Philippe Mouchel is a chef of many talents, a man of many countries, and a strong candidate for Melbourne’s favourite French chef. He has won accolades, awards, and the respect and affection of everyone who has worked with him, or eaten at any of his restaurants.
Born in Normandy, he grew up in a family where the large garden provided much of what the family cooked and ate, and where the food was always good. His father, his mother, his grandmother were all good cooks.
“From an early age, I learnt that cooking was a pleasure,” he says. “Where cooking is a pleasure, eating will be, too.”
He trained with the great Paul Bocuse, the only chef in France to have been awarded three Michelin stars for more than 40 consecutive years. He was trusted to work at the first Bocuse restaurant in Japan, where he learnt to interpret formal French cooking for Japanese tastes and learnt about Japanese food and flavours. He was executive chef at a noted Hong Kong hotel, too.
He came to Melbourne to open the Paul Bocuse restaurant. When it closed, he was chef at a number of restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney, worked to develop winery restaurants, and went back to Japan for a few years. He returned to Melbourne to open the acclaimed Brasserie Philippe Mouchel at Crown. His training is French. His experience is of many countries and many cuisines. And he is just as at home with traditional as contemporary cooking.
“The way we eat has changed,” he observes. “But our need for good food is the same. However we eat, we all deserve to eat well – to eat good ingredients, cooked properly, in nice surroundings. My mission is to serve food that people understand, and that is always interesting to eat.”
– With food writer Rita Erlich, worked with Philippe on his book More than French: recipes and stories (Slattery Media).
His latest venture in Melbourne’s CBD is a new restaurant and wine bar eponymously titled, PHILIPPE. It showcases traditional yet innovative French cooking that employs high quality seasonal produce and serves refined dishes.
Philippe’s clear vision for the restaurant shines through in the well-crafted menu. He states, “As a French-trained chef, my cuisine is served with sauces and jus. I want the dishes to be gourmand, generous and affordable”.
In true nouveau bistro style, diners are welcomed to the space by a stunning zinc bar. The central rotisserie and charcoal oven are the stars of the kitchen with fish on the bone, roast chicken, meats and vegetables featured as signature dishes. Diners also have the option to be seated at the raw bar, an ideal position to watch the chef prepare oysters, shucked fresh to order.
The wine list showcases premium wines by the glass, featuring a range of new and old-world offerings with an emphasis on all things French, and the passionate staff are on hand to help guests with their choices.
With a strong focus on ethically sourced and organic local ingredients, PHILIPPE is a polished but casual dining experience where patrons can enjoy good food based on time-honoured recipes from France.