Thomas Bühner has been one of Germany’s top-ranking chefs for more than 20 years. Born in Riesenbeck in 1962, the son of a housewife and a commercial employee, he gained his first catering experience at his grand-parents’ establishment: here guests were always 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. But all the same, young Thomas Bühner for a long time had no clear idea about what he wanted to do when he left school. Whilst his twin brother turned to carpentry, an aptitude test at the job centre provided clarity for him: he had the choice of becoming a chef, a baker or a farmer. He decided to become a chef, and even back then, announced to his parents: “So 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, Landhaus Scherrer in Hamburg, restaurant Grand Cru in Lippstadt and Restaurant Jörg Müller in Westerland on Sylt. In 1989, Bühner then became Harald Wohlfahrt’s Chef de Partie at the Schwarzwaldstube in Baiersbronn. This was one of the most important stages of his career. After all, he was fascinated by Wohlfahrt’s discipline and consistency – indispensable assets in his vocation – and, above all, the down-to-earthness and benevolence the patron showed his employees day in, day out. The ideal prerequisites for taking on the position of Head Chef at the restaurant La Table 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.
Together with restaurant manager Thayarni Kanagaratnam, Thomas Bühner has been running the restaurant la vie in Osnabrück since April 2006. In 2009, Thomas Bühner became a “Grand Chef” with Relais & Chateaux. In addition, 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.