It’s not every day that the position of head chef at Gerard’s Bistro in Fortitude Valley is presented. And Jimmy Richardson is still coming to terms with landing a role of this calibre, especially within a few short months of moving to Brisbane. But earn it he did, his energy and drive impressing the management team, including Executive Chef Adam Wolfers who he will work alongside.
Jimmy’s new role involves the day to day running and organisation of the kitchen, collaborating on menu ideas, new concepts, and implementing any change. With his creativity and willingness to challenge himself, Jimmy sees the head chef role as someone who leads by testing and pushing themselves and making mistakes in the process. This “inspires them [the team]to open up to making a mistake and learning, because a mistake is only truly a mistake if you don’t learn from it”. The words of a natural leader.
Being present on the pass, cooking on ‘the pits’ and making breads, are all central elements of Jimmy’s head chef appointment. He says, “it’s a kitchen where everyone works hard and strives to maintain the reputation”. What excites Jimmy the most is the chance to work with a team of professionals who love what they do, cooking over wood and charcoal again, and being part of a restaurant with a great reputation
Gerard’s Bistro opened in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley in 2012, and ever since the food has been its point of difference. Known for its progressive take on European Jewish cuisines and
a diverse North African/Middle Eastern bill of fare, Gerard’s Bistro has received applause far and wide, including The Gourmet Traveller, The Weekend Australian’s Hot 50, and Financial Review – Best Restaurant Queensland.
Executive chef Adam Wolfers has orchestrated the bistro’s à la carte and set menu, including woodfired bagel with goat curd and za’atar; ‘Crab-a-ganoush’, eggplant, preserved lemon; bay bug kibbeh, walnut biscuit and fingerlime; pork brisket, persimmon amba and kishk; Celeriac filo, aged sesame and zhoug; and Jerusalem artichoke ice cream, passionfruit, and chocolate. These masterful creations are a delight. Working in partnership with Jimmy, the menu will surely be gastronomically formidable.
Prior to his northern migration, Jimmy has worked in various operations from opening a small restaurant called Annata in Crows Nest, the Park Hyatt in Sydney iconic Circular Quay, working with charcoal at The Bridge Room with Ross Lusted, discovering his love of dill with Pasi Petanen at the original Cafe Paci; through to learning classic French working for Albert Roux.
Jimmy doesn’t believe he has – or for that matter believes in – a food philosophy. “I think it can come across a bit w*** when chefs begin to talk like that”. Jimmy has a grass-roots attitude of the food has to taste good, then it has to look good. This belief is where Jimmy and Gerard’s Bistro’s souls align: use locally sourced ingredients, apply traditional techniques and deliver with a creative twist. Jimmy also pays full respect to the humble ingredient. He says he is often thinking of ways to take these types of ingredients, “applying techniques to completely change it, whether that is in appearance or texture.”
Under the choreography of its two Sydney-trained chefs, Gerard’s Bistro delivers an unforgettable culinary experience. And with Jimmy Richardson’s creativity and willingness to experiment, the wise words of Julia Child echo loud down Fortitude Valley: “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking, you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”