Having a recognised chef cook dinner in your own home sounds incredibly cost-prohibitive, but factor in babysitters and taxis, and a night out could be better off spent as a night in.
Celebrated chef Laurent Siloret, who has worked around the world in a career spanning 25 years, is now offering his in-your-home cooking service, My Kitchen Chef, to the people of Melbourne.
Founded in Perth in 2011, My Kitchen Chef allows clients to relax in their own environment, with drinks of their choice and the full attention of a qualified chef. At the end of the night, it must be hard to watch them leave.
Siloret has worked around the world in a career spanning 25 years and believes bringing fresh produce into people’s houses for special occasions makes financial sense. After doing the sums for a party of four or more, you may think so too.
Born and trained in France, he worked in Michelin-starred restaurants before becoming a personal chef, travelling the world on yachts and catering for the rich and famous, including Sean Connery.
With that insider’s view, Siloret understands the benefits of entertaining at home and works with the client to plan and prepare suitable menus. Plus there may be a story or two to hear while he’s hard at work.
BISTRO enjoyed speaking with the executive chef and owner of My Kitchen Chef about his European past, his Australian present and what draws food lovers to this kind of dining experience.
BISTRO: What is it about Michelin-starred chefs that set them apart?
LAURENT SILORET: Working in Michelins has always been prestigious – it’s the perfection that makes the reputation of it. No matter where you go around the globe, the Michelin stars sign is always an object of excellence.
B: What brought you to Australia?
LS: Australia has always been in my heart, especially the natural beauty. It is such a big country that it makes me relax, compared with the stress and busy life of Europe. Australia has a lot to offer to the world.
B: Is there enough of a market in Australia to provide personal chef experiences?
LS: As a personal chef for many years with VIPs, l had an idea to bring this concept to anyone. The experience of having a chef in your home is brilliant, as we live in a fast world and most people really appreciate sitting and relaxing at home. My next project will be to provide healthy meal plans for all clients who don’t have the time, by bringing in a chef to cook a few meals with a decent budget.
B: Can you compare the produce in Australia to that of France?
LS: From my experience so far in Australia, l will say that in WA there needs to be a big improvement, but from the East Coast l do not know really much. Now I’ve heard that they are very, very good … well you just have to look also at Heston Blumenthal, who moved his brigade to Australia, for a reason.
Europe is an old continent. France is my native country and it has a culture about food. We breathe food all the time, the same as Italy, Spain, England and many others. Australia is a new country and we’re getting there. The beef and lamb are excellent, and the fish, the seafood, is amazing, but I still do not understand why it’s so expensive.
B: You cook in the client’s own kitchen. Do you sometimes have to compromise, based on the kitchen you’re working in?
LS: Cooking in a client’s place is good fun and challenging sometimes, but l love it. It’s so amazing to see my clients smiling and asking questions when l cook for them. I bring my own pots, pans and tools and just use the oven and stovetop. Sometimes the oven can be tricky, especially if you want to bake a nice soufflé.
B: What do you think of the standard of French restaurants in Australia?
LS: Regarding French restaurants in Australia, with my experience dining in them, l haven’t been impressed by anyone, but I need to explore those ones from Melbourne.
B: Would you consider opening a restaurant in Australia at some stage?
LS: Yes, l would love to open my own restaurant or café one day, as l have many ideas and with an investor that could be a solution. I’m not sure if l would cook only French cuisine, as l am very creative and love all types of cuisine from around the world.
B: You have worked with Joël Robuchon, Guy Savoy and Jean-Claude Blanc
How important is it to work with great chefs as part of training and education?
LS: It was my best experience, working with them. It was very hard, as you know we learn everyday no matter the age, but that moment was really stressful, with high pressure to be perfect all the time and with long hours and sacrifices.
B: If you had a child who wanted to be a chef, which country would you send him or her, and why?
LS: Well, l have a son already who has told me he wants to be a chef and l told him, you need to be sure. It’s a hard game and you have to love it with passion. The country l will send him to first will be France, and will follow with Italy.
B: Can you give us any stories about your time working overseas as a personal chef?
LS: As a personal chef, I have so many stories! l can’t tell you them, as it will take too long, but l’ll give you one shot! I was in the Bahamas, near the Exuma Islands, in the middle of nowhere, on a yacht. My captain told me we have a special guest today and l have to organise a barbeque. I had three hours! I made fresh bread, as this special guest loves bread, and this special guest was the King of Sweden with his daughter. They were so nice and polite.