Posts Tagged ‘neil perry’

Daniel Puskas/©A.Mintzes


Let me say that if the plate (assiette) of those Chefs are as generous and of the quality of their responses, we can  assume that we will have a great time. Every encounter was a wonderful discovery, but The Australians chefs blew me away! They have a very distinct personality and a very unique cuisine that mixes technique, technology and influences from Spain, Japan, Thailand as well as New Zealand.

It is not because of my Austalian roots (really!), that I am presenting to you a second chef from the same restaurant. It’s just that Sepia has been awarded ”Two Hats” in Australia and that Martin Benn was appointed Chef of the Year at the 2011 Good Food Guide Awards. And next to the chef Benn, there is the very talented chef Daniel Puskas.

Daniel Puskas was born in Sydney (Australia). He began his career as an apprentice chef at Tetsuya’s. From there Daniel travelled to London where he worked at Zuma restaurant (London). Back in Australia, Daniel Puskas took up a position at Marque Restaurant (See the Q+A with Mark Best). At Marque, he was nominated like the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Chef Award. After several others travels and stages, Daniel took up the kitchen of Oscillate Wildly (Sydney). And now, he acts as co-Chef of Sepia with the great chef Martin Benn.

Like the chef Bennhis cuisine is a cuisine of purity, experimentation and perfect mastering of French techniques and strong Japanese’s influence. It is a cuisine that tries the highlight of the essence of a product. Creativity at the service of Nature!



1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine and what is it main characteristics?

DPuskas- My approach to cooking is modern and progressive whilst using traditional techniques and a natural focus. I like my dishes to be clean and creative with a slight twist. I take inspiration from many different sources to incorporate into my cuisine, such as history, word play and people. I also take a lot from nature, trying to make sure the food looks organic, colorful and fresh. Above all, I try not to over complicate things, using only a few components per plate to allow the ingredients to speak for themselves.

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable?

DPuskas-My Nana’s greens beans. She grew these in the backyard and I remember picking them with her. As a child I refused to eat any other green beans.  

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes?

DPuskas- At the moment we are having a lot of fun with dashi at work. Dashi is a base stock made from kelp and bonito flakes and is a traditional and fundamental component to Japanese cuisine. The umami flavour of the dashi creates a lot of depth and complexity to the dishes without using heavy and rich sauces. Recently, we’ve been emulsifying flavoured butter into different dashi stocks. 

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine?

DPuskas- I am inspired by a variety of chefs, both local and overseas, for different reasons. Andoni, Bras and René Redzepi inspires me with their love of nature and natural approach to cooking, sourcing native and seasonal produce. On the other hand, Ferran and Albert Adria inspires me with their innovative modernist approach to cooking. They use new techniques and products to help achieve textures and tastes in food that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Heston (Blumenthal) playful yet refined cuisine is interesting in that it creates modern dishes based on historical foods and events.

Locally, Martin Benn, Mark Best, Dan Hunter and Ben Shewry are, in my eyes, defining and shaping Australian cuisine with their distinctly unique food. I also take a lot of inspiration from my close friends/chefs. We are always chatting about what we are up to in the kitchen and offering helpful advice. Without them I wouldn’t be the chef I am today.

5-(Scoffier) Eight years ago, we only know Tetsuya Wakuda like Great chef from Australia, but I have discovered with this Serie much fantastic chefs… and a really different (new) cuisine; French techniques with Asian influences and local products. Is there any an Australian signature in cuisine (in the world) presently?

DPuskas- Australia is close to Asia so we are influenced by its produce and ingredients and luckier for it. We are fortunate to have chefs like Neil Perry, Tetsuya, David Thompson, Kylie Kwong and Christine Mansfield to help us understand and use Asian foods and techniques. As a country, we are a very young and multicultural. This is helping to shape and develop our cuisine. I believe that the future of food in Australia will get stronger so that one day we will have a rich food history.

Sepia Kitchen/Photo Louise Lister

6-(Scoffier) You have worked with several excellent chefs; Tetsuya Wakuda, Mark Best, a stage at WD-50 and Alinea, and Martin Benn. Presently, you are a small but a really strong team at Sepia Restaurant. How do you work every day with Chef Martin Benn?

DPuskas- Martin Benn is an amazing chef and a great boss. It’s easy working alongside him in the kitchen because he’s a great motivator, mentor and friend. We work side by side on the pass everyday, with Martin controlling the service and me making sure things are running smoothly. Generally at some point we sit down with a coffee or a glass of wine and talk about new dishes that we are working on. We always discuss what we can do to change and develop new and existing dishes to improve them.

7-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) and construct the Saturday night chefs tasting menu at Sepia, a really popular experience?

DPuskas- Martin is very flexible and encourages all the kitchen staff to think about menu ideas for the Saturday deg. If one of the younger chefs has an idea they will approach us and be encouraged to develop it. Martin has always wanted his team to be included in everything. If a dish is a standout on the Saturday deg it will make its way on to the weekly menu.

8-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which?

DPuskas- Yes we love new and innovative ideas and techniques but we try not to lose focus of the original product. If we can make a dish without the use of different types of additives then we do it. One day I would love to have fancy equipment like gastrovacs and lyophilizes, but at the moment we have a pretty standard fit out.

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Daniel Puskas?

DPuskas-Recipe: Butter Poached Leek, Cooked and Raw Wild Garlic, Lentil Sprouts and Golden Dashi. 

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others?

DPuskas- I love being in the kitchen and inspiring the younger generation. My goal is to one day have my own restaurant cooking contemporary Australian food with a focus sustainability. To do this I plan to create seasonal menus and use produce from my own garden or sourced from local suppliers when possible.


RECIPE: Butter Poached Leek, Cooked and Raw Wild Garlic, Lentil Sprouts and Golden Dashi

Recipe Poached Leek/©A.Mintzes


-1 Baby Leek

-20g Lentils

-2 stems of Wild Garlic bulbs attached

-Baby Daikon Leaves

-Native Violets, Red Nasturtium

-20g of butter, 200mlOlive Oil

-5cm stick of Kelp,1 tea spoon, Mirin, liquid Shiro Dashi, 1Tbl spoon of white soy,

-500ml of water

-Xantham Gum

1. Leek: trim of the green on the leek and reserve for stocks or ash. Bag the leek with a little of the olive oil and 10g of butter. Season with salt and pepper and vac on full. Poach in a water bath around 70°C for about 10 mins or until soft to touch then refresh in an ice bath.

2. Sprouting lentils: using a small tray and paper towel, sprinkle the dried lentils onto the layer of paper towel and cover with another piece of paper towel then water, making sure it’s very wet and then keep in a warm part of the kitchen around 36°C making sure it stays moist. This will take about 2 days before you start to see the lentils sprout. Let them grow for another day and then store in the fridge.

3. Wild Garlic: get rid of any dirt on the bulbs of the garlic and try not to damage the leaves or separate them from the bulb.

4. Golden Dashi: bring the water up to boil with the stick of kelp. Once it boils remove kelp and then season with white soy and liquid dashi. Simmer and reduce slightly until you achieve the correct flavor, then emulsify the olive oil into the hot soup. You might not need all of the olive oil so be careful when adding to the soup. Thicken slightly with Xantham.

5. To finish, warm a pan with butter. Hold the garlic by the bulbs and wilt the green in the warm butter. Season with salt and pepper. Warm the leek in a water bath then remove from the bag and place it in the same pan to give it a little color on one side. Warm the dashi and dress the plate.  Finish with the violets, nasturtium and baby daikon leaves.



-Sepia Restaurant/Co-Chef Daniel Puskas/Chef Martin Benn

Ground floor, Darling Park

201 Sussex Street

Sydney (Australia) NSW 2000




-Chef of The Year 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/martin-benn-wins-chef-of-the-year-20100907-14yf3.html

Sydney Morning Herald, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/sepia-20100906-14xn0.html


Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2010


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Chef Mark Best/Photo: Stuart Scott


The Électrons Libres, is a group of chefs that are as individual or a leaders of a group have taken a unique route that goes beyond the learning process. Their philosophy transforms the cuisine of the present time as well as the cuisine of the future in a specific area (place) or country. Sometimes they are the leaders of a culinary movement but often, they are alone in their search. Mark Best is a good example of an ‘’Électron Libre’’ in Australia.   

At the age of 21, Mark Best was an electrician who worked in the gold mines of Western Australia. In 1990, while helping a friend in a kitchen, he discovered ”the stove” (art of cooking), this event will change his life.  At  25, he started an apprenticeship at the Macleay Street Bistro (Sydney) and only four years later he won the Josephine Pignolet Award for the Best Up and Coming Chef. Rapidly, he open his own restaurant, the Peninsula Bistro (a critical success), but he stopped everything and left for France. In France, he worked for 4 months (with no salary) at L’Arpège (Alain Passard’s restaurant). Soon after this apprenticeship, he returned to Australia, and opened the successful Marque Restaurant in Sydney (April 1999). 

The cuisine of Mark Best is actually one of the most creative cuisine in the world. Mark Best works with a small team (6-7 persons) and in a very small kitchen. Working under those conditions has made him modify and develop his aesthetic. Like Alain Passard, he uses the best ingredients and works on different textures, contrasts and harmony of flavors. All that allows him to create the most delicious dish possible, nothing superfluous! Just see his recipes (ocean trout, beetroot macaroons, crab-almond gazpacho etc.) to understand the uniqueness of his cuisine. It is Passard + Australian’s ingredients + Asian influence, but at the way of Mark Best! 

I finish with the words of Mark Best: I love the creative process. It is the reason I can get up every day and enjoy going to work… 


Q+A WITH MARK BEST (www.marquerestaurant.com.au):  

1-(Scoffier) How do you explain the philosophy behind your cuisine at MARQUE and what is it main characteristics? 

MBest- The cuisine at Marque is inspired and driven by seasonal produce. We bring this to a point of unnatural expression with a range of techniques, some old some new. The plates are to look entirely natural. I don’t like the technique to be visible. 

2-(Scoffier) Do you have a flavour or taste from your childhood that is again memorable? 

MBest- I guess the overriding taste memories would be from my mother’s family. All home grown vegetables, locally cured meats and pickled products. They were German immigrants who came to Australia in the 1850’s and maintain the food traditions to this day. 

3-(Scoffier) Do you have a particular foods (or products) that you often use in your recipes? 

MBest- The beetroot seems to keep popping up in our ideas. It is a poor man truffle. Rich, earthy, full of flavour and surprise. 

Beetroot Macaron/Photo: Stuart Scott

4-(Scoffier) Do you have a mentor (chefs or anybody else) that inspires you in your cuisine? 

MBest- The 4 month stage I did at L’Arpège in 1998 continues to inspire and inform my cuisine. Passard is a genius. We have had his Chaud-Froid Egg on since opening in 1999. It is a philosophical touch point and reminds me of the beauty and genius of simple things. 

5-(Scoffier) Eight years ago, we only know Tetsuya Wakuda like Great chef from Australia, but I have discovered with this Serie much extraordinary chefs… like you and a really different cuisine; French techniques with Asian influences and local products. Is there any an Australian signature in world cuisine presently? 

MBest- Tetsuya and Neil Perry broke the ground for the next generation of Australian chefs. I and my pears are indebted to them for their international success. Australia is unique in that we are a wealthy western nation that is physically part of Asia. Indonesia is the same distance as Perth in Western Australia. We are heavily influenced by our migration and the ingredients they bought with them. I think the cuisine in Australia is becoming quite defined and mature. My own cuisine while firmly based in French culinary philosophy is totally informed by the ingredients and techniques of the Asian region we are part of. 

Interior Marque/Photo: Stuart Scott

6-(Scoffier) How do you develop (your inspiration) your recipes and construct your menu? 

MBest- The recipes develop over time. They are part of a constant theme of evolution and refinement. A lot of small ideas come together (sometimes) into a big one.  I also credit the tiny kitchen and its physical limitations with the food aesthetic. It is very pared back and minimal. We only have 6-7 chefs and send 500 plates a night. Things have to be sharp. 

7-(Scoffier) I know that the chef Pascal Barbot (L’Astrance) take a lot of time choosing and picking his produces at the market. Do you spend as much of time to choose and pick your produces? 

MBest- I have known Pascal since my time at L’Arpège and I think we share some similar culinary ideas. The great deal of our time is spent sourcing unique product. Knowing what to do with it is never a problem. The best produce immediately tells you what it needs to tell its story 

8-(Scoffier) Do you use some elements from molecular gastronomy or new technology in your cooking techniques? If yes, which? 

MBest- We keep a close eye on the culinary world and the latest technique. The trick is to integrate these techniques into Marque cuisine. 

9-(Scoffier) Can you give us a detailed recipe (Signature dish or other) that is characterized the cuisine of Mark Best and Marque Restaurant? 

MBest- My recipe is one of the Marque classics “Blue Swimmer Crab with Almond Gazpacho, Corn Custard, Jelly & Almond oil” The original idea was the combination of crab and almonds. After that it was a matter of expanding on the textures. The crab is king in this dish. 

10-(Scoffier) What is your goal (ambitions) as chef or for your restaurant? Do you think about write a book, a television show, others? 

MBest- My ambition is to have my restaurant full every day of my wonderful customers who demand the best from us. 


RECIPE: Crab with Almond Gazpacho & Sweet Corn Custard 

Crab with Almond Gazpacho.../Photo: Stuart Scott


Corn Custard: 

-8 cobs of corn 

1. Method: shave corn off the cob close to the core, blitz and pass through fine sieve and cook liquid out in thermomix at 80*  for 4mins. If not thickened continue with 45 second intervals until thick. 

Gazpacho (almond): 

-200g slivered almonds 

-200g soaked bread 

-Sherry vinegar to taste 

-150ml olive oil 

-Half clove garlic 

-750ml water 

-Salt and pepper 

1. Method: In thermomix blend almonds, bread, olive oil and garlic until smooth paste, slowly add water until desired consistency, season with sherry vinegar and salt & pepper. pass through fine sieve. 

Almond milk: 

-300g slivered almonds 

-350ml cinzano bianco 

-3 clove garlic 

-10 peppercorns 

-2L milk 

1. Method: reduce bianco with the almonds peppercorns and garlic until dry, add milk and infuse on low heat until warm, do not boil. Blitz with stick blender and pass through fine sieve. 

Almond jelly: 

-400ml almond milk 

-2 1/3 sheets of gelatine soaked in cold water 

1. Method: warm 100ml almond milk and dissolve gelatine, whisk in the rest of the almond milk and set in fridge. Once set, place jelly in kitchen aid and whip on high until it looks like a meringue, set in a container 5 – 8cm deep. Keep in fridge. 

Popcorn powder: 

-Corn kernels 

-Clarified butter 

1. Method: heat clarified butter in pan, add corn kernels to cover the base of the pan, when first one pops cover with lid and keep pan moving, until corn has popped. In thermomix blitz popcorn on high speed till fine powder, season with salt. 

Blue swimmer crab: 

-8 blue swimmer crabs 

1. Method : take legs and back off crab, remove filters and steam on 100* for 8mins. 

Other ingredients: 

-1st pressing almond oil 

-Avruga herring roe 



-Marque Restaurant/Executive Chef Mark Best (Head Chef Pasi Petanen) 

4/5 355 Crown Street   

Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia 



-Review(s) :       

1. Sydney Morning Herald, Restaurant of the Year 2010, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/marque-crowned-sydneys-top-restaurant-20100906-14xyz.html

2.Redvisitor (vidéo), Voted 67th Best Restaurant in the World 2010, http://www.redvisitor.com/Local-Experts/Interview-Mark-Best.html 

3. 702 ABC Sydney, January 2009, http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/01/31/2478260.htm 

4. The Sydney Morning Herald, September 2009, http://www.smh.com.au/news/entertainment/good-living/chef-of-the-year–mark-best/2009/09/08/1252201213352.html  

OceanTroutLemonDillJelly/Photo: Stuart Scott

-Vidéo(s) :  MasterClass, World Gourmet Summit 2007  

1. Crab with Almond, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEN5aaPpmjU 

2. Cured Ocean Trout, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fi1PqlNtE-s&feature=related 

3. Citrus Marshmellow, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fi-gDk8N7pc 


Tous droits réservés. Copyright Scoffier © 2008-2010

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