Serge Dansereau Tastes of Burgundy Interview

Serge Dansereau Tastes of Burgundy Interview

Serge Dansereau Tastes of Burgundy Interview

After the resounding success of the Tastes of Burgundy tour 2011, three prominent Australian chefs are set to once again, delight the senses of food and wine enthusiasts with a penchant for French cooking with the Tastes of Burgundy 2012 tour.

Commencing in April 2012, Tastes of Burgundy will run 6 weeks of cooking schools in the iconic gourmet region of eastern France, La Bourgogne (Burgundy). Each Tastes of Burgundy weeklong experience will be individually led by the crème de la crème of the industry;

Tastes of Burgundy is pleased to announce that Serge Dansereau, from one of Sydney's best and Australia's most acclaimed eating establishments, Bathers' Pavilion on Sydney's Balmoral Beach will be joining the 2012 tour.

An energetic native-born Québécois, Serge Dansereau grew up in Montréal and spent his formative years surrounded by a family whose food skills and example were to leave a lasting impression.

In 1983, Serge accepted a position to help open the newly built Regent, Sydney. The hotel was lead by the visionary Ted Wright, a forward thinker and great hotelier. The Regent, Sydney was consistently voted in the top 10 hotels in the world.

Under his guidance, a new and exciting variety of produce soon surfaced - wild mushrooms, exotic herbs and lettuces, vegetables formerly unheard of, farmhouse cheeses Australians had only read about, unusual seafood, baby lambs, traditional game and a whole new selection of quality of market vegetables. Serge's reputation as a trendsetting chef was without parallels and his achievements earned the respect of the industry and the general public to this day.

In 1999 he helped design, rebuilt and open the iconic Bathers' Pavilion. An imposing white building, with an exterior reflecting Moorish architectural influences and distinctive Islamic fretwork, Bathers' Pavilion includes three Dansereau designed hi-tech kitchens that service a Restaurant, Cafe, Bar, Private Function Rooms, Terrace and Kiosk.

When the astonishingly beautiful and rejuvenated Bathers' Pavilion opened in August 1999, it almost immediately became one of Sydney's best and Australia's most acclaimed restaurants. Serge as the sole owner leads his team of talented chefs and directs the kitchens and the business to maintain its place as an innovative and iconic food destination.

In a country with a worldwide reputation for restaurant excellence, he continues at the forefront. He is considered one of the trendsetting and leading chefs of Australia.

Serge has in the past led many gastronomic tours to France and his deep knowledge makes him an ideal person to enhance everyone's experience. His last book 'French Kitchen" recently received the Award for Best French Cookbook (Australia) at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Paris and each booking for the Taste of Burgundy tour will receive a copy of his cookbook.

'I'm excited to be part of the 2012 Tastes of Burgundy tour and I look forward to help provide one of the best food experiences one could wish for in a superb culinary region and setting ', says Serge Dansereau."

Each of the renowned foodies has signed up to teach the one-week Tastes of Burgundy school experience in April, May and June 2012. Each week will include three 'cooking days", involving market visits (Dijon, Beaune and Chalon or Autun), menu design and afternoon cooking classes, culminating in an exquisite dinner each evening.

The 2011 tour saw illustrious chefs, Christine Manfield and Annie Smithers, lead participants through a culinary journey in Burgundy, with dishes to inspire and stimulate.

'I was thrilled to be part of the inaugural Tastes of Burgundy tour for 2011', says Christine Manfield of the highly acclaimed Universal Restaurant in Darlinghurst, Sydney. 'It was a wonderful culinary and wine experience with myriad taste sensations, the produce is inspiring' she says.

Andrew McConnell, Executive Chef and co-owner of Melbourne's Cutler & Co. Dining Room & Bar, Cumulus Inc and the recently opened Golden Fields in Melbourne and Kate Lamont, one of Western Australia's most successful chefs of Lamont's restaurant in Perth CBD, Cottesloe and the Margaret River will also be joining the 2012 tour.

Tastes of Burgundy is an opportunity to travel with one of three of Australia's most acclaimed and recognised chefs to a region of the world that is eponymous for its produce, food and wine.

A complete culinary experience from the beginning to the end.

Visit www.tastesofburgundy.com for more information.

Interview with Serge Dansereau

Question: What is the Tastes of Burgundy tour?

Serge Dansereau: Commencing in April 2012, Tastes of Burgundy will run 6 weeks of cooking schools in the iconic gourmet region of eastern France, La Bourgogne (Burgundy). Each Tastes of Burgundy weeklong experience will be individually led by the crème de la crème of the industry;
Serge Dansereau from one of Sydney's best and Australia's most acclaimed eating establishments, Bathers Pavilion on Sydney's Balmoral Beach;
Andrew McConnell, Executive Chef and co-owner of Melbourne's Cutler & Co. Dining Room & Bar, Cumulus Inc and the recently opened Golden Fields in Melbourne;
Kate Lamont, one of Western Australia's most successful chefs of Lamont's restaurant in Perth CBD, Cottesloe and the Margaret River.
Each of the renowned foodies have signed up to teach the one-week Tastes of Burgundy school experience in April, May and June 2012. Each week will include three 'cooking days", involving market visits (Dijon, Beaune and Chalon or Autun), menu design and afternoon cooking classes, culminating in an exquisite dinner each evening.


Question: What changes will we see in the Tastes of Burgundy 2012 tour?

Serge Dansereau: Tastes Of Burgundy 2012 will see Serge and guests visiting the wonderful markets of Dijon, Beaune and Autun; each market very unique to the other. Dijon is a huge indoor market designed by Gustuv Eiffel of the "tower" fame. Autun is just west of the Cote d'Or and is more humble with the produce stores located in the bowels of the city's municipal offices and Beaune is outdoors, colorful with local produce abound. From these great markets Serge will design the menu for the evening's dinner at the chateau which culminates from the afternoon cooking class. The chateau dinners are always full of fun and laughter and enjoyed with fabulous wine from the region personally selected by our sommelier Alexandre.


Question: What should participants expect from your cooking schools?

Serge Dansereau: The participants should expect an insight into the true regional cuisine of France paired with the great produce of Burgundy. The days will be mixture of market, wineries and small producer visits followed with cooking classes making use of the local ingredients. The classes will take into account each person's abilities and wish to be hands on or just observe. It will be a feast of good food, good wine and an opportunity to learn what makes France great.

They will learn how to make goat cheese gougères, guinea fowl with cabbage and a pochouse which is a local fish stew with white wine or even a typical boeuf Bourguignon. We might be following this with a chocolate and chestnut cake or an orange gateau.


Question: How would you describe Bathers Pavilion on Sydney's Balmoral Beach?

Serge Dansereau: The Café and Restaurant are a reflection of what is the best in Australia in terms of style, food and wine. The location on beautiful Balmoral Beach is unique and inspiring and provides a stunning setting for The Bathers' Pavilion a Heritage listed building that was carefully renovated to accommodate the Café and Restaurant. The food style is modern and fitting to the setting using a myriad of small grower's fresh produce. It is the best that Australia can offer in terms of food, wine and informed casual service.


Question: What originally inspired you to begin cooking, professionally?

Serge Dansereau: I started cooking because I was attracted by the environment of a professional kitchen and the many nationalities that worked in them, they seem to possess such an urbane and informed view of the world. I felt that it was a creative environment, one that you could succeed in if you worked hard and paid attention to the teaching. It seems also provide a great chance to work in other countries as the demand for chef was quite worldwide.


Question: What is your number one tip, for beginnings, in the kitchen?

Serge Dansereau: Read cookbooks, get inspired by them and develop a sense of what is possible, then go out and work hard, listen and write down any tips you learn along the way.


Question: Overall, what is your favourite ingredient?

Serge Dansereau: I am a big duck fan and have always been. I find duck such a versatile ingredients that fits in with my respect for tradition and my love for classic dishes, like duck confit, cassoulet, magret, foie gras and duck stew.


Chicken Confit with Mushroom, Fennel and Bacon

From Serge Dansereau, The Bathers' Pavilion
(Recipe appears in Serge's new cookbook 'French Kitchen")

This chicken confit is a revelatory experience, especially if you use a biodynamic or free-range chicken. The flavour of the dark meat of the chicken is enhanced, and the smoky bacon and fennel given this dish an appeal for a memorable meal.

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 chicken marylands (preferably organic, free range or corn fed)
2 French shallots, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
4 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
100 grams coarse salt or 50 grams sea salt
750 ml olive oil
4 slices streaky bacon, cut into strips
1 fennel blub, trimmed and cut into eights
200 grams Swiss brown or button mushrooms, halved
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 tablespoon flat leaf parsley

Method
Pat the chicken dry to remove any moisture and place in a large shallow roasting tray. Combine the shallots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and salt and spread over the chicken. Refrigerate for 4 – 6 hours.
Preheat the oven to 90˚C.
Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Put the chicken in a casserole dish so the marylands fit snugly in one layer. Pour on the olive oil and cook in the oven for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the dish for 1 hour. Drain, reserving some of the oil, then refrigerate the chicken for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Place a roasting tin in the oven to heat up, and when hot, add the bacon, fennel and a touch of oil from the confit. Cook for 20 minutes, turning the fennel from time to time to achieve a nice even colour. Remove from the oven and set aside in a warm place.
< Heat a little of the reserved confit oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add the mushrooms and butter and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are cooked through, then finish with the parsley. Add to the roasting tin with the fennel.
Dust the chicken with the flour. Heat a little confit oil in a clean frying pan over medium heat and sear the chicken, skin side first. When you have a nice golden colour, turn over and cook for 2 minutes, or until the chicken is brown and crispy.
Serve the vegetables and chicken together in a large serving platter or on individual plates with the chicken in the centre and the bacon, fennel and mushrooms scattered around the chicken.

Interview by Brooke Hunter
Image by William Meppem from French Kitchen published by ABC Books




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