by Regine Schneider
„Thomas Bühner has been one of Germany’s top chefs for over 20 years. Born to a housewife and commercial clerk in 1962 in Riesenbeck, he first encountered catering at his grandparents’ establishment. Here, guests were greeted with a slice of fresh pain gris with butter and Westphalian ham, and the clattering in the kitchen and the hubbub from the pub acted as a backdrop at bedtime, late in the evening. All the same, young Thomas Bühner was unsure for a while which career path to pursue after leaving school. His twin brother turned to carpentry, but an aptitude test at the job centre suggested he should train to become a chef, baker or farmer. Bühner opted for the profession of chef, announcing to his parents: ‘Well, if I’m going to be a chef, then at least I want to be a good one’ – and he has kept his word to this day.
Bühner trained at Schweizer Haus in Paderborn. This was followed by stints with Günter Scherrer at the Hilton in Düsseldorf, at Landhaus Scherrer in Hamburg, Restaurant Grand Cru in Lippstadt and Restaurant Jörg Müller in Westerland on Sylt.
In 1989, Bühner became Harald Wohlfahrt’s chef de partie at the Schwarzwaldstube in Baiersbronn. This was one of the most important stages in his career owing to his fascination with Wohlfahrt’s discipline and consistency – indispensable assets in his profession – and, above all, the down-to-earthness and benevolence the patron practised vis-à-vis his employees day in, day out. The ideal prerequisites for assuming the position of Head Chef at the La Table restaurant in Dortmund in 1991. Five years later, he was awarded his first Michelin star, followed by a second in 1998.
Gault Millau voted Bühner ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in 2001 and ‘Chef of the Year’ just five years later.
Thomas Bühner has been running the la vie restaurant in Osnabrück since April 2006. He has been a ‘Grand Chef’ with Relais & Chateaux since 2009. Moreover, la vie has been a member of ‘Les Grandes Tables du Monde’ since early 2010. The restaurant has been awarded 19 Gault Millau points and three Michelin stars, as well as top grades in all other German restaurant guides.”
Berlin, summer 2016