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Chopped and served

As a food writer and restaurant reviewer for many years in Sydney, I have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know many fine chefs. Their dedication to a career that combines artistic excellence with sheer hard work always fills me with respect, and often makes me shake my head in wonder.

I first met David Bitton many years ago when he was head chef at Gekko restaurant in Sydney's prestigious Sheraton on the Park. He was wearing the restaurant's signature, a small silver gekko pinned to his white jacket.

Unfortunately, so long afterwards, I can't remember the dishes we were served, but I do know that it was the sort of meal which sadly appeared too rarely. My eyes popped open as I realised that this was a chef to remember, and watch.

Over the years I took notice of his many career choices, often daring and, whenever I had a chance I sampled his food. I was always thrilled by its finesse and his superb understanding of food.

In case you think this is a long-winded trip down memory lane, maybe it is, but it is meant as a preface to Bitton's latest book. He has written several, and you can see reviews on this site, as well as buy this latest one on his site.

This book, however, is deeper than a cookery book. This is the story of his life.

Here are his words:

“For those looking for inspiration and striving to make a change in their life, I want them to believe that anything is possible and that the impossible is only temporary. Whatever your experience, the sooner you own it, the sooner you will grow from it. Life will knock you about, people will push you to your limits, but it’s up to you to get up, keep walking and acknowledge your self-worth.”

David Bitton is a chef, entrepreneur, author and very much a family man. He and his wife, Sohani, have co-created a cafe and food production business in an inner-city suburb that is a testament to their innovation, industry and solid teamwork.

This is a story about healing and transformation. David’s raw, honest and unedited memoir will take you on an inspiring journey from his own dysfunctional childhood through to a life of purpose. It is funny, challenging, thought-provoking, and so honest and true that, if you have met David, you will swear you can hear his delightful French accent in his words.

A must-read for all who love good food, French cookery, and a success story, told humbly and with a real desire to help others, this is one book you should buy - and give to your friends as gifts.

Oh, and that little silver gekko pin? Typically generous, on the night we first dined there when I complimented David on his food, he quickly unpinned it and presented it to me as a souvenir of a memorable meal. I really didn't need that reminder.

I knew he was destined for long-term success, and we would see plenty more of his career. But I still have it as a treasured memento.


Chopped and served: the autobiography of David Bitton, by David Biitton with Mona Saade, published by Writing Your Life, 2017, paperback, rrp A$24.95

- reviewed by Sally Hammond


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