Sebastian Olma – Sketch Restaurant in Warsaw

Sebastian Olma is one of the most talented chefs of the young generation. Sebastian comes from Bielsko-Biała. His most significant workplace was Tom Aikens’ restaurant 1* – the icon of British cuisine. In 2014 he came back to Poland to take part in and win TOP CHEF – the most popular culinary TV show. Since September 2016 he has been chef at restaurant Sketch in Warsaw.

What does your day look like?

My day starts with a cup of coffee 🙂 Unfortunately, I cannot function without it in the morning. Recently I’ve had a lot to catch up with. It’s connected with what’s going on around me and with my participation, apart from my work at Sketch, and I’m trying to catch up on it slowly. Unfortunately, I have hadlittle time to spend the afternoons at home with my girls as I’m usually at work from about 10.00, and I get back late,after they’re asleep.

What was the first dish you prepared as chef?

As an independent chef, I think it was beef carpaccio. The meat had already been prepared so I could work with it, and it was hard to spoil because it was frozen…

Who is your role model?

I think that Tom Aikens stamped the greatest influence on me. As a person, and as an outstanding, and what’s most important, very specific chef. It’s hard to talk about it, one has to experience it!!!

Is there some place on earth where you’d like to work?

Definitely not. I think I could work in most places. But to be honest, I’ve never thought about it 🙂

Do you cook at home?

Whenever I’m at home and I have time, I always try to cook what my fiancée wants. Even if it requires more time, I just go to the shop, buy the products, and then I prepare the dish. Olga is a young mother now and she is on a special diet so I cannot prepare just anything 🙂

What would you prepare for me in 10 minutes?

Beef tartare with nut mayonnaise of course, after your last review!!!

What would be your final meal in life?

Definitely the dessert I ate at Inaki Aizpitare’s restaurant in Paris: yolk, salty caramel and white truffle. This one dish has been on my mind since I tried cooking consciously!

What tastes are you most faithful to?

As natural as possible. As for me, meat should always be meat, and not “powder” or any other shit. Fish should be fish, it should be tender meat and have a crispy crust, and a vegetable should be crispy, that is well boiled.

What do you think about current trends in gastronomy?

I must tell you that gastronomy is moving on so quickly that I sometimes don’t keep up with all these new trends 🙂 Going into casual style is visible, e.g. tables without tablecloths and similar changes to be more guest-friendly. We will see which of them will stay for a longer time, and which ones will go down in history, like for example the erstwhile trend for molecular cuisine, and we all know it didn’t last long.

What was the most important moment in your career?

I think that winning Top Chef was the most important to me. I became a famous and well recognised young cook, and I became a chef only later in Warsaw. You know, there are lots of cooks and chefs x years older than me, and they won’t achieve the image that this programme gave me.

Would you like your children to follow your example?

I think gastronomy is a hard way to earn a living. At this level, and with so much work I have to put into it (I don’t mean only being chef at Sketch), I don’t know if they would feel like doing it 🙂

Is there a private life? What does it look like?

Not at this level. I’m a chef who has to work more than 15 days in a month, I often bring my work home and work at nights, e.g. writing interviews 🙂 Now I’m trying to spend more time with my daughter and fiancée but I know it’s still too little…

What was the funniest situation in the kitchen?

Coke poured into demi-glace instead of Madeira, yet it was a comic action. You can’t have drinks in plain sight when serving customers so a wise Pole Olma came up with the idea of having Coke in a metal gastronorm in our section, and my other friend made a mistake and poured the Coke instead of wine to the demi-glace, Coke reduced nicely so he didn’t notice that anything was wrong 🙂

What pieces of advice do you have for young cooks?

One short piece of advice, start working your ass off and that’s it, the rest will follow!

The most wonderful cuisine in the world. In what country do you think it is?

In Poland, without a doubt. Products, herbs, meats are countless. Every day you can discover something new, something interesting…

Your Instagram photos are amazing. Do you take them on your own? Do you need a lot of time for that?

I usually take them on my own, I take my mobile and I just take photos. I also look at lots of photos and maybe thanks to this I try to present a given dish or colours on the plate in a better way, I’m learning all the time!

What memories do you have about the Polish edition of Top Chef?

Very good ones, and I thank everyone who somehow contributed to it! As we all know, if not for this programme, I’d probably still be abroad and no one would have even heard of me. But thanks to this programme I got the chance to shine and I’m still making use of it!

What are the advantages of winning the programme?

Someone trusted me and gave me the opportunity to run the restaurant and show that I can achieve success.

You worked with Thomas Aikens. What memories do you have? Was he in the kitchen at all?

Super time! Tom was on site practically all the time, which is why I could observe him in many situations in the kitchen, andalso outside it. Due to the fact that he’s a very demanding chef, I could learn a lot of things.

Thank you!

photo: Sebastian Olma, Sketch

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