PERTH foodies’ hearts were set aflutter last year when leading Sydney chef Guillaume Brahimi announced he would branch out with a restaurant in the west.
The countdown is almost over with Bistro Guillaume opening tomorrow at the re-branded Crown Perth in Burswood, joining a local food phenomenon dubbed the French revolution, with a string of new-wave Gallic eateries popping up in the past 12 months.
“There has been Italian, Spanish and Mexican everywhere in Australia so it’s like the French are back, but they never really left,” he said.
The Michelin-trained Parisian – star of SBS’ French Food Safari – has been something of a quiet achiever since moving to Sydney two decades ago to open a small restaurant in Kings Cross called Pond.
For the past 10 years, he has headed up flagship Sydney Opera House restaurant, Guillaume at Bennelong, and in 2008, launched Bistro Guillaume at Crown Melbourne.
A third restaurant in Perth seemed a no-brainer, heeding the advice of confidante Neil Perry, of Rockpool Bar & Grill.
“It will be a challenge, but where would you like to be? In a state that is booming,” Brahimi said.
The tireless 47-year-old appeared on Masterchef Australia earlier this year and believes the show deserves some credit for educating Australians about food.
“You’d be mad to say (the industry) doesn’t need this show and the press,” Brahimi said.
“You can’t ignore 1.8 million viewers a night.
“Never underestimate the power of free-to-air TV.”
Despite a hectic schedule, Brahimi is a devoted family man – he has three girls aged 12, nine and six, and a nine-month-old boy – and enjoys leisurely walks, and coffee-table art and photography books as a way of relaxing.
Citing travel as an important source of inspiration, he will return to France in November to attend a three-day lavish affair celebrating the 25th anniversary of Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV restaurant in Monaco.
“A chef is a researcher – it’s not about going to find ideas but to see what the world is doing,” Brahimi said.
Brahimi will be in Perth for the first few weeks of trade before stepping back and visiting about once a month.