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Jacques Reymond

It’s Friday night in Jacques Reymond’s kitchen and I’ve just saved a junior chef from a bollocking. The Birkenstocked underling has just burned some wafers, and it hasn’t escaped the notice of the eagle-eyed maestro. But nor has my presence – even as I’m backed against the door with notepad and pen – and that’s enough, apparently, to make Reymond dish out a glare rather than the expected yell. “He sees everything,” says my wafer-burning friend. “I would have copped a spray if you weren’t here.”

Pierre Khodja

It’s not unusual for chefs to wax lyrical about meals shared with their children. Most nights they tiptoe to bed hours after the kids are tucked in, so family dinners “ when they happen “ are special. But Pierre Khodja, chef at Hawthorn’s Canvas restaurant, becomes particularly emotional when he talks about enjoying meals with his wife, Debbie, and their daughters Jamila, Anisa and Haniya. He has good reason: five years ago, it looked like the Khodjas may have eaten together for the last time.

Curious George. Dani Valent profiles chef George Calombaris

There’s a lot more to George Calombaris than MasterChef. Like his plan for “global domination”. He speaks frankly with Dani Valent. George Calombaris has a few things on his mind. Like opening a restaurant in Kew, and one in Sydney, and another in Athens. And maybe a Greek deli, if the numbers stack up. He’s thinking about his role as judge on Celebrity MasterChef, on air in October, followed by a new MasterChef series for the not-yet-famous. And there are meetings with Channel 10 sponsor Coles to develop supermarket meals: a marinade for boil-in-the-bag pork, something with West Australian truffles.

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© Dani Valent 2019