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But as for all the media hype and public atten-
tion that went with those roles, he murmurs, "well,
it s just not my cup of tea".
Andrew has worked alongside some of the
biggest names -- and egos -- in the celebrity chef
business during his 27-year career as a chef.
He came to food "by accident" at the age of 17,
when he landed a part-time job washing dishes at
a hotel, and was asked to help out in the kitchen
when the chef fell ill.
He never looked back.
As a young chef under the watchful eye of
Raymond Blanc at the prestigious Le Manoir aux
Quat Saisons in Oxford, the only country house
hotel in Britain to hold its two Michelin star status
uninterrupted for 25 years, he worked alongside
Gordon Ramsay and Steven Terry. He also had a
stint at La Gavroche under Albert Roux, and 90
Park Lane under Nico Ladenis, to name but a few.
In many ways, says Andrew, he came of age in the
kitchen just as the era of the celebrity chef dawned.
"It was a very heady time," he recalls, "and at
the time, it really gave haute cuisine and catering a
new life really."
He acknowledges the seminal influence of
Raymond Blanc, one of the forerunners of British
cuisines but cites Marco Pierre White as being the
most inspirational at the time, "because he brought
a whole new attitude and style to catering."
Currently, he notes the profound influence of
Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Waring on not just
himself, but a whole generation of chefs, by way of
their "clean, precise presentation, and honest, pure
flavours. There s nothing hidden".
Indeed what s influenced this 46-year-old chef
from all his years rubbing shoulders with the key
drivers of modern British food, is not a desire for
the celebrity route taken by many of his col-
leagues, but a no-nonsense professionalism and
abiding desire to further the career of others.
In fact, what Andrew is proudest of, he says,
are the many awards that have been bestowed on
his young chef proteges, among them three who ve
gone on to win their own Michelin stars. "Now,
that s a good feeling."
If you ask him the question which is on
everyone s lips: why it is he should be in Perth,
he ll attribute it to "good Karma", because it was
thanks to the lavish praise heaped on him by three
of his former apprentices who did stints in WA
working for Friends, that Clyde Bevan heard of
him in the first place.
When Andrew first conceived of moving to
Australia he started making job enquiries and word
soon got out to Clyde, who sent him a note saying,
"we ve just employed a chef, but if ever the stars
align, I d love for you to come and work for us."
Three weeks later that chef didn t work out,
so Clyde emailed Andrew and said, "when can you
But in reality, the move to Perth was prompted
by a desire to escape what he calls the "rat race in the
UK". As executive chef at Heathcote he was leaving
home at 7.30 in the morning and wasn t getting
home until nearly 2.30am.
His wife, too, particularly longed for the sun
and freedom of Australia for their two youngest
children, aged five and six, and matters came to a
head after she was hit by a bus, although thank-
fully not seriously hurt.
All in all he says, he s taken to Perth -- and to
Friends like a duck to water.
"It s a much better environment, nicer atmos-
phere and gives me time with my children in the
morning, and to play with them on a Sunday."
He also finds the classic fine dining style of
Friends too, "very similar to The Longridge."
Size too is comparable, with Friends seating
between 70 and 80 guests on weekends, and up to
140 on entertainment nights.
But staffing levels were a different matter, with
Clyde and Lesley tending front of house with a team
of seven front-of-house staff, and only five in the
kitchen, it was a far cry from what he was used to.
"There, there were seven chefs. Here I ve got
two qualified chefs and two apprentices, and the
apprentices, to be honest, were not getting the
feedback or skills that they really need to take the
"They re good lads, and they re willing to learn
and do the work. So I started with that, going back
more or less to basics, and simplified the menu to
build their confidence and skills up."
Andrew also introduced a strict policy of
"fresh only" produce, and of making everything --
from biscuits, breads and pastas to petit fours, ice
creams and chocolates -- in-house.
He is proud of the fact that only six months
PISTACHIO NUT SOUFFLE
« Serves 4-6
Boil milk and vanilla in a saucepan.
Combine egg yolks, sugar, flour and cornflour in a
mixing bowl using a whisk.
Pour hot milk over the egg mix and stir well. Pour
back into your saucepan and place back on a gentle
heat, continually stirring for about five minutes until
the pastry cream thickens. Remove from the heat
and scrape into a clean mixing bowl, add the ground
pistachio and mix in well.
Place your souffle dishes in the freezer. When cold,
brush the softened butter into the mould, brushing in
upward strokes. Repeat this twice.
When you have two coats, coat with the sugar. Whisk
the egg whites until firm and airy. Slowly add all the
sugar, whisking all the time until the meringue gets a
shine. It should not get over-whipped as this makes
the meringue unstable.
As a general rule for souffle, use one dessertspoon
of pastry cream to three spoons of meringue.
To make four souffles, place four dessertspoons
of the pistachio pastry cream in a clean bowl, add
four dessertspoons of meringue, beat in well until
smooth, then add eight heaped dessertspoons of
the meringue and fold in gently until all incorporated
and there are no white blobs of meringue. Fill each
dish with the souffle base, scrape the top to smooth
and run you thumbnail around the edge to clean the
sides. Bake in the oven at 175ºC for 8-10 minutes.
Depending on the oven the souffle, should be well
risen. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.
RECOMMENDED WINE: Taylor Ferguson Willbriggie
Estate Riverina Botrytis Semillon 2002.
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
100g ground pistachio
70g soft butter
sugar to coat
For the meringue:
4 egg whites
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