Food News

An Australian duo pop up in France in time for summer

Michael West and Jack Coghlan are the latest Australians to take the reins at Chardon, the Arles restaurant that’s creating a buzz in the south of France.
Chardon, Arles France

Chardon restaurant, Arles

Australian chefs Michael West and Jack Coghlan have packed their knife rolls and are ready to hit the road for an adventure. The pair – most recently seen at Sydney’s Bar Brosé and The Bridge Room, respectively – will be the chefs in residence at Arles restaurant Chardon throughout May and June, delivering a menu that blends Japanese touches with local ingredients and their Australian training. Chardon welcomes chefs from across the globe for short stints, giving them the freedom to craft their own menus while simultaneously keeping the local dining scene in a state of change.

West and Coghlan’s final menu is still being worked out as the chefs adapt to what’s in season, but West says they plan to “cook with Japanese spirit”. Diners might expect a fermented plum broth with hazelnut oil or a lentil pithiviers served with beetroot and a sauce of wine lees. They’re keen to play with French peas, asparagus, lamb and pears in the northern spring, and are looking forward to summer bringing peaches, tomatoes, lavender and figs to the table. Pastis, flavour of the south of France, will be treated as more than an apéro, used to enliven dishes such as white peaches with crème fraîche parfait in the form of a granita.

“I want to cook food that is thoughtful, but doesn’t need thought to be enjoyed,” West says.

Sustainable eating, with vegetable-led dishes in mind, underpins the pair’s ethos. West says the kitchen will reduce waste by using as much of each ingredient as possible, taking the whey from cheesemaking, for example, and turning it into a stock.

As for drinks, expect wines that are natural and echo the menu’s seasonal focus, with textured whites and light reds to begin with before crémants and chilled rosés hit the list in June to celebrate summer.

3 May-25 June, Fri-Mon 12.30pm-2pm, Thurs-Mon 7.30pm-10pm. Chardon, 37 rue des Arènes, Arles, +33 9 72 867 204, hellochardon.com

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