Tony Klasen
Tony Klasen

Tony Klasen

Born:  Singleton, Hunter Valley, NSW

History:  Twenty years ago I discovered a passion for food and flavours after many years spent travelling and meeting family in Europe.  (My wife thinks that, as this was also the time we got married, it must have been her limited cooking skills that caused this shift in career focus!  Not the case at all I hasten to add...)

I am a builder by trade and made the transition to the restaurant industry slowly.  I began with small catering jobs for family and friends and volunteered with Peter Meier at his respected Casuarina Restaurant in Pokolbin.  With each function the challenges grew and so did the enjoyment.

The natural progression was to have my own restaurant and so we opened Henri’s Brasserie in Singleton eight years ago.  It has had many positive influences over this time with some great chefs helping us out and fantastic customers who return regularly.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I am actually a builder by trade, with a passion for picking up an ingredient and working with it to discover ways to enhance it with flavour, texture and presentation.  10 years ago I took the plunge and built Henri’s, then made the career move to focus on 'building on the plate’.  I haven’t really looked back since.

How would you define your style? 
I draw predominantly on French influences but with contemporary Australian style.

Obsessive compulsive about?
Consistency.  Our guests must always have a brilliant Henri’s experience!  Never anything less.

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences?
I love desserts and pastry.  Michel Roux and Stephane Glacier are favourites when looking for inspiration.

What do you love about this business? 
I love the buzz of building a dish with balance in flavour, textures and presentation and then seeing our guests enjoy it.  It certainly makes it all worthwhile.

An ingredient you can’t live without? 
Chocolate.  The options are endless (as is the line of tasting volunteers!).

Most “eyebrow raising” menu item? 
Cuba dark chocolate tower filled with freshly churned lemongrass ice cream.

Signature dish:  Individual chocolate ganache tartlet with salted caramel, freshly churned hazelnut ice cream and a chocolate twist