Interview with Guillaume Brahimi

Meet The Inspiring Brahimi Family

Elegance is hard to define and even harder to achieve. It is about making something complicated look easy, something opulent, relaxed.

Sydney based, French born, chef Guillaume and his wife Sanchia have captured this in their latest book – Food for Family – a unique concept of mixing interiors with food & entertaining ideas.

 
 
SIGNED COPIES IN STORE

Royalties from the book will support the National Breast Cancer Foundation.


 

- Guillaume -

Celebrated French chef, Guillaume Brahimi has 3 restaurants across Australia – Guillaume in Paddington, in the heart of Sydney, and 2 Bistros in Melbourne & Perth, both located within the Crown Entertainment Complex.

Guillaume was recently awarded the prestigious honour of Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit).

 

 

- Guillaume Restaurant -

The restaurant, Guillaume, opened in August 2014, following the departure of Brahimi after 12 years at Guillaume at Bennelong in the Sydney Opera House.

His good friend Matthew Csidei came on board as the interiors consultant and Tamsin Johnson Interiors did the design.

The vision was for a relaxed atmosphere and we tried to replicate the feel of being at home. The French theme extended to Pierre Frey fabric for the walls, gold framed Matisse prints, herringbone flooring in the entrance which gives way to Tuscan Casina Sisal carpet.


 

For the private dining room, an elegant, "Circuit 24" wallpaper, chairs are upholstered in Hermès terre d'hGris ponce, with a statement chandelier found at Les Puces de Saint-Ouen flea markets.

 

 

- Food for Family -

When Lantern publishers approached us about publishing a book, Sanchia was adamant that the book should not just be about food – she wanted it to be about how people live, decorate and entertain not, 'a chapter about an asparagus!'

The book is made up of a diverse and interesting group of Australians, who opened their doors to us, and gave us a glimpse into their private worlds - including, a winter lunch for Cate Blanchett, set in an iconic woodshed.

 

 

- Entertaining Tips -

"Quality of the produce is the key - then you are 3/4 of the way there."

Whats your favourite tipple to be served?

I favour Vodka, with fresh lime and soda or a bottle of Billecart Salmon Brut Rose on arrival. Follow this with a good bottle of white or red from Burgundy to accompany your meal. Create your own cocktail and label it yourself for a personal touch!


Favourite family dish?

Having a wide age bracket in our house ranging from 2 - 44 yrs old can prove challenging. A set menu is unfortunately forgotten and now we tend to have à la carte menu.

As a result, I would recommend anything on the barbecue, as it tends to be a general crowd pleaser – accompany it with a beautiful salad, roasted kipfler potatoes, green beans and a salsa Verde or Béarnaise sauce to match.

Restaurant play list?

That was very tricky to get right – and we had a few goes with it so it wouldn't feel like elevator music! I'm now really happy with our playlist, which features my favourite French artists such as Serge Gainsbourg and Carla Bruni.


Key ingredients for entertaining?

I think it is really important for the host to have fun!! If you are running around stressed, then your guests will not relax and have a good time. I often get the male guests to come into the kitchen and help me chop vegetables or act as my sous chef – we open a really good bottle of wine and get to work – and the girls tend to sit, sip champagne and catch up.

 

 

- Tablescape -

Our proximity to the water means we tend to favour lots of shells on the table.

Our favourite flowers for the table are freshly cut, white frangipanis, water hyacinth or hydrangeas.

 
 
We have Mud plates. I am obsessed with this brand and all my crockery at Guillaume is by Mud.

 
We have fig candles lit around the house by Be Enlightened.

 
Napkins are usually blue and white as it goes with theme of our home, but I also like a pop of colour.

 
Cutlery is Laguiole Cutlery and Riedel glassware.

 

 

- Interior style -

Sanchia says “I am no cook but I love decorating”.
Her style is an extension of herself - classic, fresh and timeless.


One of Sanchia’s passions is to collect art. Guillaume laughingly claims that Sanchia is more dangerous in an art gallery than a shoe shop.

Besides art, key items to invest in for the home are table lamps and sofas. I've certainly made mistakes along the way – and unfortunately decorating mistakes can be costly but you certainly don't make them twice.


Design influences?

I love the homes of NY based Aerin Lauder and of course the classic style of US designers Ralph Lauren and Barclay Butera.


What should you not do in your home?

For me, clutter is the tipping point. As I have a toddler, our living room can look like a Toys R Us ad. However, after bedtime it all gets packed away into, big woven Spanish baskets that are in almost every room of the house!

Kitchen?

Our house layout is open plan. I treat the kitchen as part of any room –nautical style pendant lights over hanging the kitchen island, black and white photos on the walls. If we are having dinner on our own, we often eat in the kitchen as opposed to the dining room as it is more intimate for 2.

Walls – Texture or paint?

We have wallpaper in all the bedrooms and our media room - I love it. Prior to that, we had favored off-white walls and it highlighted all the fingerprints of the members in our family!!

In our bedroom it's very India Hicks type wallpaper – Bahamas inspired, a rough texture and the colour of sand. The remaining bedrooms are all finished in blue wallpaper – I prefer uniformity in each room.

Favourite online resource for interiors and entertaining?

I prefer hard copies of my favourite magazines and I find my friend's home as an additional source of my inspiration.

One essential piece of advice for any home?

I believe the choice of flooring is very important. Ensure a mix of flooring – stone, wood, marble and natural rugs to create warmth, atmosphere and to compliment the items in your home.

Downstairs we have Herringbone floorboards and I love that it is getting old and a bit scuffed – I think it creates character. I made a mistake and put carpet upstairs when we moved in. You just need one child to sneak Ribena upstairs and you have a disaster!

 
 
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