Featured Foodie: Olivier Reginensi

Chef Olivier Reginensi of Maison Kayser

Chef Olivier Reginensi of Maison Kayser

If you don’t believe that bread makes the world go round, just ask Maison Kayser---the international empire of patisseries, bakeries and cafés created by master baker Eric Kayser. There are more than 80 of them around the world, providing daily doughy love to lucky citizens of cities like Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Beirut, Athens, and, as of November, New York City, the first to open in the U.S.A.

And because Maison Kayser is big, and everything in New York is big, they’ve asked one of the biggest chefs around, Olivier Reginensi, to join the team and create menus of French bistro standard for their  4,000 square foot space on the Upper East Side.

"Each location uses the same process that has made Eric Kayser a world-renowned baker, which entails handcrafting the bread using quality ingredients and passion," said Reginensi.

His own passion earned him a career in the kitchens of a few culinary rock stars and I think it’s safe to say he, himself, counts among them; the upper crust of chefs---if you’ll permit the bread pun.

Classically trained in Provence, Reginensi fell in love with cooking while working in his uncle's brasserie in the southern French town of Carry-le-Rouet, but he honed his craft in some of the world’s best restaurants including Michelin-starred Abbaye de Sainte Croix and two Michelin star L’Escale in France. In New York, Reginensi worked with iconic chef Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, with Daniel Boulud at Daniel, and as head chef at Le Cirque. Reginensi now brings his sophisticated skill set to the Maison Kayser kitchen.

“I was drawn to the fact that Maison Kayser is found in many diverse cities around the world yet does not compromise on quality and freshness,” he said. “Maison Kayser’s bread and pastries are made with the utmost quality and technique, and I wanted to create a simple yet delectable menu that enhances the amazing bread selection.”

You can bet your buttery buns that Maison Kayser (and anyone fortunate enough to live near the exquisite almond croissants) know they are lucky to have him.

You might even say Reginensi’s arrival is the best thing to happen to them since...

Well, you get the idea.

The Foodie 5

1. What is your favorite food memory from childhood?

French baguette, butter, and home made apricot jam.

2. You’re moving to a new kitchen in 5 minutes and can only take one gadget along with you. What do you grab and why?

A Wooden spoon. That's one of the essential tools you need in the kitchen. It is as important as knives.

3. No one’s looking. What is your secret food fetish?

Chocolate!  Good 64-66% chocolate bars. I can eat one bar by myself.

4. If someone were to visit my hometown, I’d recommend they eat _________________ with a glass of _____________________.

I’d recommend they eat at GM in Carry-le-Rouet with a glass of wine from Jean Luc Colombo.

5. Congratulations, you have carte blanche to dine any where in the world! Where would you go and why?

Definitely to the Louis XV in Monaco. Alain Ducasse has been mastering his craft there for 25 years now!


Know anyone who'd like to be a featured foodie? Contact me at kimberley@kimberleylovato.com or via my website.


Kimberley Lovato

Kimberley Lovato has written about travel, lifestyle and food for national and international publications and websites including National Geographic Traveler, Executive Travel, American Way, AFAR, Condé Nast Traveller (UK), Ryan Air, b.there, Easy Jet Traveller, leitesculinaria.com and frommers.com, among others. She is the author of a Michelin Guidebook on Brussels, where she lived for six years Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, about the Dordogne region of France, won the "Best Travel Book" nod in 2012 from the Society of American Travel Writers, as did her personal essay, "Lost and Liberated," which also appeared in Best Women's Travel Writing, Volume 8. When she's not plotting her next trip or her annual pilgrimage to France, she resides in San Francisco where she is a correspondent for BBC's Passport Blog, a student in Stanford University's Creative Writing Certificate program, and a brave mother of a teenaged girl.