Home' Scoop : Scoop 50 Summer 2009 Contents SCOOP SUMMER 2009 173
of many a continental establishment, by a discreet
entrance in a side laneway.
Crisp white linen tablecloths adorn tables that
are generously spaced, and wooden chairs, uphol-
stered in rich tones of red, add a hint of flamboy-
ance to its old-world ambience. Service is discreet
and understated rather than intrusive.
But it’s the food that transports you to another
world. Elegant, classically inspired dishes that
surprise and dazzle with their subtlety, skill, and at
times, whimsy -- they beg a return visit.
Together Marianne and Hans bring a combined
70 years culinary experience to the table, and it
shows in every gesture and dish. Now in their early
50s, the couple met in their native Germany in
1978 not long after they’d completed their appren-
ticeships – Hans in Baden-Baden, in the western
foothills of the Black Forest, and Marianne in
Wurzburg, in the northern tip of Bavaria – and
have been together ever since.
Together they have clocked up stints in various
hotels and restaurants around Europe, including
a three Michelin-star establishment that Hans
credits with "opening the door to a whole new set
of possibilities" before they did a Masters degree in
cooking at the Hotelfachschule in Bad Kissingen, a
spa town outside Wurzburg.
"You can't be a head chef in a kitchen in Ger-
many without a Masters degree,” says Hans. “But
we also wanted to travel," adds Marianne. A desire
to go to New Zealand and the US drew them first
to Melbourne, where they found work as chefs at
the Regent hotel by night, and studied English by
day, which they admit "was a bit tough".
But a year later they were invited to set up
"We never got to New Zealand or the US," says
Marianne, "because Perth was actually so beautiful
we stayed on, and we’re still here 23 years later.”
Fourteen of those years were spent at Burswood
where after setting up Windows, Marianne soon
notched up an enviable reputation as its head
chef and Hans became executive chef of the entire
hotel, and her boss.
There, they were also together with Alain
Fabregues, among the first to introduce truffles
to WA tables, as well as white asparagus, morel,
chanterelle and cepe mushrooms and yabbies.
"If there was something different and we could
get it, the hotel supported it. It wasn't a financial
issue. We had a lot of freedom,” says Hans. But a
change in management meant that menus couldn't
be altered without "a whole lot of red tape and
meetings". So the couple took a year off to think
about their future in 2001. They decided they
wanted to cook and open a restaurant and do the
food they wanted, with a bit more spontaneity.
Originally they were thinking along the lines of
a small bistro with a cooking school attached, but
when the old Campo di Fiore site came up for sale,
they jumped at the chance.
"Everybody loved the European ambience, and
there was nothing that needed to be organised.
The kitchen was a good size, there was a wine
cellar, as well as cellar just for red wine and a
storage area for wines you don't want to cellar but
just keep," says Hans. "Just from a set-up point of
view, it was really what you would see in a large
hotel. So we bought it and the week after, we
opened up." They named the restaurant Gala, after
the wife and muse of Spanish surrealist painter
Salvador Dali, but as to deciding who would run
the front of house and who would preside over the
kitchen, the couple like to say they tossed a coin.
"And I lost," laughs Marianne, before admitting
in face of Hans's mirth, "OK, since I wouldn't be
patient enough with the customers, I stay in the
kitchen. They lock me out there."
But the couple do toss around ideas together. And
7 egg whites
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp plain flour
1 vanilla pod or vanilla essence
finely grated skin of 1/2 a lemon
Whip eggwhite to soft peak with 1/3 of the
sugar. Add the rest of the sugar and whisk to a
meringue texture and firmness, add egg yolks,
cornflour, flour, grated lemon rind, and vanilla
and carefully fold under eggwhite mixture.
Pour some milk into the ceramic baking tray,
spoon mixture on top with a large spoon,
shaped like a large quenelles. Bake in pre-heat-
ed oven for approximately 15 minutes at 180°C.
Remove and dust with icing sugar and serve.
RECOMMENDED WINE: Giribaldi Moscato d'Asti
DOCG from Italy
« Serves 2-3
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