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Alumni portrait – Nicolas Nadau

Director, founder and chef at the Restaurant Hortus in Bordeaux, Nicolas Nadau, a graduate of the 1st class of Vatel Bordeaux in 1997, talks about his passion for the culinary arts.

Picture of the director, founder and chef at the restaurant Hortus in Bordeaux when he is cooking.

Where does the name Hortus come from?

The name Hortus means garden in Latin, particularly vegetable garden. It’s also a tribute to the fact that my restaurant is located opposite the Roman kitchen garden near the public garden and all the way to Darwin. Referring to the vegetable garden shows my attachment to good produce and locavore cuisine.

You are the proprietor of Hortus. Why did you make this choice?

Before opening Hortus in 2018, I created two establishments: l’O de l’Ha in 2008 and l’O D’Ici in 2017. When you’re an owner, you have to be yourself.

Being a homeowner offers many advantages. The first one? The freedom! You have very little to answer for except to the State. You can choose the people you want to work with. Today, for example, I’ve been working with the same partner for 17 years. It’s a huge confidence booster.

You’ve always found only restaurants. Why is that?

Cooking the product has always fascinated me. I have a very intimate relationship with them. As early as my 2nd year at Vatel Bordeaux, cooking was on my mind. I wanted to spend all my professional practices in this field.

My table at Hortus combines all my experiences: soya sauce, yellow curry, chilli paste… We can offer you, for example:

– Snails sautéed in a green curry sauce

– A blanquette of monkfish with cep mushrooms

– A peach and strawberry meringue soup

What has Vatel Bordeaux brought to you in your career?

Vatel Bordeaux gave me very good practical training. It enabled me to learn all the ins and outs of the hospitality industry, including from a marketing and sales point of view.

Having experienced and appreciated training during my studies, I’m very pleased that 300 students from my former school have already worked in my establishment, particularly during professional practice periods.

I particularly enjoy sharing my knowledge of the catering industry with the younger generation.

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