Despite Chef Oliver Glowig’s German heritage and upbringing, it is Italian cuisine that has captured his imagination and passion in the kitchen, gaining him numerous Michelin stars. This is a love that has been nurtured since childhood, when he took his first steps towards a culinary career alongside his father, and led him from Munich, Germany to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and onto Rome.
His biggest accolade yet has been winning two Michelin stars for his own restaurant, Aldrovandi Villa Borghese, just eight months after opening – a feat that many other big name chefs should rightly covet. Now, he brings his determination and expertise to the kitchens of Primavera, at our very own Ritz-Carlton, to reinvent and reinvigorate the concept as a ‘trattoria moderna’ (or modern tavern). We couldn’t wait to find out what he has in store for our discerning palates...
How did you originally get involved with The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa on this project?
I worked with Mr Christian Zandonella, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, in the past. This is when he first got to know my cuisine and my way of working. When Mr Zandonella moved to [the hotel], he asked me for a hand to give a twist to Primavera restaurant. Our objective is not to create a fine dining, two-star Michelin restaurant. Instead, our goal is to create a ‘Trattoria Moderna’ introducing traditional Italian cuisine using high quality products. We use local products when possible, like fish or vegetables, and we also have Italian imported products like pasta or olive oil.
How do you cater to the varying tastes in the Bahrain market?
I had the chance to visit Bahrain on a few occasions. During my visits, I sighted different markets. The fish market and the vegetable market, among others. The local fish is of course unique to what can be found across Italy, but they share the same natural qualities – fresh and tasty. Our interest is to combine local products with the Italian ones.
How and why did you become a chef initially?
I used to go often out for dinner with my parents. I liked the restaurant ambience and I was very curious of what was behind the stage, in the kitchen. So I asked to do an internship and I liked it from the beginning. I decided then to learn how to be a chef.
What’s your management style when you’re running the kitchen?
In the kitchen you need discipline and accuracy. During the service each person is involved in absolute concentration but during preparation, you can also play around. It has to be a pleasure to cook as our profession is very hard. We spend many hours in the kitchen for preparation and cooking. Who doesn’t do this job with pleasure cannot see good results. Many of my teams have worked with me for years and I like to give them responsibilities. It is very important to grow individual talents and to recognise them. In this sense, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa reflects the same service values and philosophy.
How did it feel when you were awarded that first Michelin star?
Great satisfaction. The ‘stars’ are just there to confirm our daily good work. However, my best satisfaction remains when, at the end of the night, I leave the kitchen to meet my customers and hear they are all happy and pleased with their experience. The idea behind Primavera Trattoria Moderna is the same, to nourish guests with smiles and happiness.
When it comes to Italian cooking, what top tips would you give an amateur home cook trying to recreate some of their favourite and classic dishes?
The most important thing is the quality of the product – using fresh herbs instead of dry ones. We can create good dishes with very good products. Then you need to add creativity and experience. The kitchen doesn’t have limits. You keep on learning and you never stop. Every person needs to have their own experiences.
What would you say your secret to becoming a successful chef is?
A person needs to experience different cuisines, master chefs and cultures. Each person needs to create their own style and philosophy. You should never quit. There is always something new to learn and to discover.
Here’s a sampling of the dishes that adorn the new menu (also see droolworthy images to the left)...
Involtino di hammour e verdure marinate con crema di patate al limone
Hammour with marinated vegetables and lemon potato cream (BD5)
Insalata di rucola con lamponi e gorgonzola
Rucola salad with raspberry, hazelnut and gorgonzola (BD5)
Risotto al pomodoro con burrata achiughe
Tomato risotto with burrata and anchovies (BD7.5)
Scialatielli ai frutti di mare
Seafood scialatielli pasta with clams and mussels (BD8)
Triglie in tempura con verdure marinate e maionese allo zafferano
Red mullet tempura with marinated vegetables and saffron mayonnaise (BD7)
Filetto di manzo alla ‘Rossini’, foie gras, spinaci, pinoli e patatine al tartufo
Beef fillet, foie gras, spinach, pine nuts and truffle fries (BD22)
Spuma di caprino con sorbetto di yoghurt e fragole
Goat cheese foam with yoghurt sorbet and strawberry (BD4.5)