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JACQUES REYMOND b


A perfect blend


When Jacques Reymond realised his dream of opening his own restaurant in an elegant Melbourne mansion, he was free to evolve and develop his own cooking style. Jacklyn Lloyd discusses his influences from the past


D


espite owning and running five venues in his career and accumulating 80 Chef’s Hats from The Age Good Food Guide, Jacques Reymond is by no means intimidating. Specialising in contemporary Australian-French cuisine, he is renowned for delivering dishes that look pretty as a picture and define sophisticated, yet relaxed, dining. Born in France in the small village of


Cuiseaux, about 100km from Lyon, Reymond’s parents had a hotel/restaurant. This made him familiar with professional kitchens from a very young age. From there he went on to work all over the globe and continues to consult in restaurants worldwide today. He followed his dream to work in


Australia. For years, every time Reymond and his wife drove past an old, romantic, Victorian mansion at 78 Williams Road, Melbourne, which was then known as Allisons, he would say: “One day my restaurant will be in this building.” Eventually he opened his eponymous restaurant there and it became an institution for more than 20 years. His years of experience of working in both Brazil and Spain inspired Reymond


to combine flavours from these countries – along with the Asian and Pacific ingredients commonly used in Australia – to develop his own unique style using French techniques. His cooking technique evolved “from traditional French to highly individual” – a style that has stood the test of time. “Our cuisine was (and continues to be) individual and personal; a fusion, not a confusion,” he says. Reymond’s inspiration was apparent in the restaurant’s décor. In the main room, crisp white linen and sparkling dinnerware set a romantic scene for couples dining on beautifully-plated dishes. While the Mandarin room, simple in its design, featured oriental, rich reds juxtaposed with elegant table settings – blending Asian and French influences. When designing the kitchen at Jacques Reymond the equipment wasn’t the most important consideration. “It’s more about the quality of the products and the selection of suppliers; the skills of the staff. I invested in this more than equipment,” notes Reymond. That investment paid off in 2011 when the Restaurant and Catering Association in Victoria awarded


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