Damien Pignolet Cooking School

Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure and luck to spend some time in the kitchen with Australian cooking legend Damien Pignolet. Damien has had over 40 years in the food industry running some iconic and legendary restaurants: Pavilion on the Park, Claudes, Bistro Moncur and Cleopatra Guesthouse to name a few. He has published 2 books, currently working on his third and teaches classes at Accoutrement, Simon Johnson Cooking School and the Fish Market cooking School. The day was hosted at an amazing home of some locals – 10 of us spent from 1-5pm working on the menu alongside Damien then we headed home to get frocked up and head back at 7pm for champagne and canapes drinking in the most amazing view, followed by the amazing 3 course meal. I’m still pinching myself that I got to be a part of it all – it was an absolute joy – every last bit.

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Not a bad walk up the hill to the house in the early evening light….the most picture perfect cool spring evening.

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A what a view to drink in with the most delicious terrine I’ve EVER had!

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We all sat down to enjoy the menu at the beautiful table for all 22 of us.

Salt Cod Brandade with poached egg en brioche & saffron hollandaise sauce

Ballotine of chicken with confit garlic and basil
Chicken essence
Rice pilaf with peas and carrot
Broccoli with almonds

Passionfruit and praline souffle

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The highlight of the night for me was leaving the table with Rob after the main to go and watch 22 souffles being made. We got our own private show – watching and tasting as we went and of course the end result being the most delicate, delicious souffle I’ve eaten. So good that I didn’t take a photo. And you know what happens when you hang in the kitchen? You get to lick the bowl of course…and I’m here to tell you they were some pretty delicious bowls!

French food is something else isn’t it? So much butter. So much cream. So many steps and such an extraordinary end result. The cooking requires skill and practice, and with this day under my belt I reckon I might just keep having a crack.

bon appétit!


  1. Corrie Sebire says

    what a once in a lifetime experience! stunning! everything about it looks fabulous!!!!!! and yes I just loved that kitchen. thank you for sharing those pics with us……………..

  2. Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo says

    Chicken essence? Yeah, I think I will pass on that one, sounds terrifying.

  3. fauxfuschia says

    It’s so nice to see some caul fat and a lovely copper bowl on a blog.

    I’ve had some of the happiest moments of my life at Bistro Moncur. And the people watching is always good too.

  4. Um wow… Just totally wow.. We were talking about moving your way over dinner..

    Your post has done nothing to dampen that!

  5. What a wonderful opportunity for you Beth! Damien’s sister is a good friend of my mother’s and I’ve been lucky enough to receive both of his gorgeous cookbooks (signed!!) as gifts. There’s a wealth of information in them and his Beurre Blanc is to die for! To spend time watching him work is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Lucky you! 🙂

  6. SO so good! What an amazing experience, and you are just the person to do it justice.

  7. Lisa Mckenzie says

    How amazing,I am sure you learnt a lot and will practice some of what your learnt at home,Lovely pics Beth it looks beautiful xx

    • BabyMacBlogBeth says

      Thanks Lisa…I’m not sure how much will translate into my kitchen but I have the French book so you never know!

  8. Yum! Fun day!

  9. ahoy.jenni says

    Looks excellent but not very gluten free dairy free!
    My French friends showed me how to make an apple tart. So simple, so stylish.
    I want to be French in my next life!

  10. What an awesome experience! The best food we had on our honeymoon was in Paris. Not one bad meal was had. And I think I developed an addiction to Nutella crepes during those 2 weeks…!

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