Kitchen spy: Guillaume Brahimi
Guillaume Brahimi in his home kitchen in Vaucluse. Photo: James Brickwood
Paris-born chef Guillaume Brahimi is living the dream, albeit a frantically busy one as he runs three acclaimed restaurants - the fine diner Guillaume at Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House and more casual bistros in Melbourne and Perth. Brahimi lives by Sydney Harbour with his wife, Sanchia, three daughters and an 18-month-old son who is Guillaume in miniature. His kitchen is dream-like as well, with a benchtop-to-ceiling cupboard dedicated to Riedel glassware, a walk-in pantry and coolroom; there is so much storage he cannot fill it all.
My pantry I always have extra virgin olive oil; I love a French brand from Chateau d'Estoublon to dress salads. It goes well with La Vecchia Dispensa 10-year-old balsamic or Forum Chardonnay vinegar for a simple vinaigrette. I also like to drizzle Colonna lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil over risotto or fish. Murray River pink salt, Simon Johnson carnaroli rice and Cav. Giuseppe Cocco spaghetti.
My fridge The girls love roast chicken, so I quite often have a Saskia Beer chicken from the Barossa in the fridge. I have a nice piece of Comte to make jamon and cheese toasties for the occasional naughty late-night snack after work. We also have packs of Vaalia yoghurt, which is great for the kids.
Two books that I really love: Alain Ducasse's Grand Livre de Cuisine and Thomas Keller's Bouchon.
There's a little cafe near my home that has the best barista for miles around. I go there every day on my way to work and order a double-shot macchiato and it's perfect. I drink peppermint tea after 4pm. I have a cellar, so I like to have a glass of wine when I cook, anything from a William Downie Pinot from Victoria to any wine from Burgundy or Bordeaux - I'm a big Francophile.
Saturday night tipple Gin and tonic made with Tanqueray No. 10 and fresh lime.
Last dinner at home Chicken risotto with peas and speck, with Joseph extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon zest grated over the top. It was bloody delicious. I'd poached the chicken gently for about four hours, so when I took the flesh off the bones, it was buttery.
Kit Kats, which I keep stashed in the pantry, out of the kids' sight.
My tool kit
I love my Tefal French Heritage pans. Cooking with them is a pleasure, the non-stick surface makes cooking a piece of salmon or snapper so easy, and the no washing up is an added bonus. I also love my little grater, which smells permanently of lemon zest.
Favourite My Del Ben knife block; it looks like a rugby ball and the knives are beautiful. It is my two favourite things combined - rugby and cooking.
I have recently discovered an amazing Australian butter from the Myrtleford Butter Factory. It tastes just like French butter, but is much fresher because it hasn't travelled all that way.
Most memorable meal
I went to the French Laundry in California twice, about five years apart, with my wife, Sanchia. We had a 20-course degustation but it was like 40 courses because each course had the main ingredient served two ways. It was so perfect the first time we thought we couldn't go back or we'd be disappointed. But we went back last year for Sanchia's birthday and it was as good if not better. Everything right down to the service and the way the night flowed was perfect. It's the definition of fine dining for me.