The Life of a Chef :: Denis Herrera – Oslo, Norway

Appetibilis Q&A
:: Work and life stories, while sitting around a table with friends ::

Meet Chef Denis Herrera, my “Le Cordon Bleu Paris” classmate.
He has been kindly answering our questions on Work, Travel, Career Advice and some Up close and personal notes.

Hello Chef! Would you tell us a little bit about yourself

I’m from Mexico, from the state of Veracruz. Born and raised in the city of Orizaba. I’m a Mexican Chef in Norway.

Currently working for the company Gate Gourmet Norway, I represent Norway in the menu development Scandinavian Team, together with chefs from Sweden and Denmark.

on Career: Advice, Suggestions, Tips & Tricks

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What would you recommend to anyone who wishes to get into the same line of work?

I will recommend dedication and the will to learn on a daily basis from every person you have the opportunity to cross paths with; move forward and always be open minded.

To get ahead in business, better skills or connections?

To get ahead in the business is, from my point of view, a mix of several factors, it is of course to have the skill, however a skill can be learned if you have the will to and the connections will come to you as a result of the skill you´ll show. I will say the skills you have and the skills you are willing to learn are the keys to success.

3 must-have skills (or talents) to land your first job?

  • Precision
  • Organization
  • Communication

on Travel: Bites and Insights

Favourite location(s) and/or destination(s)

My favourite location for culinary discovery and diversity? I have been lucky enough to travel the world doing what I love most, it is a very difficult decision, however I will have to narrow it down to: Paris, Hong Kong and New Orleans.

When to go there (favourite season…)

  • Paris from my point of view is best during the winter;
  • Hong Kong at the beginning of spring, and
  • New Orleans during summer time.

What to do, (local colours, scents, music…)

  • Paris is the place where I grew up as a professional chef, some of the best restaurants are in Paris and some of the most talented chefs work there too. Learning about the language, and the whole culture around food and wine is something that can be done all year round.
  • Hong Kong is a fantastic place, the markets, the local cuisine, and the new ingredients coming out during that specific time of the year make it very special to visit.
  • New Orleans in the summer, of course the music, the food and music festivals and the local “creole” cuisine is just outstanding.

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What to taste?

  • In Paris the Michelin-starred restaurants are a must as well as the pastry shops around the city… the local boulangeries with small cakes and different types of bread that can be found all year round.
  • In Hong Kong the food in the street markets is just amazing, all the combinations and ingredients, noodle bars are outstanding.
  • New Orleans must is the po´boy sandwich and the seafood of the season.

Next trip?

My next trip will be to Siracusa in Sicily.

Up close and personal notes

Sweet or Savory ?

Definitely Savoury, (with a hint of sweet?).

When did you decide to become a Chef?

I decide to become a chef while I was on my last year at high school.

What’s been the happiest moment of your working life, so far?

I enjoy doing my job and having customers thank me for that is my most rewarding experience.

What’s the best mistake you ever made?

My best mistake? Once I order food for a full restaurant just to realize it was the wrong date, however that night it was a show going on at a local theater and we ended up with a full restaurant anyway and the food we order and produced was just enough for the night making it my best mistake ever.

From the left: Chef Vasily Greek, Chef Denis Herrera, Chef Alex Cooper and Chef Kriton-Minas Poulis – Paris, France @ Le Cordon Bleu 2004

Paris diary: best and worst moments

  • Best moments: School, people, the city, the food, the language.
  • Worst moments: At the beginning trying to adapt to the work environment at a Michelin-starred restaurant and the difficulty of learning a new language.

Childhood memories

Staying at my aunt´s place watching her making dinner and eating her cakes, traditions, presents and food at Christmas.

How would you describe yourself as a child?

As a child I would describe meself as picky and rather creative.

Who are you grateful to?

I’m grateful to my family that has always been supporting me no matter what.

What are you proudest of?

I am very proud of having been able to be in charge of a Michelin-starred kitchen.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned?

Humility, and never to forget your roots.

How would you like to be remembered?

I would like to be remembered as someone who loved his profession and as someone fair who always gave 110% at everything.

Which magic power would you like to have?

I would love to speak all the languages in the world.

Thank you Chef!


Profession Executive Chef / Consultant
Instagram @chefdh

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