Masterchef S01 ep12: Jacques Reymond, Reymond Restaurant, [Melbourne]
Interview with Jacques Reymond
I rode my motor bike from Crizot for about 5 hours, went around the back and walked straight into the kitchen with 22 cooks looking at me wearing a motor bike helmet and asked to see the Chef. Chef Jacque Picard took me to one side and asks what I want. I say I want to come and work here. There is a big silence in the kitchen and everyone starts to laugh. He says ' No one has ever done what you have done, and I will give you a chance. You can start next week'.
KM What is Jacques Reymond?
I am born in this industry my father and mother had a very humble small cafe
in a little village in Burgundy who belong before that to my grandfather. My
grandfather was a beer merchant so he opened this little cafe and it was a
farm adjacent as well to this little cafe so we used to kill our own pigs, and
grow our own chickens, and you know, all our own vegetables and everything.
Then my father completely destroyed the farm and built 15 bedrooms, so it
became a small hotel restaurant.
KM: Now why did you and your wife decide to take this over when you were
We had quite a fair bit of experience. I met my wife when we were 17 in
KM: In England?
KM: What were you doing in England when you were 17?
I was sent by the hotelier school in Nice to do a stage.
So I was meant to do a stage for 3 months, but because I met Cathy, I stayed
for one year then we moved on after that to England we moved on to Oustoure
de Baumerie in France at the time it had 3 star Michelin. It was a fabulous
experience and this opened my mind and I said that is what I want to do in the
When I decided that I wanted to try and get into this place at the time it was
the most renowned with Paul Bocuse - they were the two first...
KM: Yes, who was the chef there?
The chef was Jacque Picard. So I just said to some of the people around, I
would like to get in there. They said you're joking, you can’t just get in there,
there is a waiting list of 100's and 100's of people, who want to work there an
don't even ask to be paid, and some are actually paying to be there. It was
true we will come to that later on. So I said I don't care, I want to go and work
there so I took my motor bike, and from Crisot I went there, it took about 5
hours, and I arrived it was about just before lunch service and from the back
where all the bins were, I walked through with my helmet in my hands, and I
walked straight into the kitchen and in this kitchen there is 22 cooks and
everybody sees this guy with this helmet and the motor bike and said what is
this guy doing here. I said can I see the chef please, Chef comes over, Jacque
Picard a very very nice man, very humble person, and he takes me to one side
and asks what I want, I said I want to come and work here. There is a big
silence in the Kitchen and everyone starts to laugh. I said what is funny about
it, so he takes me apart and says you know what no-body has ever done what
you done, and I will give you a chance. You can start next week. So I said
have I got a job, I was so happy, and I got a paid job, they were paying me
Yes, so I started
KM: So he liked the fact that you had the guts to come straight in and ask for a
Yes, absolutely, I started the next week.
KM What were the first impressions to you what was so strange straight
Oh to have so many people in the kitchen, and to see different ingredients that
I had never used before - frois gras, truffles, all the expensive things. The
wonderful smell in the kitchen,
KM How long were you there for?
I stayed for a year and a half. Then after this Cathy and I, we went to work in a
restaurant which was called La Bernaise in Evian which is part of the Relais
Chateau we stayed there for 2 years, I was the 2nd chef, the, we went to
Brazil, where we opened the most luxurious and biggest restaurant and in San
Paolo which was called Massimo.
KM: Was that the name of the owner?
Yes, Massimo Ferrari. Great Italian guy, two brothers, fantastic, full of energy.
And then after one year in San Paolo we get approached by the Varig. Which
is the Brazilian Airlines, to open the largest hotel in South America right in the
middle of the Amazon. We took the opportunity and we went there for 2 years,
that was a sensational time but very hard work.
Then we said O.K. now what do we do, so I said let us try to make a name for
ourselves in Paris. We went to Paris for 2 years, and Paris again 2 star
Michelin, for Jacque Garnier, it was a fantastic introduction to meet the media,
and to make a name for ourselves, and then we decided OK now is time to
take over the little place in the village, because now we might get support from
these people, and it worked because we started with nothing, and after two
years we got a star - 1 star Michellin, and after 4 1/2 years we were going to
get our second star Michelin
Well then we came here.
They were looking for a simple apprentice but when they saw my reference
they took me on straight away, so I stayed there for 3 years,
KM this is at Mietta's.
Yes, in Brunswick as you know and then we moved into the city for the next
two years. And then we went to Richmond and then we bought our restaurant
KM: How would you characterise your food today?
Well I would call it true Australian cuisine.
KM: But what is true Australian cuisine?
It is a technically based, and you can have French, it can be Chinese it can be
whatever but you must stick to your technique and then spiritually get only your
influence from what you see around you in terms of community, in terms of
products and in terms of what you have to cook with.
KM: With Gastronomy because it is an art form, what are you trying to
achieve, what is the next step.
My philosophy of cuisine is that to really surprise my customers but to give
them the real flavour of the true products by all this combinations by blending
different flavours only to enhance the main components. Nobody needs to
know how you go about getting this result, there might be 20 other elements
but you must not see them.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE:Jacques Reymond, Reymond Restaurant, [Melbourne]