Meet the chefs - Damien Pignolet

A fourth generation Australian, Damien Pignolet is a true Francophile when it comes to cuisine but it’s delicious winter salads that he’s sharing at his Delectable session on July 25.

A scrumptious salad showcasing the seafood that is in abundance in our warm winter months would make a perfect weekend lunchtime treat and I can’t wait to discover Damien’s simple, creative techniques and that  perfect balance of flavours and textures.

“I will share the joy of Queensland produce including include scallops, Nolans beef, passionfruit, baby green beans and snow peas,” Damien says.

His favourite Queensland ingredient is mud crab (can’t disagree with him there!) but his favourite meal in Brisbane so far has been John Dory pan seared with celeriac, school prawns, white asparagus and a sauterne and foie gras sauce at Aria.

I asked Damien what dish he would create to represent Brisbane and his answer was – a crab salad inspired by my Melbourne colleague Andrew McConnell.

“Andrew uses a super light slightly sweet bun from Chinatown and fills it with lobster - incredibly delicious,” Damien says.

“I would use a similar bun and fill it with freshly picked crab, sliced avocado and moisten it with a slightly curried ginger mayonnaise and finely shredded radicchio to be eaten as a picnic on the Brisbane river. I would drink a crisp, not too fruity, white wine.”

Damien’s chef fame stems from his restaurant Bistro Moncur at the Woollahra Hotel in Sydney, the first old Australian pub to transform into a suave bar and bistro.

Inspired by his mother’s delicious food, Damien’s goal from childhood was to be the chef of his own restaurant. This led to a four year diploma of hotel management and catering. Commercial catering, establishing a food club and teaching cookery over seven years followed before he became the Executive chef of Sydney’s famous Pavilion on the Park. His career pinnacles to date have been his 11 year ownership of the three hat French restaurant,Claudes in Woollahra, followed by Bistro Moncur for 18 years.

Since 1980, Damien has opened eight successful restaurants as well as continuing to teach.
His first book, French (Penguin/Lantern) arrived in 1995 followed by Salades
(Penguin/Lantern) in 2010 and work has started on another title.

Damien has sold Bistro Moncur and the Woollahra Hotel and will start a new project in

Book for Damien's Delectable session here.

Win tickets for two to Damien's session. Give me your best reason why you should win the two tickets in a comment below and like this post on Facebook.  I have two tickets (one double pass) to this session to give away and the competition will close at 5pm on Wednesday, July 18.  Please only enter the competition if you are able to use the tickets.