Bitton: A French Inspired Café Cookbook

david_bitton

If you are talking about this charismatic French chef and his café and his product lines you can quip "once Bitton, never the same again!".

"David Bitton is one of the rare breed of chefs who intuitively understands food and flavour. In every field which I have known him he has been an outstanding success. I am thrilled he has taken pen to paper now, to share his secrets with us all." This was a testimonial I sent him when he told me he was publishing his own cookbook. And I am honoured to say it is printed on the back cover.

As a long-time Sydney restaurant reviewer I came across David Bitton as Head Chef of a hotel restaurant around 18 years ago. His flair impressed me then and has continued to do so over the years as he moved among several restaurants.

Some chefs just have that little extra a being French, in Chef Bitton's case I can quite appropriately say it is a certain je ne sais quoi and I followed his career because I knew he would achieve much.

Bitton apprenticed in France then worked there before moving to Australia in 1991. Ten years ago he took the enormously brave step of beginning his own little café in Alexandria. Even braver because it is off the beaten track and not in a busy shopping and café street. It became a "build it and they will come" venue though, as local business and magazine people discovered it and word spread. It is still growing.

When a neighbouring shop became available, it doubled in size and the space is now a magnet to foodlovers who may come just for a coffee and a traditional French bistro meal, then leave laden with bread, produce and jars and bottles of Bitton's range of condiments.

 

With his and wife Sohani's mix of backgrounds the couple has drawn inspiration from many sources. So much so that now you can find a Bitton-brand strawberry and vanilla bean jam (his grandmother's recipe) coexisting on the same shelf with lemon dressing, chilli garlic masala, harissa paste and exotic combinations such as rosemary thyme and vanilla oil.

david_bitton_03After a decade the David Bitton product is in 500 stores and available as corporate gifts, and from just Bitton and his wife, the staff has risen to 28. And now there's the book, to pull it all together in which David has so generously shared his expertise and packed it full with delicious recipes and stunning photography.

Using this book I can now breakfast on his banana muffins followed by chilli scrambled eggs at home. I could lunch on his chilli and garlic roasted chicken or roast quail flambé, or simply settle for a coffee with a perfect apple tart at my place.

But why should I? The rest of the world will have to settle for that. I am lucky that the café is in my town, Sydney, and I can go there anytime and enjoy this food from the hand of its creator.

If you want to see for yourself, Bitton Café is at 36-37a Copeland Street, Alexandria, NSW, phone, 1300 BITTON. Otherwise buy the book. It's almost like having David at your elbow as you cook.

David Bitton is also consultant-chef for Kleenmaid. For a very special evening you can hire the showroom and his services for an intimate dinner for ten people.

Bitton: a French-inspired Café Cookbook, David Bitton, October 2010, paperback, 220 pages, rrpA$39.95, ISBN: 978-0-9808097-0-1

 

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