The French born chef Jacques Reymond has had a long, successful career. Originally working in his family’s hotel in Corteaux, France, Reymond eventually found his stage in Melbourne, Australia, where for 20 years he ran the Jacques Reymond restaurant.
He’s a self taught chef who has spent time in cities all over the world, picking up flavours and techniques to add to his arsenal. After selling his Jacques Reymond Restaurant in 2014 the chef now runs Bistro Gitan and L’Hotel Gitan where he serves what is described as contemporary Australian food. His signature dish is Flinders Island Wallaby, Mountain bush peppers and daikon, showing he means it when he says it’s all about the best products.
On top of his busy schedule, Reymond has also agreed to be a mentor for the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 Pacific Area finalist Peter Gunn, who will cook up his dish of Robbins Island Wagyu Short Rib with Roast Celery Vinaigrette at the Grand Final in Milan.
We spoke with Reymond about his role as a mentor and his own career as a young chef.
Who was your most important mentor for your profession and why?
I have never had a mentor as I am self taught but the Chef I respect the most is Freddy Girardet from Switzerland for his humility.
What’s the best advice you were ever given when you were training?
Work with the best products and respect them.
Do you remember one of the big mistakes you made in a kitchen when you were training?
I was making my first Hollandaise Sauce and had the temperature too high so the eggs curdled.
Is there one mistake you see young chefs making very often? What should they do do instead?
Not taking notes on what they are doing so there is no consistency in their work.
What are the best characteristics a young chef can have, nowadays?
The opportunity to work less hours, to work with more efficient and better equipment and to receive a much higher salary than we used to.
What are the worst?
Not staying long enough in one position, in too much of a hurry to advance and to become a professional without the experience.
What’s your main focus in advising the S.Pellegrino Young Chef candidate of your region?
To work with specific local produce and to use condiments which enhance the natural flavor of the product but still keeping the elements of the dish.
What’s your message to all the finalists of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 worldwide?
Do not copy anyone else be true to your own influences and creativity and prepare a dish that you know you are capable of doing and to produce it at the highest level.