On Monday 16th July 2018 marks 50 years to the day Herbert Berger first stepped into the Kitchen as an apprentice at the Grand Hotel, Zell am See, Austria. He still reminisces walking down the corridor and seeing this incredibly large and busy kitchen. He was just 15 years of age and could barely even look into the stock pot! A lot has changed since then and his career has taken him to work in some of the best establishments in Switzerland, France, Jersey and the UK.
Herbert won his first Michelin star in 1979 and twice more at the Café Royal Grill room and then again at 1 Lombard Street. He has also gained the Red M from Michelin for the Mirabelle and Keats Restaurant. Herbert has done a fair amount of media work, celebrity chefs dinners, guest chef appearances, but has always believed in being in the kitchen looking after his team, the clients and the business. He dislikes celebrity for celebrity sake and disapproves strongly of some chef’s bad behaviour, but believes in running a civilised kitchen with better conditions and better pay in order to attract more people to this great industry.
He has had a fascinating career and has worked in some amazing places and met some great people along the way. This is something that he will always cherish.
He has seen many trends come and go. For him it highlights the importance that as a chef you must have a good classical foundation of cooking, excellent training and a good understanding of the basic cookery skills. This will prepare young chefs for a long and varied career.
Herbert has worked for some brilliant chefs including Michel Bourdin at the Connaught but to this day Herbert’s biggest influence is his mother’s cooking as everything came from the farm, garden, fields and forest; simple cooking, everything was used, lots of preserving and wonderful flavours which remain with him forever.
After so many years Herbert says he is very fortunate as he still loves the industry and loves cooking with a passion. Having his own business adds another dimension which he absolutely thrives in and enjoys.
Herbert has contributed to the training of many young chefs, some who have become very successful in their own right. He is a member of the Reunion des Gastronomes, the Academy of Culinary Arts, the World master chef society and others.
Herbert has received awards such as the Prix Pierre Tattinger, an Order of Excellence from the Reunion des Gastronomes and from the International wine and food society amongst others but the most important recognition has always been the one from his everyday clients and guests.