Damien is a second generation Australian of French descent. His mother was a wonderful cook whose craft inspired him to make restaurants his career. In 1966, Damien began a four-year comprehensive course in catering and hotel management at William Angliss College in Melbourne.
His career began in catering and eventually led to teaching at a Melbourne cooking school. His dream was realised six years after graduating when he was appointed Executive Chef of Pavilion on the Park in 1978, then one of Sydney’s top restaurants.
In 1981 Damien and his wife Josephine bought Claudes restaurant and devoted 13 years to this highly acclaimed boutique restaurant. In 1992, Damien went into partnership with Ron White and purchased the Woollahra Hotel to create Bistro Moncur, now in its 16th year. The partnership also owns the Bellevue Hotel in nearby Paddington, offering a high standard of pub food. Damien has established nine successful Sydney restaurants and maintained his teaching career throughout.
Damien’s 2005 book French has been a brilliant success.
Neil Perry is one of Australia’s leading and most influential chefs.
His career in hospitality began at Sails restaurant at McMahons Point and in Rose Bay. He later worked at Barrenjoey Restaurant and opened Blue Water Grill at Bondi Beach before launching Rockpool in February 1989.
Today, Neil concentrates on his flagship brand Rockpool; which includes restaurants Rockpool, Spice Temple, Rockpool Bar & Grill Sydney and Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne, along with Rockpool Consulting. These restaurants have won awards such as The Age Good Food Guide’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ in 2008 and was voted in the top 50 restaurants in the world by UK magazine Restaurant seven years running.
Neil also heads a team of consultants to Qantas Airways. Menus are developed quarterly for International First and Business Class travellers, with the team overseeing the implementation and introduction to catering centres at key ports.
He has written various recipe books, including The Food I Love and Simply Asian, has created a range of Neil Perry Fresh food products and has appeared on The Lifestyle Channel and in MasterChef Australia.
Born in the Normandy region of France, Chef Franck Poupard began his career in 1987 with an apprenticeship at the one-star Michelin establishment Au Petit Vatel in Alençon. Two years later, he moved to the town of l’Aigle where he became Commis de Cuisine for the Hôtel Restaurant Le Dauphin, renowned for being one of the first restaurants to receive a star in the 1926 Michelin guide.
Passionate about travel and sport, Chef Poupard worked on the coordination and preparation of meals for athletes during the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. In 1995, he worked as Chef de Partie responsible for the Gastronomic restaurant La Table Ronde and Le Grill du Parc.
From 1998, Chef Franck Poupard worked as Sous Chef in various establishments in the Haute Savoie region during the winter seasons and in Corsica for the summers. He then became Head Chef in several well known establishments before moving to the luxury hotel Hotel Le President Wilson in Genev,a where he was responsible for the garde-manger, concentrating on the elaboration of a menu for fusion cuisine.
He also worked in London for two years from 2003, principally for Harrods’ gastronomic restaurant Le Georgian. In 2006, Chef Poupard obtained his "Brevet Technique Supérieur" and he joined Le Cordon Bleu Chef’s team in 2007.
Shaun had literally landed under the wings of Jeanie Fuji – a San-Francisco native rigorously trained in the art of serving customers in the true Japanese style, and she set about teaching Shaun the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine, from the ground up.
Shaun said: “Along with Jeanie, all 180 residents in the town helped me learn the language and taught me about everything from fish cuts to tofu and tempura. I was fully exposed to the tradition and culture, and I loved it.”
In 1995, Shaun returned to Australia and worked at the Unkai in the ANA Hotel, where he became the first Australian Caucasian chef to be honoured with the title of Sushi Chef. In 2000, he was asked to open Justin Hemmes Sushi e in Establishment.
In 2009, Shaun accepted the role of Executive Chef at Sake in Brisbane and has been there ever since. He said of the restuarant; “[It’s] all about sharing and educating, and providing a great environment in which to enjoy new tastes.”
Sake Restaurant and Bar website
Darren Purchese is one of the most respected pastry chefs working in Australia today. With a wealth of talent and experience, Darren produces innovative desserts and cutting edge patisserie using modern and fresh techniques.
Having worked in kitchens across England and France, Darren further developed his talents at the legendary Savoy Hotel in London, under the tutelage of Mâitre Chefs de Cuisine, Anton Edelmann. After three successful years, Darren went on to work at the prestigious Goring Hotel, five-star Raffles Browns and the deluxe Bentley Hotel. During his time at The Bentley, Darren was presented with an Acorn Award by the Hotel & Caterer Magazine, awarded annually to the most promising young persons in the UK hospitality industry.
After arriving in Australia in 2005, Darren joined Shannon Bennett’s team at Vue de monde and helped the restaurant win an unprecedented two consecutive restaurant of the year awards from Gourmet Traveller and three chef’s hats in The Age Good Food Guide. He also worked at Gary Mehigan’s Fenix, George Calombaris eaterie The Press Club and Bennelong in Sydney’s Opera House.
Jacques Reymond Restaurant was launched in a three-level building in Richmond 20 years ago, before moving to a contemporarily renovated Victorian mansion where it still remains.
Jacques is greatly influenced by produce in Brazil and Spain, and has combined these with the Asian and Pacific ingredients used here in Australia to develop his own unique style of Australian contemporary cuisine. With the use of French techniques, Jacques creates dishes of brilliance and sophistication.
He is very much the person behind his restaurant, involved in each stage of planning the perfect meal. His passion for food is only matched by his passion for wine. The feeling of warmth and intimacy of the premises, blended with the wonderful food, wine list and professional service creates the ultimate fine dining experience.
The last 20 years has seen Jacques Reymond Restaurant voted one of the best in Victoria, winning the prestigious top awards from The Age Good Food Guide six times in a row and being awarded three Hats.
Jacques Reymond Restaurant is also a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux.
The Roux brothers, Michel and Albert, are considered the founding fathers of modern British cuisine.
Michel was born in Charolles, in central France, above the charcuterie his grandfather ran. He left school at 14 to undertake a patisserie apprenticeship in Paris. He later became Chef de Cuisine for Mademoiselle Rothschild before heading to London in 1967. It was a start of a culinary revolution for the nation.
Michel opened Le Gavroche with his brother in 1971, and it soon became the first UK restaurant to be awarded a Michelin Star (it later won three). Their other venture, The Waterside Inn in Bray, also received three stars. The Waterside Inn has retained its top ranking ever since and is famed for its desserts and continues to deliver polished, contemporary haute French cuisine.
Michel has written various books such as Pastry and The Roux Brothers on Patisserie, won France’s highest culinary honour the Meilleur Ouvrier de France in 1972 and was one of the original TV celebrity chefs in the 1980s with a feisty TV series.
Now 68, Michel divides his time between Switzerland, France and England and continues to train the next generation of chefs. More than 1,000 chefs have worked in Roux’s kitchen, including Pierre Koffman and Marco-Pierre White.
Michel and Albert set up the highly prized Roux Brothers Scholarship in 1984 and received honorary OBEs in 2002. His autobiography, Life is a Menu, was published in 2000.