We first met while travelling 30 years ago and have been together ever since.
Our shared love of adventure has allowed us to live in many different countries – Japan, Switzerland, Belgium and France. Each major move allowed us to learn more about regional food and wines and discover some really interesting ingredients.
While in Japan we had some amazing adventures in the countryside, trying to make ourselves understood and trying to understand what it was we were eating. We learnt a lot about seasonality there, as they didn’t seem to serve anything that was out of season. And the produce was so fresh! I remember the first time seeing whole fish (flounder) at the supermarket still moving around underneath the cling wrap covering it on the tray!
France is Philippe’s homeland, so when I went to live there with him, I was immediately immersed in the culture. It would be great strolling through the local markets on a Saturday morning, looking for what fruit and veg were in season and looking for interesting restaurants that we could eat in.
One of my favourite memories is of a little seven table restaurant in the beautiful village of St-Remy-de-Provence. The eponymous Alain Assaud was known for using market fresh produce and his menu convinced me to eat pigeon for the first time. He must have seen how much we enjoyed our meal because he invited us back into his kitchen afterwards – it was my first time in a real commercial kitchen. That was 25 years ago. Alain had worked in the Michelin starred Tour d’Argent in Paris before starting his own restaurant. He is still a fixture of the village, although his restaurant has expanded more than the original seven tables!
In Japan, due to the fact that we were Westerners, we often had opportunities that normally wouldn’t come along in our day to day life in our own country. On one memorable evening, I saw the late, great Joel Robuchon in the kitchen of his restaurant madly stirring up his famous potato mash. The restaurant was full, so we couldn’t eat there, but went next door to the new Wolfgang Puck restaurant. I knew little of Wolfgang Puck, only that he catered for the Oscars and was on TV in America. Imagine my surprise when Wolfgang himself pulled up a chair and joined us for dessert! Only we hadn’t ordered dessert, so he ordered for us. We left with a note to deliver to his friend Jean-André Charial, head chef at the 2 Michelin starred (at the time, it now has 3) at Oustau de Baumaniere in Provence telling him to look after us when we came!
One thing that has always stayed with us from our best experiences is the absolute quality of the ingredients that are used and the passion of the chefs who prepare it.
When relocating to Brisbane with our three French-born children in 2006, we decided to use some of this knowledge to share our own passion with the Australian public and source some of the fine food and boutique wines and champagnes that we had discovered along the way.
Starting with truffles (because of Philippe’s longing for truffles for Christmas), as traditional in France, The Truffle Man was born.
Now 15 years later, The Truffle Man still aims to bring the very best quality ingredients to our customers.
We also run regular food and wine/champagne pairing events in order to further bring gourmet experiences to our customers.