Hiroyuki Sakai is known as ‘The Delacroix of French Cuisine’ and he is a chef who specializes in French cuisine.
Hiroyuki Sakai was born on April 2, 1942 in Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan. In 1959, at the age of 17, he started working in Osaka at a restaurant in the Shin Osaka Hotel.
When he was 19, he travelled alone to Perth in Australia, to build his skills at the Hotel Oriental. After a year and a half in Australia he returned to Japan, spending three years studying at Ginza Shiki with the late Fujio Shito. Shito was his predecessor as the leader of French cooking in Japan. He later worked as a chef at the restaurants Coco Palms in Aoyama and John Kanaya in Roppongi.
Chef Sakai is known for his winning record in the popular Japanese television program Iron Chef, where he started in 1994 as "Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai". His stature as the top chef on the show was formalized when he was named the ‘King of Iron Chefs’ after emerging victorious from the show's grand finale, a tournament involving all the active Iron Chefs.
Outside of Iron Chef, Sakai is the owner and head chef of the restaurant La Rochelle, originally in Aoyama but now in Shibuya. The restaurant was named after La Rochelle, a city in France where Sakai had spent some time as an apprentice.
Head Chef Brent Savage of Bentley Restaurant and Bar has been acknowledged by his peers and the food media as one of the most talented young chefs in Australia. Bentley has won awards such as the Sydney Morning Herald ‘Chef of the Year’ in 2005, Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide ‘Top 20 Restaurants in Australia’ in 2007 and 17 out of 20 in the March 2010 Sydney Morning Herald Review.
Brent’s food has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide as “visually astonishing” and a “deliciously wild ride”. In a rave review, Gourmet Traveller critic Pat Nourse termed it “Sydney’s most exciting food and wine” too.
Brent Savage is no flash in the pan. He and Hildebrandt opened Bentley Restaurant and Bar in 2006 and has been recognised by the likes of Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Sydney Morning Herald critics as one of the most dynamic eating and drinking experiences in the country. Together, the talented pair is on a mission to change the way Australians approach food and wine. These days, fine dining can be had in jeans and they’re offering the most interesting food in the country for the same price as a bistro pub steak.
Bentley has recently undergone a stunning transformation, with the decor being adapted to suit the cuisine by award-winning Melbourne designer Pascale-Gomes McNabb.
Savage’s career has seen him work with great Australian chefs such as Phillip Searle of Vulcan’s and Andrew McConnell.
Philippa Sibley’s Albert St Food & Wine establishment is inspired by the integrity and abundance of local food from Victorian regions. She describes her menu as “romantically seasonal” and offers highly innovative Mediterranean cuisine that focuses on organic and local produce.
This extraordinary chef previously brought her magic touch to Melbourne’s il Fornaio at the Prince in St Kilda, Bistro Guillaume and before that was renowned for her desserts at Circa The Prince. She commenced around the same time that Andrew McConnell of Dining Room 211 and later, 312, started as Executive Chef. In 2005 the restaurant received its third hat in The Age Good Food Guide.
Circa was Philippa’s stage to secure her title as one of Australia’s best and well known dessert chefs. Monikers such as ‘Queen of the Desserts’ (Gourmet Traveller March 2006); ‘Stellar pastry chef’ (Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide 2006) and ‘Enchantress’ (Age Good Food Guide 2005) are examples of her renown.
Philippa has also consulted on the dessert menus of both The Stokehouse and Comme but is mostly well known for her creation of three iconic Melbourne restaurants: est est est, Luxe and Ondine. All three earned three hats in The Age Good Food Guide, and est est est and Ondine the coveted Best New Restaurant award. In 1999 she published Marriages the est est est cookbook which was awarded Best Cookbook Design, Versailles, France.
As well as her past MasterChef appearances, Philippa also featured in an episode of A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain in 2004.
Il Fornaio website
Aged only 18, Ryan landed his first job at Michaels in Brisbane. He later developed his cooking skills at Level 41 in Sydney before relocating to Marbella in Spain to open a new venture with Spanish family friends.
When he was 23, Ryan moved to Switzerland, working for Anton Mosimann at Chateau Mosimann, then got diverted to his private London restaurant, Mosimann in Belgrave Square, where he remained for a year and a half.
After being handed a menu by a young German chef who was head of the French Laundry in California, Ryan immediately applied for and landed a job. He later went to New York to work at Per Se, French Laundry’s sister restaurant.
Ryan left the US and went to Bermuda for six months, where he offered wealthy residents a private dining experience, but soon saw the opportunity back in Brisbane to reform Urbane. After a year, Ryan went to Spain to work at El Bulli, followed by a stint at WD-50 in New York.
He came home permanently in 2008, working at Buffalo Club, where he achieved ‘Chef of the Year’, ‘Restaurant of the Year’ and the only three stars in Brisbane from the Good Food Guide Queensland.
Rick Stein is somewhat misleadingly labelled a ‘Celebrity Chef'. In fact, with his ex-wife Jill, he has four restaurants, a delicatessen, a patisserie, a seafood cookery school and forty hotel bedrooms in the small fishing port of Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall in England, which have developed over the past 34 years.
Rick attributes the success of all this to a simple observation; "Nothing is more exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked". It was this enthusiasm for seafood that led him to make his first TV cookery series Taste of the Sea in 1995. Since then he has made eight more, travelling to France, Italy, Morocco, Thailand and Bangladesh celebrating the attraction of local food.
All Rick’s shows exhibit his philosophy on food, eating and restaurants, which is that cooking and eating together are generous activities, which should be taken seriously but should also resound with joy. All the books and films show a commitment to the quality of food, too and a concern for sustainability in fishing and good husbandry in farming.
In a long career as a chef, Rick has cooked for eminent people such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, French President Jacques Chirac and The Queen. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 for services to West Country Tourism.
Rick still lives part of the year in Padstow, but also has a house in Sydney with his fiancée Sarah Burns and regards Australia as his second home.
Curtis Stone is a master chef, bestselling author, TV personality and entrepreneur.
When it comes to cooking, Curtis Stone's philosophy is to cook as Mother Nature intended; buy locally produced seasonal and organic ingredients, keep recipes simple, and allow the food to speak for itself.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Curtis left Victoria University in 1994 at the age of 18 to follow his passion for food. His strong will and love for quality cuisine led to a job cooking at The Savoy Hotel. Once a qualified chef, Curtis began travelling throughout Europe with his best mate, only to end up working for the legendary Marco Pierre White. He later graduated to the position of Sous Chef at Mirabelle, where he stayed for two years and helped the restaurant get a Michelin Star. He then moved to Marco Pierre’s flagship restaurant Quo Vadis, where he worked until he shot to television fame with Surfing the Menu in 2003.
Curtis is currently based in LA and can be regularly seen on the US version of The Biggest Loser and The Today Show. He recently launched his line of sleek and eco-friendly kitchen solutions at Williams-Sonoma and has published a fourth book called Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood, which includes everything from caramel popcorn to Indian curry and chocolate mint martinis.
Will Studd has been working with specialist cheese for more than three decades and has travelled extensively in his vocation. After establishing delicatessens in central London during the 1970s, he migrated to Melbourne, Australia, in 1981, where he has done much to promote a greater understanding of what good cheese is all about, as well as championing the cause for cheese made from raw milk.
Will’s first book, Chalk and Cheese, was published in 1999 and won a number of major international awards. It has since become highly sought after by collectors. His latest book Cheese Slices is recognised by cheese specialists around the world as a valuable guide to understanding cheese, and was published in October 2007.
Will was awarded the prestigious L’Odre du Merite Agricole by the French government for his defense of traditional raw milk cheese in 2002, and was recently promoted to the decorated rank of Officier of the L’Odre du Merite Agricole in recognition for his services and support of traditional ‘lait cru’ cheese. He is also recognised by France’s prestigious Guilde des Fromagers as a Maitre Fromager (Master of Cheese) and is the guild’s sole ‘ambassadeur’.
Since 2004, Will has been executive producer and presenter of Cheese Slices, the world’s only television series focused on international artisan and traditional handmade cheeses.
Will is the founding director of Fromagent Australia and the Calendar Cheese Company.
A hugely popular and influential figure on the UK culinary circuit, John Torode is best known as the straight talking co-presenter and judge of BBC’s MasterChef and Celebrity MasterChef series; and for his well-established restaurant at the heart of London’s meat market - Smiths of Smithfield.
John arrived in the UK from Australia in 1990 and started working in what became the great Terence Conran Group, building and developing some of the biggest and influential restaurants of the decade. He opened Smiths of Smithfield in 2000, later opening The LUXE – a restaurant, café bar and live music venue along with a florist and takeaway.
John is passionate about sourcing the best of British produce, particularly and enthusiastically meat and he has long been a champion of rare breeds. In his quest to source the very best produce for Smiths, he has built strong relationships with many small farmers and butchers throughout the UK and aims to share his knowledge through his widely distributed Fine Meat List.
John has published John Torode's Beef And Other Bovine Matters, is a frequent panelist on The Wright Stuff for Five, a regular guest host on Saturday Kitchen for BBC1 and a popular guest on shows such as The One Show, Loose Women and BBC Breakfast, as well as numerous radio programmes.
A well-known food writer, John regularly contributes to Olive and BBC Good Food Magazine, as well as supplying numerous articles for the Guardian, Mail and Observer newspapers.