Monthly Archives: November 2012

A weekend in Monaco with Alain Ducasse


Alain Ducasse

What do you get when one of the world’s contemporary culinary masters, Alain Ducasse, summons around 240 international chefs – with around 300 Michelin stars between them – to his restaurant Le Louis XV in Monaco to celebrate its 25th anniversary? Answer: some kind of gastronomic orgasmathon.

That’s what I’m expecting from this weekend. I’m in Monaco, a guest of Monsieur Ducasse, and representing The Australian Financial Review.

I am one of a small Australian contingent: the stars of which are Australia-based chefs Guillaume Brahimi, Serge Dansereau and Tetsuya Wakuda.

The centrepiece of this ‘by invite only’ extravaganza is tomorrow’s Mediterranean market place, where local producers will present what Ducasse considers to be the 100 most emblematic products of the French Riviera. Chef invitees will take part in demonstrations, tasting and cooking shows.

In addition, 14 chefs have been hand-picked to reinterpret, in their own style, a dish that pays tribute to the Riviera.

I write this from my decadent digs at the Monte Carlo Bay hotel: it took over 34 hours and three flights to get here. In the hotel group’s stable are 33 restaurants (how many meals can I squeeze in to three days?), four casinos and a couple of nightclubs, including the acclaimed Buddha Bar Monte-Carlo.

Have all my Christmases come at once? Thanks to Monsieur Ducasse, I think so.

The articles I write from this trip will appear in The Australian Financial Review’s Life And Leisure section. I’ll let you know when they run.


Filed under Gastronomic Travels, Produce

Cooking for one: a culinary conundrum

I’m flying solo this week. My other half is off doing something blokey with the boys and it’s caused quite a culinary conundrum. What to cook? I don’t usually have a problem planning the menu for the week ahead (yes, i’m anal enough do that). I often have to strike off ideas, or relegate them to the next week’s list (I have one of those as well), they’re so plentiful. However, this time around i’ve struggled to string two meals together, never mind a week’s worth.  Continue reading


Filed under Reflections

Labancz patisserie, a French treat


A selection of Pierre Labancz’ baked treats. Photo courtesy of Labancz.

When you see and hear a tousled haired, strong French accented baker in the kitchen from the front counter of Labancz Patisserie — with shelves crammed with bread, pies, and pastries around him — you can’t help thinking that you’ve hit the right spot for lunch.

Pierre Labancz opened his small patisserie about eight months ago on Darling Street, Rozelle. He bakes everything fresh daily, which accounts for the glorious smell and visual feast that greets customers.

They come in for organic sourdough loaves, takeaway coffee, or to grab a seat at one of a hotchpotch of traditional French tables with cast iron bases and tiny circular tops. In true French style the tables spill from the cafe’s interior onto the sidewalk where customers can sit under a deep awning sipping well-made coffee and nibbling one of Labancz’s lovely baked treats. Continue reading


Filed under Chefs, Produce, Restaurant Reviews