Chef Boudot joined Le Cordon Bleu Paris team of Chef Instructors in 2013. We wanted to find out a bit more about him.
Chef Olivier Boudot interview
Where did your passion for pastry, and your desire to make a career out of it, come from?
When I was young, I often used to help one of my uncles, who owned a bakery/pastry boutique, and I knew almost immediately that this was what I wanted to do for a living. I went on to study pastry and took my pastry “Certificat d’Aptitude Professionnelle (CAP)” when I was 15 years old. However, during my apprenticeship I also had to focus on boulangerie. This proved to be a revelation, allowing me to discover my passion for this trade. Following my apprenticeship, I was chosen as one of the best apprentices in the region, which gave me the opportunity to take part in the “Meilleur Apprenti de France” competition.
Is there a chef who inspired you during your career?
A number of Chefs have inspired me throughout my career. I have been extremely fortunate and worked with exceptional chefs, a number of whom have been awarded the title of One of the Best Craftsmen in France (Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France - MOF) including Jacques Souilhat and Louis Sauvestre. These two chefs helped me to progress and evolve.
I left the Auvergne when I started working and joined the team at the first Eric Kayser bakery in Paris. My time there proved to be a real turning point: It was a fast-paced working environment and I progressed at lightning speed, becoming Adjoint-chef after just 8 months and chef after 18 months. Working for Eric Kayser also gave me the opportunity to travel and give demonstrations to promote “Fermentolevain”, a product which is based on a fermentation technique for producing liquid leaven. This experience also introduced me to the media world and gave me the opportunity to work on 100% pain, a book which won “gastronomique européen” 1st prize.
You have traveled during your career; to Korea, Switzerland, and Miami… Can you tell us how beneficial this was to you?
Traveling was extremely culturally enriching. I was taken out of my comfort zone and this enabled me to learn to adapt more easily to new situations and to be at ease with others. It also taught me a great deal about myself and how to successfully channel my energy.
What are the main qualities needed in order to become a good chef?
To be a good chef, you must love your job but that alone is not enough… You must be a good teacher, listener and have good people skills. It is also essential to keep your feet firmly on the ground!
What advice would you give to somebody who is thinking of becoming a chef?
Try to remain passionate about what you are doing and don’t shirk your responsibilities. Personally speaking, traveling and working in International companies has helped me to keep a cool head and not to forget my roots. The key to being able to pass your knowledge on to others is keeping your feet firmly on the ground and listening.
What is your favorite dish?
I really enjoy authentic and traditional dishes such as beef stew in red wine, with bacon, onions and mushrooms, or veal stew.
What about desserts?
If I had to choose, I would go for a simple dessert such as tart Tatin or another type of apple tart.
Thank you for taking the time to give us this interview chef!