I recently celebrated a milestone birthday, and was surprised and spoiled by my other half! To kick off my birthday celebrations, he surprised me with a private dining experience with incredible chef Antoine Cheron, also known as “The French Gumboot Chef”. Little did I know, that Antoine had cooked with the likes of Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumethal, and cooked for Princess Diana throughout his career.

Driving with no knowledge of where we were headed, we parked in a tiny carpark in the town of Warburton, and wandered into a little cafe. There was a little sign saying “private function” toward the back of the cafe, and as we entered the room I was met with a beautifully set table with personalised menus.

It was an exceptionally hot afternoon, around 38 degrees! So Antoine started us off with delicious and refreshing watermelon to cleanse the palette. The best part, was that everything Antoine cooked with food that was sourced locally – all the vegetables he hand picked locally in Warburton, eggs from his chooks, goats cheese from the Yarra Valley, and then topped off with local Yarra Valley wines to pair our meal with!

The entree exceed expectations, with a gorgeous goats cheese souffle cooked to perfection. It was so light and fluffy, much too easy to eat! Meanwhile, Antoine created a ‘salt-crusted salmon’ with a beautiful 4kg Tasmanian fish, picked up fresh from the market by my boyfriend. Creating this dish required quite a few egg whites, so we were treated to a few ‘tricks’ from Antoine on separating egg whites! The salmon was hands down, the best salmon I’ve ever tasted, we were certainly spoiled!

The format of the day was awesome, we chatted incessantly between courses, and Antoine gave us a bit of a cooking lesson as he crafted each of our meals. It was so relaxed, but at the same time it was intimate and exciting. I chatted to him about the notion of doing weddings, to which he replied that he’d done quite a few. It got me to thinking about having such a talented chef help you develop a customised menu that will impress your guests, and leave you completely confident about the food that will be served on the evening.

Certainly well worth investing in having a brilliant, talented chef help create a magical experience, whether it be on your birthday, an anniversary, wedding or even just because! Check out The French Gumboot Chef on Facebook for more info.


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