I’m not proud of being a high school dropout, but that’s what happened. Most people don’t realise how tough high school is in Switzerland! My Father was also a Chef back home and he suggested to me to become a Chef.
"It’s a creative job that allows you to travel the world,” he said.
He never mentioned the 15-hour workdays though! Very cheeky.
I did my apprenticeship in a 5-star hotel in Lugano, then after that, I spent a year in Lausanne at the Palace Hotel working but mostly partying. London had always been in my mind and before I knew it, I found myself with a rucksack and 1000 (about AUD$1500) Swiss Francs in my pocket at Victoria Station.
I found a job at The Ledbury, and that’s where I started cooking for real! In London I also met Holly, my wife, and together we started travelling and working throughout Europe. A couple of years in Berlin, then Montpellier in Southern France and back again to London when Isaac Mchale (The Clove Club) asked me to run the kitchen of Upstairs at The Ten Bells.
After three years at The Bells, I ran a pop-up rooftop bar with my friend, Jarrod Cooke, in an old Victorian public toilet in Clapton.
Holly and I eventually decided to give Australia a go and we also came back for the birth of our first child, Remo, as well as to be closer to Holly’s family. After three more years living both on the Hawkesbury River and in Sydney, we found this little place for sale in Brunswick Heads – and we were on the move again!
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
It may sound harsh, but absolutely not! I was actually avoiding becoming a Chef!
I grew up in my parent’s restaurant-hotel back home and I remember often looking at the chefs in the kitchen sweating under the scorching heat, standing all day long, burning their arms and telling myself ‘no chance I’ll end up there! I am becoming an ambassador, an architect or a translator, now go back home and do your homework!’
One of my first memories in a kitchen was being yelled at by one of the chefs when I was 7 or 8 years old after exploding a couple of kilos of chestnuts that I picked on my way from school in the oven, yes it was a bloody mess, but come on!
How would you define your style?
Nowadays it’s classic, following traditional recipes and techniques, with a quirky touch.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Nutella on toast.
If I don't wear an apron and a ‘torchon’ (kitchen towel) while working, I feel naked.
Your greatest culinary influence:
Brett Graham from The Ledbury and Isaac Mchale from The Clove Club.
What do you love about this business?
It’s challenging, unpredictable and you can make people happy by feeding them.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Butter and vinegar.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
Cheese malakoff? Basically…
For the kind of food Chefs like to eat, head to Cadeau Restaurant on Mullumbimbi Street in Brunswick Heads. This casual, relaxed restaurant embodies the Northern NSW coast lifestyle with softly glowing pendent lights, cosy table settings and an open kitchen where you can watch busy Chefs in action. Choose a drop from a range reflecting a love of natural wine and ponder a menu influenced by classic French and British dishes, plating up uncomplicated, rustic food full of flavour. Graze on snacks like fried pork belly and apricot mustard, or chickpea Panisse and spiced tomato relish; while those with larger tastes opt for crumbed ox tongue, watermelon radish and sauce gribiche, or roast leg of lamb, butter beans and green sauce. Crème caramel and poached peaches entice as a fitting finale.