I used to be a graphic designer for seven years. I always loved cooking, loved my job too but couldn't picture myself working in front of a computer for much longer.
So, at the age of 27, I decided to go to a culinary school at night while still doing graphic design. I quickly understood that if I wanted to be better at it, I needed to learn much faster. I decided then to apply to a restaurant. I was very lucky and I was hired at Bozar, a restaurant in Brussels that now has one Michelin Star. There, I learned so much with Head Chef Karen Torosyan, a very hard-working Chef.
The love of produce, the necessity of hard work and attention to detail were the key of my time at Bozar. After that, I wanted to see more kitchens and different styles of cooking. I did some internships at Sea Grill (2 Michelin Star), Neptune and Maison Bras (3 Michelin Star restaurant in Aveyron, France).
Afterwards, I moved to Australia, where I worked with Hamish Ingham at The Woods, and where I met Helen, with whom I opened Moxhe. After " The Woods ", I worked at NOMAD and Cafe Paci, but more importantly at Fish Face, Double Bay. As a fish lover, I always wanted to work there. Eager to learn, I had a great time there, working with Steve Hodges. At the age of 34, I felt ready to open my own place, and after a few months, Helen and I found a cute little place in Bronte where we opened Moxhe.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I always had a special interest for food and for the dining experience. As a young kid, I would always ask to go for a degustation for my birthday or special occasion. That being said, when I was 18 I had also a lot of interest in image and photography which led me to study and work as a graphic designer for the first part of my career.
How would you define your style?
In tune with the seasons, that’s the most important thing for me. When you come to Moxhe in the Spring, the plate will be green and fresh, in Autumn you will find earthy flavours, mushrooms and richer flavours, Summer will be all about freshness and juicy textures.
We work with the organic farms around us, so we have to stick to what’s in season that week. Same idea with the wild seafood. That drives me to have a very flexible menu that changes every day, depending on what I source at the fish markets. The cooking style is then quite simple and straight forward because we must be flexible according to the stunning produce we receive.
What is your feature flavour these days?
It’s spring so green, green, green! I’m loving the young garlic that we have at the moment. I never use garlic in my cooking except for these few weeks in the year, when they are so small that they look like spring onions. So fresh and delicate.
Change, movement, I can’t stay still. Helen would say Tennis shoes too!
Your greatest culinary influence:
Karen Torosyan who was my first Head Chef, for his attention to detail and the love of a job well done - always polishing and improving what you do. The second one is Steve Hodges, I loved working with him, so much passion!
What do you love about this business?
It’s a playground, it’s really small, therefor super flexible and reactive. We can reinvent ourselves every time we want to. It’s a great freedom. I love it!
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Good quality wheat flour. I can’t live without great bread.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
Mussels cooked with lucerne.
Not really any that you could find on the menu as it evolves daily, but lots of customers ask me when will I bring the prawn tortellini back.