Hilton London Bankside have appointed a new Executive Head Chef – Ollie Couillaud to direct the hotel’s esteemed 168-cover restaurant – OXBO Bankside. Ollie brings with him a wealth of knowledge from years spent in the catering industry. He intends to inject life and vivacity into the hotel’s menu.
Ollie will take the place of Chef Paul Bates, who is departing from Hilton London Bankside’s culinary team to fulfil the role of Executive Chef at The Grosvenor House. Ollie was born in Poitiers, France and studied at the Maison de la Formation in Poitiers before taking his Baccalaureate de Cuisine in 1988. His first cooking job involved an apprenticeship at Le Cheval Blanc in Vouillé – a family-run restaurant.
Ollie moved to London in 1992; he took up his first position as Chef de Partie with Philip Howard at The Square (then one Michelin star) from 1992-1993. For the years that followed, Ollie fulfilled several roles in prestigious restaurants including Interlude de Chavot (one Michelin star) and Chez Bruce (one Michelin star) in Wandsworth, London.
Ollie landed his first Head Chef role with the launch of La Trompette in Chiswick, west London, in 2001 – he remained there until 2005. Subsequently, Ollie moved to join Tom Aikens as Head Chef for the launch of Tom’s Kitchen in Chelsea, London, in 2006. After this time, Ollie decided to change the direction of his career and become a chef consultant; this prompted him to launch his own business – Sunshine Food Concepts – in early 2010. The business was designed to provide private chefs for dinners, cookery classes and tutored wine tastings. He continues to oversee this business today. From November 2015, Ollie joined Selfridges to run The Corner restaurant, where he remained until the present day.
This wealth of experience has provided Ollie with an indisputable confidence in the kitchen and a flair for dish creation. Ollie puts a huge emphasis on flavour when designing his plates; he is a bastion of simple and quality cooking. As a culinarian, he constantly strives to improve his dishes and create innovative taste combinations that diners will inevitably love.
Following London Hilton Bankside’s growing reputation for invention, General Manager James B. Clarke is now looking to the future and the imminent leadership of Chef Ollie. On the topic, James remarked: “As a hotel we are always looking at how we can offer our guests new experiences. We believe that our choice to appoint Ollie Couillaud to captain OXBO will help us to achieve that goal.
“The new appointment will allow the hotel’s restaurant to continue delivering bold, fresh and phenomenal flavours to its diners. Top-quality, locally sourced produce will remain a high priority to London Hilton Bankside’s menu,” he commented.