After completing his apprenticeship and “knocking about preparing dishes in Adelaide pubs”, Brent Potuszynski decided he wanted to be the best in the business.
In early 2012, he packed his bags and headed for London, where he spent the next three-and-a-half years working 16-hour days. He recalls it was the “hardest thing” he’d ever done, but also the most rewarding. Potuszynski worked in the kitchens of famed restaurants such as Pied-a-Terre, Texture and The Westbury under celebrated chef Alyn Williams.
He returned to Adelaide in mid-2015 to join the team at Georges on Waymouth as sous chef. Three months later, he was promoted to his current position as head chef.
Potuszynski hopes one day to open his own restaurant but, in the meantime, he gives us a taste of what drives him as a chef and how that is reflected in the current menu at Georges on Waymouth.
The kitchen culture at Georges on Waymouth is …
One where everyone is motivated and working towards a common goal of delivering an experience for our guests. I want the staff to enjoy working here and to have a laugh while they work, but at the same time, they need to understand that we are a serious restaurant serving serious food and everything must be perfect.
Who are you cooking for?
Absolutely everyone. I honestly could not put our clientele into a particular niche. We get regulars in every week. We get business people in for lunch. We get couples and groups celebrating an occasion. And we also have a private dining room for events and parties. At the end of the day, we just have to make sure we deliver on a daily basis … no matter who is sitting at the table.
Describe the current menu?
Our winter menu is in full swing. We change with the seasons at Georges, so at the moment our menu features hearty, warming dishes full of flavour and texture but still presented with a sense of elegance. We have a maple-glazed brisket with horseradish, dill, cucumbers and radishes. There’s also a milk-poached pork belly with grilled radicchio, pickled grapes and morcilla (blood sausage). An awesome side dish is the confit red cabbage with a prune puree and toasted pine nuts, and then there’s a potato Vichyssoise with buttered leeks and truffle cream.
What does it seek to achieve?
We just want to show people what Georges is all about. We want to deliver an experience for our customers. If we can serve impeccable food backed by outstanding service, we’re on the right path. The food here is all about pushing the envelope with flavours and techniques, but we always want to keep it real and make sure our customers are well fed.
Who or what has had the greatest influence on your cooking?
London. I spent several years working in some of the city’s finest Michelin-starred establishments and the culture of fine dining over there was so inspiring to me. I spent countless hours dining by myself at all the top restaurants just because I wanted to see what they were doing and what they could do.
I have to mention Alyn Williams, one of the chefs I worked for. He was head chef to Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing, so you would think he could be a nightmare to work with, but he was an absolute gentleman and an incredible chef. I learnt so much.
What are the hero ingredients?
Each ingredient is as important as the next. If you take a shortcut with any of them you will be left with an inferior end result. There’s no point putting fresh truffle over a dish where you have used, say, vegetables that are old or not in season. Everything we use at Georges is of the highest quality and I could not work any other way.
What is your favourite dish on the menu?
The brisket, for sure! Any time you can take a secondary cut and turn it into a beautiful, delicious plate of food, I think you are onto a winner. I’m also partial to the white chocolate, coconut and pain d’epices dessert (pictured top), as all the elements just go so well together.
What is your favourite food and wine match?
Scallops paired with Clare Valley Riesling. I love scallops and wish like hell we could grow the giant Orkney scallops you find over in the UK. But our Hervey Bay scallops, although less than half the size, are pretty good too. The Clare Valley has a Riesling reputation for a reason!
What are you cooking at home?
I rarely get time to cook at home but if I do, it’s something involving one pan; something I can make a big plate of and sit in front of the television to eat – preferably watching the Crows. A big plate of pasta or a curry would do the trick.
Georges on Waymouth
20 Waymouth Street, Adelaide, 8211 6960
Monday, 7.30am to 5pm; Tuesday to Friday, 7.30am till late; Saturday, 6pm till late.