Damien Pignolet's Profile

Chef Damien Pignolet
With over 40 years working in the food industry, Damien Pignolet is widely regarded as one of Australia's best chefs. Passionate about his French heritage and continuously inspired by his mother's cookery, Damien has gone on to create some of the best restaurants in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs (the acclaimed Claude's and Bistro Moncur amongst them) and has re-defined standards in pub dining. Damien began his foray into the world of food after a four year course in catering and hotel management at William Angliss College in Melbourne. Six years after graduating, Damien's dream was realised when he was appointed Executive Chef of Pavilion on the Park in 1978, then one of Sydney's top restaurants. In 1981 Damien and his wife Josephine bought Claudes, devoting over 12 years to establishing the highly acclaimed boutique restaurant. Working with the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Food Guide, Damien established ‘The Josephine Pignolet Award' for young chefs in 1989 in honour of his wife Josephine who died in a tragic car accident in 1987. In 1992 Damien went into partnership with the late Dr. Ron White to purchase the Woollahra Hotel, creating Bistro Moncur. Pignolet's history with the iconic Bellevue Hotel began in 2005 when he bought the hotel with Ron, ending when they sold the Bellevue in 2011 to the current owners. In June 2012 former Qantas chief and co-owner, Geoff Dixon asked Damien to return to Bellevue, as the Executive Chef. The award winning chef and cookbook author says, "Staying in my old stomping ground has definite advantages. I know the market intimately through years of service, and am looking forward to building on the excellent reputation the Bellevue Hotel restaurant already has". Pignolet adds, "I'm looking forward to implementing the vision I had for the restaurant, and collaborating with Nathan Lakeman in the kitchen to ensure we're always delivering great quality. Consistency will be key." Throughout his high profile career Damien has established nine successful restaurants including Butlers Restaurant, The Old Bank in Darlinghurst, Claudes, Bistro Moncur, Moncur Terrace, Bistro Deux at the Sackville Hotel, Cleopatra Restaurant and Guesthouse at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains. Damien's first book ‘French' was published with then wife Julie Gibbs (Penguin Books) in October 2005 and, off the back of the success of this book, he published ‘Salades' in September 2010. He is currently working on a third book.