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Michelin awarded chef celebrates 50 years in the kitchen

Fifty years ago, this 16 July, Herbert Berger first stepped into the kitchen as an apprentice at the Grand Hotel, Zell am See, Austria. 

The multi-time Michelin awarded chef says he still reminisces walking down the corridor and seeing an incredibly large and busy kitchen. He was just 15 years old and could barely even look into the stockpot, he remembers.

Since then much has changed, of course, and his career has taken him to work in some of the best establishments in Switzerland, France, Jersey and the UK. 

Berger won his first Michelin star in 1979 and twice more at the Café Royal Grill room in Piccadilly, London, and then again at 1 Lombard Street in Bank, City of London. He has also gained the Red M from Michelin for the Mirabelle in Mayfair and Keats Restaurant in Romsey UK. 

When asked what makes a great chef, Berger cites a good classical foundation of cooking, excellent training and a good understanding of basic cookery skills.  

During his illustrious career Berger has worked for outstanding chefs, including Michel Bourdin at the Connaught, but says his 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". 

Berger runs his own business at events venue Innholders Hall in the City of London and trains many young chefs. Several have gone on to become very successful in their own right.

Berger is also a member of the Reunion des Gastronomes, the Academy of Culinary Arts, and the World Master Chef Society.