Beyond my love of both working and dining in bistros, this project was an opportunity to help create a new French bistro in a fantastic area in Sydney.

Solotel is an amazing people-focused business to work for and has a tonne of experience to bring a terrific venue to Rozelle and the surrounding neighbourhoods.

I think Chez Blue will be a fantastic neighbourhood bistro offering for both locals and visitors that will complement an already vibrant suburb. I hope it’s the kind of venue people will want to dine at frequently.

The development of the menu was a collaboration between myself and Group Executive Chef Patrick McDermott. The menu features French bistro classics, but we’re also keeping food light and fresh for a Sydney clientele.

Guests can expect a menu of great bistro classics including pâté and steak frites as well as some unique twists on classic dishes. The tuna tartare, for example, is a playful take on a tuna niçoise salad, which I think will be popular. I’m also excited to show off our dessert trolley — more to come on that!

Working with Damien Pignolet was an incredible privilege. His knowledge and passion for cuisine, especially French cuisine, is incredible. I was constantly learning while I was working with him.

I particularly enjoyed learning about charcuterie — making pâtés, terrines, sausages. Of course, I made a lot of soufflés during my time working with him, too.