Serge was enticed to Australia from Quebec in 1983 as part of the opening team for the Regent Sydney (now Four Seasons Sydney). While he was there he received many accolades – Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Chef of the Year in 1989, three toques for Kable’s in 1990 and, in 1994, he received the Sydney Morning Herald Special Award for Excellence.
French Canda’s loss was definitely Australia’s gain.
Then in 1999, Serge crossed the harbour and became co-owner and executive chef at one of my favourite Sydney restaurants, The Bathers’ Pavilion at beautiful Balmoral Beach which encompasses a restaurant, chef’s table, café, kiosk and two special function spaces.
Serge has written three lovely cookbooks and has a fourth on the way later this year. I love his style of cooking and respect for produce and can’t wait for his new book!
What is your earliest food memory: My earliest food memory is probably the fish cooked by my father after the numerous camping and fishing trip he took us on; I love nature and camping but I do not think I have the patience for all day fishing especially for ice fishing, something he was very keen to take us on in the middle of winter in Canada!
What is the strangest meal you’ve ever been served: I remember having worked at The Regent in Hong Kong and the kitchen crew took me after work for their usual Mah-jong games and a meal in a secret den that also served food; they took great pride to order and feed me all type of strange food but I will never forget the fluorescent baby snakes, there was no way to say no, so I made the best of it but it did look radioactive.
What is your signature dish: Kingfish sashimi with tempura soft-shell crab, seaweed salad, wasabi flying fish roe. At the moment this dish just suits Bathers and my cooking style, some customers just come every week for it.
What is your favourite cookbook: French Regional Cooking by Anne Willan, an amazing traditional recipe book of traditional recipes; my new book “French Kitchen” (out October 2010) will have some of the same flair and inspiration from my French travels.
What do you never eat: Dry desiccated coconut, so no lamington for me.
What are the five ingredients you would take to a desert island: Spanish anchovy, crusty bread, beautiful vine ripened tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and Valrhona chocolate.
What are you having for dinner tonight: Ratatouille with some grilled king fish, and yes a good dressing of extra virgin olive oil.
Serge has very generously provided a venue for a Just Add Spice (Penguin) literary lunch on Tuesday 30 March 2010. Just Add Spice is my new book, co-written with Ian ‘Herbie’ Hemphill. The three course lunch is $85 and includes a glass of wine. To book contact Gail Baxter at Bathers’ on 02 9969 5050 or email email@example.com.