Some people are born with a silver spoons in their mouths, others with a white double-breasted jacket. The career of Oliver Glowig, among the most renowned and competent Chef of the international scene, is a kind of predestination.
“ When I was a child, my parents took me out to eat, we used to have dinner in prestigious restaurants. Even then, I was fascinated by this world.
Oliver attended the hotel school in Düsseldorf, “here it began my passion for cooking”. After the military service, he moved to Munich in the French restaurant of Otto Koch, Le Gourmet, one Michelin star.
“I learned French techniques applied to traditional Bavarian cuisine.”
The fist culinary contrasts that will influence Oliver’s path.
“Then I worked for a year as a chef de partie at the restaurant Acquerello (in Munich), where it started my curiosity for Italian cooking. But I was interested to know the true Italian cuisine and not the one that was in Germany.”
Then, in ’96, thanks to Gualtiero Marchesi, I arrived at the Quisisana (historic and iconic grand hotel of the island). During the winter I was in Erbusco with Marchesi, I learned so much about Italian cooking and about the importance of raw materials.
In Capri Oliver consecrated his success, but above all, he found the love: “My wife Paola is caprese, I fell in love at the same time with her and the island .” When I ask him to name people crucial for his career Paola comes first, “she stands by me all the time and respects my profession despite its crazy rhythms: I often travel abroad, I work almost every evening, bank holidays included.
To follow: Otto Koch – “he linked French techniques with traditional Bavarian cuisine”.
Gualtiero Marchesi – “a superb chef , with a revolutionary philosophy.”
Ermanno Zanini – “the greatest manager I’ve ever met in my career. “ He says, without hesitation.
But let’s step back to Oliver’ life: in ’98 married Paola then left the Quisisana and moved to Munich at the restaurant Acquarello, where he did his first experience as a Chef. The 2000 is a lucky year: “I got my first Michelin star and my daughter Gloria was born,” he reminds with emotion.
“The following year I went back to Capri with Paola for personal reasons and I started working in a small restaurant, the Biberius. Then I was proposed to be the Chef at L’Olivo, Capri Palace. Again one Michelin star in 2004 and the second star in 2007.
During these three years, Oliver has the opportunity to celebrate the best of our Mediterranean flavors.
Typical Capri recipes you’ve revisited and made famous to the Michelin clients?
“Ravioli capresi. I tried to change them at the beginning. Eventually, I realized that the original ones are the best. Ravioli are worldwide in my menus , I’m proud to present them in the most traditional way .
And then, to complete every meal, potato doughnuts , learned by my mother-in-law Anna. They are in Toronto, Bahrain, Cairo and Saas-Fee menus. The biggest success!
My relationship with the island is very deep, I’d say total. I love nature, its wild herbs, sea … I could go on endlessy .. I prefer it in the spring or autumn, when it is less crowded and even beaches are more enjoyable.
A place I’m particulary fond of is Bagni di Tiberio. The restaurant there is very good.
Also, I find very good Tonino, at Piazzetta delle Noci ( Nord-East side of the Island).”
No coincidence, two areas of Capri that Imperator Tiberio liked most.
From 2010 until a few weeks ago Oliver was the Executive Chef at Aldrovandi Palace, where he ran a restaurant that bore his name. “An important achievement. Shortly after the opening, I immediately regained two Michelin star.” The first case in Italy.
“Now I work as consultant at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto, Bahrain, in Cairo and at La Capra in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. My aim is to bring the true Italian cuisine around the world. Ravioli caprese are always part of my menus!
Most of my dishes come from tradition.”
In Campania the so called “married soup”, or the baba etc.
In Rome, cheese and pepper (but with sea urchins).
“Good cuisine is always based on dishes that have a story to tell.. ”
Has the target of Michelin restaurants changed over the years? “Yes, but it is still very high, considering the prices. I also see young people begin to appreciate good food. Perhaps thanks to the TV, and its various Masterchef .. personally I am a bit contrary to these reality shows. They do not sell to the public the truth. They just try to capture attention, making everything a show.”
Staff: how do you choose your brigade?
“I do not need a great CV. Essential is the desire to work and learn. The rest comes by itself. I saw guys with no experience that are now chef in starred restaurants. I am very proud of my “children”. He used exactly this word, I swear.”
The new consultants abroad. Tell us how you can decline your kitchen, based on careful research of raw material quality, with foreign products and different flavors?
“When I cannot find the raw materials that I like I do import them from Italy: Pasta, olive oil, tomatoes etc. I try to contaminate these tastes with local products. For example, making a fish in crazy water with the Hamour , in Bahrain, (similar to our stone bass), I find it interesting.
The Italian regions that have the most significant influence on your training are Campania that offered you the raw material of traditional cuisine, and Lazio, the fifth quarter kitchen, you’ve always loved. But there is one ingredient other Chefs often envy , especially to the Italian ones, it is often said that that they”put their heart into their jobs”. What does it mean for you “mettere il cuore”?
“Joy of cooking. Not just stay in the kitchen, for me it is a constant delight, a sort of rapture: it all starts from product selection, continues with the creation of the dish, and ends when the customers at the end of evening thank me for having eaten well. It ‘a huge treat when they tell me that they liked my cuisine and also the service.
Create a dish from a high-quality product is for me the greatest satisfaction.”
Maintain high standards of starry restaurant is essential, how can you succeed in all your challenge?” It’s increasingly important to recognize what you find in your dish. The flavor and raw materials count more than anything else. I don’t mind about excessive decorations and I don’t like to have a dining room “heavy” and stiff . I prefer more informal waiters, without forgetting their professionalism, of course. What matters it’s the food, not having a perfectly ironed tablecloth. Better not having it at all as happens in many restaurants in the world like London, Berlin, NY. Then there is a increasingly predominant trend of healthy cuisine. Seasonal vegetables and high quality meat and not farmed fish or from organic farming. I think about the meat of Chef Paolo Parisi.
I’m not a trend person.
Tradition always wins, with some small and wise retouching … even better.”