THE CHEF SERIES: Featuring Chef Oliver Lange, Zuma Restaurant Group

Featuring Chef Oliver Lange, Zuma Restaurant Group:

Chef Oliver Lange was born in Berlin where he developed a passion for cooking at a young age. After studying the art of Japanese cuisine, he started honing his sushi skill set at Micro and Silk Restaurants in the Cocoon Club in Frankfurt Germany. During his tenure he collaborated to earn a Michelin star for the restaurant, “Silk”. In 2009, after winning the German reality cooking show, “Restaurant sucht Chef”, Mr. Lange opened his temporary restaurant in Munich “Kokoro by Ollysan” to critical acclaim, receiving 14 Gault Millau points. In 2010, he took up permanent residence at Zenzakan, Pan-Asian Supperclub in Frankfurt, where his work won the title of ‘best innovative and creative sushi’ in Germany by Guide Michelin 2011.

With his own catering and hospitality company, “Kokoro”, Oliver garnered critical acclaim throughout Europe and the Americas, collaborating with top hospitality groups and private clients to produce unique premium food concepts. Oliver moved to London in 2013 to open the much-anticipated Serpentine Sackler Gallery restaurant, “The Magazine”, designed by the late Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Zaha Hadid.

Oliver joined Zuma London in January 2015, being named Head Chef in April of the same year. He took over as Executive Chef of Zuma New York in September 2015. It was a natural next step for Oliver to collaborate with Zuma, as he and founder Rainer Becker share the same passion for Japanese contemporary cuisine. His work is driven by a continuous search for new inspiration, creativity, team work and ‘Kokoro’ (Japanese for the heart, mind, and spirit).

What's cooking?
(like literally, right now) :-)

We can't wait for the Australian black winter truffle to arrive.

What do you love most about being a chef?

I love watching my chefs as they are inspired, creating new dishes. I also thrive from the reaction from guests when our food becomes the highlight of their dining experience.

Tell us about your first truffle experience. Did you love it or hate it?

Early in my career, I remember the first time a truffle supplier brought a box of white truffles in the kitchen from the great smell. I immediately wanted to know what it was.

What is your favorite way to use fresh truffles?

I really enjoy using fresh black truffle grated on a simple pasta.

We all know each chef has their preference and style when it comes to picking out their truffles. What qualities do you look for in truffles?

I look for firm, golf ball sized truffles, with a chocolate scent.

What is your go-to truffle product? And how do you use it?

Truffle pate, I love putting it on almost everything while enjoying at home.

What is the best truffle dish you’ve ever made?

There is no best, they all have their own unique qualities, but I really like toro tartare with caviar and fresh black truffles.

If you’re missing your truffle slicer in the kitchen, what tool do you grab to serve truffles next?

Microplane is my go-to.

Have you ever had a truffle cocktail? If so, what did you like about it?

No I have not however great idea and we will work on it.

What’s your favorite late night or fast food? Could one of our truffle products make it even better?

Fried chicken sandwich but I have yet to try it with truffle.

Who inspires your cooking?

I get inspired as I go through life, it could be walking through new areas, speaking with people, being inspired by every day situations.

What food trend has blown your mind recently?

Watching the chefs transform dishes that were typically never available to be ordered take away into great presentations to be enjoyed home and how our industry utilized social media to promote and educate the guests on the items.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen from one of your dishes being seen on Instagram?

When dishes get re-posted many times and go viral it is motivating.

If you had to make a truffle dish for a 5-year old what would it be? 

Homemade pasta with fresh shaved black truffles.

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