Five minutes with... Francois Poulard, head chef Chiswick Woollahra
Brittany-born chef Francois Poulard — known as Frankie to his team —has taken the high-profile job of head chef at Chiswick Woollahra
Frankie, you have a big job satisfying the legion of Chiswick fans. Are you planning to bring in any changes or keep things as they are now you are in charge?
I’m not going change what Chiswick is, however I will definitely bring my own touch. Chiswick is, and will always be, about fresh, tasty and simple food in one of my favourite environments in Sydney. I’ll introduce a few surprises to our next menu.
You have been in Australia for five years. What have you learned about Australian cuisine and Australian tastes in that time?
The diversity of Australian produce is outstanding, with a variety of ingredients growing unique to their location. Australia is also one of the most open-minded countries when it comes to food, with a range of techniques and cuisines from all around the world. These two aspects combined result in beautiful Australian flavours.
Where do you see Chiswick’s place within the wider Australian food scene? Chiswick is definitely an institution in Sydney, yet it has evolved and progressed over time. We are constantly moving forward with the seasons, in a welcoming family environment.
We’re just hitting the autumnal weather now. Tellus what’s coming out of the Chiswick garden and what can we expect to see during the next month?
We have just planted all of the root vegetables —radishes, beetroots, turnips, carrots and fennel.Climbing beans will be a large part of our garden for the season. We are still enjoying all of the herbs such as mint, oregano, lemon balm, shiso and liquorice plant.
What should we eat off the autumn menu?
Our whole wood-fired rainbow trout is perfect for sharing this autumn. It’s accompanied with zesty lemon, capers and burnt butter. The Vannella stracciatella with fig, pistachio and garden rocketis delicious with a glass of Ata Rangi Lismore pinot gris, and of course, our signature Moran family lamb with cucumber, squash and mint sauce is always hard to go past.