We chat to Helm Bar & Bistro head chef Frederic Booms about what makes him tick in the kitchen.
When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?
“I grew up in the north of Paris, France, and always worked with food. I started working in a boulangerie in Paris where I learned the basics of cooking in a bakery. By the age of 25, I decided to take cooking seriously and started the processes of becoming a chef.”
What does it take to be a successful chef?
“Dedication, time, passion and a lot of training which is on going with other great chefs learning their styles, techniques and skills. You need to be organised, meticulous in presentation and always strive to be better.”
Is there one dish you still struggle to get right?
Worst job you have ever had?
“Sales person for a construction materials company … was hard to be passionate about that!”
What is your signature dish?
“Helm Veal and Lamb Shank Pie – a lot of love and work goes into each and every one.”
What is unique about your restaurant?
“Its superb location, as well as value for money, quality food made using fresh produce.”
Who or what inspires you in the kitchen?
“The team I work with, that I have behind me. A good team is invaluable.”
What is the chef serving in foodie heaven?
What is the most bizarre dish you’ve ever tried?
“When I first arrived in Australia I ate crocodile.”
What is one question people are always asking you?
“What is your accent?”
What is your biggest food indulgence?
How do you have your coffee?
“Flat white, full cream milk always with one sugar.”
What ingredient are you obsessed with right now?
“Fresh seafood. Australia has some of the best fresh seafood in the world all year round!”
Which three people would to invite to a dinner party?
“Billy Conolly, Robin Williams, Julia Gillard – that would make for a very funny party.”
What is your best tip for home cooks?
“Commit to what you are cooking, be confident, always taste at every stage of the process. Use the freshest ingredients and don’t over complicate the food.”
Where is your favourite place to travel?
Describe your perfect day off.
“A beautiful restaurant with my closest friends. A long lunch – Great food, wine and company.”