--- Enjoy a taste of France at home with Guillaume Brahimi on Plat du Tour, each night at the start of the Tour de France exclusive broadcast on SBS from 29 August to 20 September 2020. For broadcast times, go to sbs.com.au/cyclingcentral ---
Could you tell us a little about yourself, what was it like to grow up in Paris and where did you learn to cook?
I grew up with a loving family in the outskirts of Paris. Food was not something we spoke about, it just existed. It was a big part of our day, we had three cooked meals a day. We would go to the farmers market and the house was always full of fresh bread, great seasonal produce and the smell of cooking. My mum and grandmother were both amazing cooks, they inspired me to be a chef. My mum would bake a cake every day for afternoon tea. Entering my home was always a feeling of comfort and I believe it was the smell of food for me.
You are the owner of Bistro Guillaume and have enjoyed great success in Australia publishing cookbooks and as co-host of French Food Safari with Maeve O’Meara. What inspired you to pursue this journey in Australia of all places?
I was already a chef when I decided to come to Australia. I had been cooking from 15 years of age and I came to Australia when I was 23. I was lucky to have friends of my parents who invited me to Sydney. At the time, I was not planning to stay forever, but I did, and I have built a great life in this country.
You’re taking the reigns from stalwart Gabriel Gate as host of the Tour de France cooking segment, now named Plat du Tour – how does it feel to fill these shoes?
It’s a great honour to be taking over from Gabriel. I haven’t been thinking I am filling his shoes so much as carrying on the tour and the French culinary journey for us all.
What was your favourite moment filming for Plat du Tour?
My favourite moment was spending time with some of the best producers in the country as well as that feeling of excitement when I am cooking the dishes for the show and knowing that I will be sharing great French dishes made with great Australian produce with the audience.
Of course, you weren’t able to visit France this year for filming – how do you think the French-Australian food scene compares?
I believe Australia is in an exciting phase of introducing and supporting the farmers markets and this idea of “paddock to plate” which is so evident in France. Buying seasonal and cooking fresh. The seafood, the dairy, the meat, the wines and the fruit and vegetables available in Australia are getting better and better and are of world class.
What is your favourite French dish to eat and why?
This is always the most difficult question to answer, it will change depending on the season.
In winter, I love the comfort of a traditional French onion soup, but if it were Spring, I would go straight for a beautiful lamb dish, and then for Summer, I will eat a great variety of seafood- oysters, prawns, yabbies and mussels. There is one French food that does, of course, cover all the seasons and that is …. CHEESE!
What is the best piece of cooking advice you’ve ever received?
Respect the produce, which is as simple as using what is in season. Let the produce do half the work. Its textures, flavours are all at their best.
L’amour du travail bien fait- is a phrase that comes to mind when I am running my restaurants. The love of a job done well.
What is the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
This dish is named from the Occitan language spoken in southern France. From the words ‘ratatolha’, meaning ‘chunky stew’ (in French military slang, ‘rata’ was a mix of beans, potatoes and mixed vegetables with fatty meat), and ‘touiller’, meaning to toss, or stir up, food.