Guillaume Brahami is one of the finest proponents of modern French cuisine in Australia so when I was invited to attend the launch of prestigious French cookware company Tefal’s new Heritage range of pans at his eponymous restaurant Guillaume at Bennelong recently, I jumped at the chance to tick this restaurant off my bucket list.
Guillaume at Bennelong is part of the Sydney Opera House complex. It is a stark, bright, cavernous space that makes the most of its prime position overlooking Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. It’s hard not to admire the engineering that went into Jorn Utzon’s masterpiece which is even more evident in this building with the exposed concrete ribs forming the sails on display high above our heads.
Befitting its location in the Opera House Complex, a string quartet played a series of concertos as the invited guests milled around sipping Champagne and marvelling at the beautiful table settings and the spectacular view.
It wasn’t long before we were seated for lunch and the first dish in our 3 course meal was served.
We started with Green Asparagus, local lobster, poached egg and sterling caviar. The egg white was almost translucent yet the egg was perfectly cooked prompting a question to Guillaume. “How do you poach your eggs?” Guillaume responded that they are poached in the shell at 30 degrees Celsius and the temperature is gradually raised to 60 degrees to achieve that texture. The man is nothing if not fastidious with his cooking.
Our second course was Pan Seared Snapper With Sauce Vierge which we were told had been cooked in the Tefal Heritage Fry Pan and served with Guillaume’s legendary artery hardening Paris Mash and braised vegetables. I love the way that Guillaume made the braised vegetables and the snapper the equal heroes in this dish. It was simple, but the quality of the freshly picked vegetables (picked that day) really shone through.
Finally it was time for dessert and a delicious Nougat Glacé with Citrus Crepes was theatrically presented at the table in the Tefal Heritage Crepe Pan. If that wasn’t enough, a superb selection of delicate petit fours followed with coffee. An absolutely outstanding lunch.
So what about the pans? After all, this was the whole point of the exercise. After the event, the attendees were each given a 30cm Tefal Heritage Non-stick Frypan to take home and use for ourselves. So are they any good? In a word, yes. I find the heavy base of the pan distributes heat evenly when I cook without burning the food. I like the red dot telling me when the pan is hot enough to cook, I also need to use very little oil when cooking. I don’t know how it compares to the other ranges that Tefal offer, but I can honestly say that my poor high end Danish frypan (you know the brand) is languishing in the cupboard at the moment.
Jeremy Bowell attended Guilliaume at Bennelong as a guest of Tefal.