One of Australia’s most revered chefs, Jacques Reymond has just announced he’ll step away from the stoves at his eponymous three-hatted Melbourne restaurant after 21 years at the top. He’s handing over to his two sous chefs, to whom he passed the baton quietly in February, and who’ll take over in January 2014. ”It stays in the family,” he says of the restaurant, ”the house is in good hands.” Reymond says he will not stop working, ”I have too much energy for that, but at 60 it’s time to step back and enjoy life.” Still, he’s toying with other projects. Innovation abounds when Reymond cooks with wife Kathy at home in Melbourne’s north-east, but he says the sprawling house with Yarra Valley views is too big now that his four adult children have flown the coop.The staples
My pantry Kathy is pretty strict on keeping things organised. We always have some Tilda basmati rice, because I eat rice every day – it’s my favourite carbohydrate over pasta or potato. I like manuka honey, and always have a bottle of good sherry vinegar. The Jose de Soto brand is exceptional, and much more subtle than balsamic vinegar. If you use balsamic in a dressing, it overpowers, and it’s too sugary. You’ll find it at Casa Iberica Deli in Fitzroy (casaibericadeli苏州美甲学校.au).
My fridge I always have the essential Asian ingredients – fish sauce, soy sauce, mirin, sake, pickled ginger, chilli, lemongrass and lime – because [Kathy and I] often cook Asian-style cuisine at home. I usually have seafood rather than meat so I have a piece of fresh tuna for tonight, and some incredible Rottnest Island scallops. But my favourite ingredient is fresh wasabi root from Shima Wasabi Tasmania. Instead of using commercial wasabi that burns and kills the flavour, this is the real stuff. You can use much more, and it’s far more fragrant.I’m drinking
Always wine. I do not like spirits. Beer? Very rarely, perhaps if my sons come over we might have a beer but that’s all. But I love wine. We have our own cellar here, so we have a store for the house.
Saturday night tipple I love the chardonnay from Freycinet Vineyard; it’s fantastic. Also Mount Mary wine, of course. And we make a house wine for the restaurant with my daughter at Toolangi Vineyards.Favourite books
I don’t have that many because I don’t want to be influenced too much by other people – I’m very individual in my cooking, I’m more spontaneous. But sometimes you need some inspiration, so for this I like anything from Alain Ducasse or Michel Bras’ Essential Cuisine – he does wonderful things with vegetables.Tool kit
The microplane is the best contribution the Americans have made to cooking. And a mortar and pestle is very important to me for Asian cooking. I have every kind of gadget, but I really like the Sunbeam Cafe Series deep fryer. This is so clean and easy to use, and there’s no danger of having a pot of boiling oil on the stove.Inspiration
If I go to Asia, I will go to the market, I will study the culture, how they grow, the family spirit, how they live together. I go to Fiji, I’ll meet the people, I’ll study them, I’ll live with them. Then I’ll create a dish that reflects that culture. This is the way I’ve been all my life.Shopping
We take some ingredients from the restaurant, but if we shop ourselves we go to Prahran Market. I don’t like to go into supermarkets. It’s not me – there are too many people, you’ve got big volumes, and stacks of fish all filleted and I hate that. I prefer to buy the whole fish.Secret vice
This is my treat: I have one of these Pride of France French toast biscottis with real French butter and then some dry salami with a little bit of heat in it. I love this with a good coffee. This is much more for me than chocolate or something.Most memorable meal
The experience that always comes back to me with a lot of emotion was a visit to a little restaurant in McLaren Vale called the Salopian Inn at least 25 years ago. I was driving with my wife, and we stopped for lunch at this restaurant and were the only two people in there. There was one chef and one apprentice. We ordered, and they prepared everything at the minute. They made a quiche in front of us to order. They cooked the rice fresh, they went to the garden to pick some herbs, they took us down to the cellar, we picked our own wine. It was exquisite.Coffee kit
I find the Delonghi Nespresso Essenza is very good quality and convenient. I think this is wonderful – it’s clean, it’s quick, it’s always regular. I have about six coffees a day. Four in the morning, then one about 2pm, and then a coffee after staff dinner at about 5.30pm.Last dinner at home
It was last Sunday. We had some veal fillets with pine mushrooms from Bright and a potato and cauliflower gratin. Then Kathy made a quince tart. We do a lot of desserts at home. Kathy loves to bake every weekend, and she will often do cakes, or tarts or mille-feuille.Hardware
De Dietrich is the best equipment that anyone could have in [their] home kitchen. It is French, and a very old family company. It’s the top of the technology and I have the oven, microwave, cooktop, everything. They have programs so if you have to cook a duck, it knows how long to cook it. In the cellar I had a WhisperKOOL humidity and temperature controller imported from the US. It keeps everything at 14 degrees and 50 per cent humidity, 24 hours a day. Perfect.My favourite thing
I wouldn’t be able to cook without my knives, for me they are very precious. I have one for all the different purposes – to fillet I have a knife, to bone I have a knife, to chop I have a knife, to dice I have a knife, to dice herbs I have a separate knife. Never mix! Each one is unique, and some of them were given to me by my grandfather in Jura, France. Best of all is this pouch I use if we go for a picnic or to ski, and it’s ready to go. I have had this for more than 40 years, since before I came to Australia.
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