Chef's Recipes

Damien Pignolet's Waldorf salad

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Waldorf salad by Damien Pignolet from Sydney restaurant Bistro Moncur.

By Damien Pignolet
  • Serves 6
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 5 mins cooking
Damien Pignolet's Waldorf salad
Damien Pignolet's Waldorf salad

“This salad is very popular in the United States, where it was created by the chef of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York in the 1890s. Recipes vary dramatically in the proportions of ingredients called for so it is difficult to know what the original recipe was really like. The success of this salad relies upon using the freshest walnuts as they tend to turn rancid very easily. I suggest you begin by sourcing the best quality nuts before considering making a Waldorf salad. It is also important that the nuts are peeled. This may sound like too much trouble but the difference is remarkable, since the absence of skin releases their sweet flavour. The addition of lettuce makes this version lighter and fresher. If time permits, you might like to add peeled seedless grapes as they were often included in older recipes.”


  • 150 gm celeriac (about ¼), cut into 1cm dice
  • 100 gm pale inner celery stalks (about 3), washed and cut into 1cm dice
  • 2-3 eating apples (such as Gala)
  • 120-150 ml very thick mayonnaise
  • 150 gm walnut kernels
  • 6 small inner or baby cos lettuce leaves, washed and spin-dried
  • 2 punnets mustard cress or 1 very large handful watercress sprigs


  • 1
    Blanch the celeriac in a saucepan of boiling salted water until just tender (2 minutes), then refresh under cold running water and drain well.
  • 2
    Combine the celeriac and celery in a mixing bowl. Peel and core the apples, then cut into 1cm dice; you need 250gm. Toss well with a little lemon juice to prevent discolouration. Drain briefly in a colander, then pat dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Add to the celeriac and celery.
  • 3
    Mix in a little of the mayonnaise initially to ensure that the finished texture is not too wet.
  • 4
    Drop the walnuts into a pan of boiling water and allow to come back to the boil, then drain. Using a small paring knife, remove as much of the skin as possible, then chop each into 5-6 pieces. Fold into the salad.
  • 5
    Distribute the salad between the cos leaves and garnish with the snipped cress or watercress sprigs, then serve.


Reproduced from
($59.95, hbk) by Damien Pignolet, with photography by Anson Smart. Published by Lantern, an imprint of Penguin Books. Pignolet’s recipes have been reproduced with minor
style changes.
This recipe is from the September 2010 issue of

  • Author: Damien Pignolet