Alain Fabrègues 2018 Winner

An industry leader is arguably best defined as that rarest of individuals who leaves an indelible stamp on his or her industry; a unique person who has changed the way things are done, who has led from the front and has had an intergenerational impact on the hospitality industry.

Leaders are defined in many ways. Courage, perseverance, generosity to others and high-level accomplishment are just some of the attributes that separate leaders from followers.

Our winner of this prestigious title in 2018 is a man who perhaps many of the younger generation of chefs and restaurant owners would barely know, and yet his impact on them and the lives of the dining public has been profound. Although a loved son of Perth, his accomplishments have had an international reach. He has been twice honoured by the French Government for his services to hospitality, recognition that has come from the top of the French culinary establishment and the French government. He was named Chef of the Year four times and has been a recipient of the Salon Culinaire Gold Medal nine years running.

His most acclaimed restaurant, the Loose Box in Mundaring, was the go-to for a generation of Perth lovers of fine food and the elegance of the French table. Classically trained, he has cooked with the best – Alain Ducasse to name just one. He began his cooking career at age 15 and next month, more than five decades later, he will hang up his apron for the last time and retire to his truffle farm in the Avon Valley. All of us who love food and dining owe him a huge debt of gratitude, if for no other reason than he taught us to enjoy one of life’s favourite things, confit of duck. But there are of course many, many reasons why we are fortunate to have the 2018 Industry Leader in our hospitality community.

The winner of The West Australian Good Food Guide Industry Leadership award 2018 is Alain Fabrègues.

Q: What was the first thing you cooked and how old were you?
A: I guess it was French toast with Mum when I was five year’s old but at the age of eight I was learning to make pâté with grandma Fabregues.

Q: What do you fear most?
A: the loss of culinary knowledge through excessive short cuts and simplification to satisfy the need for expediency.

Q: If you could be better at something, what would it be?
A: Communication and networking

Q: What is your most treasured possession?
A: My great grandfather sword (my family were swordsmen)

Q: Who has had the greatest influence on your life?
A: My master Jean Delaveyne. I lost my father early in life and Mr Delaveyne became my role model for many subjects. We could talk about cooking until the wee hours . . .I was like a sponge absorbing everything. He also introduced me to some of the great masters work from the 19th century.

Q: What is your most market characteristic?
A: Tenacious, loyal

Q: What do you consider your greatest achievement in life so far?
A: I have had a few but to have been able to channel the art of cooking in the mind of many young chefs must be up there. I have received many awards and accolades but passing knowledge is a great reward.

Q: Which living person do you admire the most?
A: John Howard 

Q: Favourite Kitchen gadget?
A: It is a simple carbon steel knife that my parents brought me when I started my apprenticeship in 1964. I treasure it above anything else for sentimental value as well as the practicality of being able to sharpen it in just a few seconds.

Q: What are three things that are always in your pantry at home?
A: Olive oil, arborio rice, dry crèpes in the dry store but in the fridge it would be the best of cheeses, fresh bread and French butter.

Q: If you were cooking a romantic dinner for you and your partner, what would it be?
A: Caviar on ice, sour cream, champagne, then a few curls of foie gras with brioche, cherry jam and a sauterne. Then a roasted Guineafowl with a few chestnuts and a wine from médoc, a ripe creamy cheese with a couple of figs and a glass of Saint Julien. For dessert something light but pretty, just to finish the champagne.

Q: If you had a personal motto, what would it be?
A: Never giving up, never crawl, never surrender to anything.

His most acclaimed restaurant, the Loose Box in Mundaring, was the go-to for a generation of Perth lovers of fine food and the elegance of the French table. Classically trained, he has cooked with the best – Alain Ducasse to name just one."