My time at Bennelong is one thing I’ll be perpetually grateful for. Working so carefully with Peter Gilmore at each Quay and Bennelong helped me to change into the chef I’m in the present day. Peter’s concepts are so modern and distinctive and he taught me to suppose otherwise and to push the bounds of what I believed was attainable.
Rob Cockerill additionally taught me a lot about management and find out how to keep a constant two-hat normal doing 180 covers an evening. His ardour and enthusiasm for cooking is one thing I hope I convey to my crew.
I reached a degree in my profession the place I needed to department out and do extra of my very own factor. The concept of writing my very own menu and having inventive freedom was daunting, however thrilling. The Charles is a dream job for a pastry chef as now we have the perfect of each worlds — an à la carte dessert menu in addition to the dessert trolley. There aren’t many locations you’ll be able to expertise a dessert trolley in Australia, so with the ability to breathe life into that actually appealed to me.
I really like that The Charles is a European brasserie, which opens up an unbelievable breadth of recent recipes and cuisines to discover. The Charles is someplace I can see myself rising even additional. The crew is extremely supportive, and though I’m biased, the venue is among the most lovely I’ve come throughout.
I’ve had classical coaching all through my profession, which has vastly impacted my strategy to pastry. I really like pastry as a result of it’s so exact and technical. I really like spending weeks engaged on a single dish, always tweaking a recipe till you’ve created one thing that’s not solely lovely, however the place the quantity of labor and talent is apparent to the particular person having fun with it.
I’ve at all times been taught that flavour and texture are simply as vital as look. All the consuming expertise is one thing I take into consideration rather a lot — how will the dish be remembered and spoken about from the primary presentation to the final chew? I’m fairly old-fashioned in the case of the fundamentals. It’s vital fundamental strategies are taught to all younger pastry cooks equivalent to piping by hand, tempering chocolate, dough lamination and so forth. I feel my strategy to dessert ties in completely with The Charles’ ethos.
Meals at The Charles is elegant, refined and exquisite with out pointless fuss. I convey that information and magnificence of effective eating to The Charles however pull it again to make it easier and extra appropriate to brasserie-style meals.
My inspiration for the trolley got here from a number of completely different locations: my time in London the place I labored as an apprentice and would journey round Europe to discover completely different pâtisseries and bakeries; my very own childhood and cookbooks. I needed to create a trolley with choices for each palate at any time of the day.
We eat with our eyes, and you may see the thrill on a visitor’s face because the trolley is pushed across the eating room. The trolley provides a sense of enjoyment and nostalgia, so I need to make lovely, attention-grabbing and crowd pleasing issues.
I set myself the problem of the whole lot on the trolley having a technical component — even when it appears easy. It could possibly vary from tempering chocolate and reaching the right thickness of beeswax coating for the canelé to the piping on the tarts, lining pastry or reaching completely even layers of the marjolaine by hand. A few of the objects are a three-day course of, so we at all times must be aware and ready.
The Russian honey cake is the apparent must-try contemplating the hype round it. It’s 28 layers of honeycomb sponge and a dulce de leche cream. It’s surprisingly not very candy, gentle and dangerously simple to eat. I really like the cannoli, which is freshly cooked every morning and piped to order with whipped ricotta.
I additionally love the choice of sweets on the trolley. I take a whole lot of inspiration from my first chef William Curley who’s an unbelievable chocolatier. William has an enormous affect on my sweets as they’re extra refined, grownup variations of the classics everyone knows and love. They convey a whole lot of happiness and nostalgia.
Numerous thought had to enter the à la carte choices so they’re simply as interesting because the trolley. Every choice must have a theatrical component whether or not it’s with liquid nitrogen, flambé or one other component of desk service.
The trolley has its limitations as objects want to carry at room temperature, so the dessert menu is extra à la minute with issues like a grand soufflé, contemporary components and ice lotions churned to order. There are principally no limitations on what may be created between the trolley and the à la carte menu.