employer. When someone is invited to attend an interview I am interested in their behavior, their enthusiasm, what questions they ask. Someone who is very interested in the role should be curious and ask lots of questions.

If you could go back and tell yourself one piece of advice, knowing what you know now, what would it be?

I don’t regret anything, if I could say something to my younger self it would be, continue what you are doing, put your mind and soul into what you are passionate about and you will be great!

If you could go back and do anything differently, would you?


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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 23rd June 2017

Olivier Briault, The Edgbaston