Clément Chauvin - Owner & Executive Chef
His journey / Son voyage
The early years / La jeunesse
Born in Paris in 1983, Clément moved to Lyon when he was 13 years old. Lyon was a food revelation; the markets, the culture and the produce - to this day it remains the gastronomic capital of France.
At 15, he decided to start a career as a chef against his family’s will. His love for food was so strong that he travelled to Thonon-Les-Bains – a town overlooking Lake Geneva – where he boarded for three years to undergo his hospitality training.
Less than two weeks after graduating, Clément took on his first job as a Commis Chef at PIC (a 3-star Michelin restaurant) in Valence, France. Unsurprisingly, the standard was high and particularly difficult for an 18-year-old! He decided to return to Lyon where he would become inspired by the Bouchon Lyonnais tradition – a more simple and cultural cuisine.
The learning phase / L’aprentissage
After gaining confidence in his cooking technique, Clément joined chef, Frédéric Côte (former Executive Chef of Daniel Boulud) at Le Caro de Lyon. His creativity blossomed at this luxurious brasserie before he tackled once again fine dining – this time at Nicolas Lebec, (a 2-star Michelin restaurant). Nicolas was Clément’s most influential chef mentor, who taught him how to use seasonal produce, technique and ingenuity to meet Michelin star standards.
On the road again / De retour sur la route
At 22, Clément wanted to travel, this time to London to improve his English (which was not great). He brought his résumé to the back door of Gordon Ramsay’s Claridge’s (a 1-star Michelin restaurant) and started from the bottom of the kitchen again. Six months later, he was promoted to Chef de Partie. A year later, Clément had worked his way through most sections of the kitchen when he decided to leave to explore Australia!
Welcome to Australia / Bienvenue en Australie
Clément landed in Sydney where he found Restaurant Balzac, owned and operated by head chef, Matt Kemp. The atmosphere in the kitchen was very different to what he had been used to so he jumped at an advertisement to work in a small French Bistro.
Located in Neutral Bay, Bistro Paris allowed Clément to take on his first head chef position of which he loved! That same year, he scored a whopping 14.5 in the Australia Good Food Guide! Two years later, after gaining Australian sponsorship, Clément had his first son. In an effort to be closer to his Australian family, he moved to Canberra.
The Capital / La capitale
At first, Clément was shocked by Australia’s capital, with its small population in comparison to Paris and London. Nonetheless, Canberra welcomed his cooking with open arms. After six months at Sage Restaurant, he won Best Chef of the Year by the Australian Hospitality Awards, in addition to Best Restaurant of the Year by the Restaurant and Catering Awards. He remained for two years in Gorman house and then moved to Water’s Edge. It was there he encountered Abel Bariller, (sommelier) with whom he later became business partners in opening Les Bistronomes in 2014.
Today / Aujourd’hui
Fast forward a few years and Clément has become the sole owner and Executive Chef of multi-award-winning restaurant, Les Bistronomes.