Head chef at Song Kitchen Charlotte Gonzales is driven by a respect for produce and different cuisines. After working the pans as sous chef at Merivale’s Fred’s, the Gabon-born French chef is coming into her own at Song Kitchen.

I became a chef because from a very young age I have always loved cooking and from the moment I stepped into my first role in a professional kitchen I absolutely loved it! Right away I was inspired by the passion, the intensity and the exhilarating atmosphere.

The biggest influence on my cooking has been my Dad. He is a brilliant cook, always dishing me up delicious food at home and continually looking for a better recipe for dishes that are already unreal.

Another major influence in my career was working at l`Atelier Restaurant in France. The dynamic environment in the kitchen fascinated me and the vision of food [Jean-Luc] Rabanel has is unbelievable. It’s like a theatre. The food is a dance of many flavours, colours and beautiful smells. Bring all those ingredients together and it’s a perfect fusion!

Everywhere is unique and special for different reasons, which is one of the wonderful things about travelling and tasting different cuisines. Although so many European cuisines, techniques and flavours are present in Australia’s dining scene it’s a different continent with different cultures and produce. I love the produce here and through using techniques I learnt early in my career in Europe I am showcasing the beautiful fresh flavours of Australia’s best seasonal produce.

The Song Kitchen is all about eating delicious food for a good cause. I love the word artisanal and I think it’s a great translation of what we do at The Song Kitchen. The food is very authentic and every dish is made with love.

In the kitchen we use Australia’s best seasonal produce and focus on creating simple dishes that let the high quality of this produce shine. Diners can make a difference at The Song Kitchen with 100 percent of profits going towards YWCA NSW’s much needed support programs for Australians experiencing domestic violence.

The number one challenge in the kitchen is flexibility and consistency. As a chef you need to be able to adapt smoothly to any situation. You need to be prepared and stay as cool as a cucumber when under pressure! Or at least act as cool as a cucumber!

But I love the atmosphere in the kitchen and working with passionate people. Being able to conceptualise a dish and put something on a plate you have created is an incredible feeling. It’s a team effort in a kitchen, where brainstorming and experimenting with flavours help create a beautiful dish on the menu.

I am very proud to be part of YWCA NSW, doing what I love and at the same time being able to contribute to making the world a better place through giving diners the opportunity to make a difference everyday.

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