They say food and travel is a match made in heaven. From cooking for kings, queens and princesses around the world, French masterchef Jean Luc Amann took time out from creating culinary masterpieces at a five star Fiji resort to collaborate with two top gun chefs Down Under. Hold on to your tastebuds.

Picture this. The setting is the Darwin room at one of Australia’s finest restaurants, Vue De Monde. In walk three globally renowned chefs. One is from France, another from America and the third is a Canadian.

To ensure this melting pot is truly chock-full of international flavours the menu prepared on the night is from a five star Fijian resort, Laucala Island It’s a meeting of the masterchefs where past travels and cooking adventures come together. It’s where food becomes the language of love. “Chefs all speak the same language,” says French masterchef Jean Luc Amann upon meeting dinner guests. “You know, you’ve got French, Canadian and American chefs here – we talk about something and we understand each other … the chef language is universal.”

The island features five exclusive restaurants and bars offering a superb choice of Western, Asian and local cuisines, complemented by a wide selection of fine wines. Laucala Island stands out for its sustainable approach to cuisine. Most of the produce featured on its menus is grown on the island or harvested from the surrounding seas.

Laucala is highly self-sufficient with a 97-hectare farm devoted to full-blood Wagyu (from Australia) and Limousin cattle, wild goats, quails, chickens (three breeds for meat and eggs), pigs, sheep, and beehives.

A hydroponic garden produces a vast array of exotic vegetables, while the herb garden provides a range of wild herbs.

Check out our story on amazing private islands of the world

Amann’s bio is worthy of being served on a silver platter. He worked as Executive Chef for Fairmont Baku at the Flame Towers in Azerbaijan, as well as serving as Executive Chef for 13 years at Oman’s premier Al Bustan Palace and before that The Peninsula Hong Kong and Beijing for 8 years.

Additionally, he has received numerous accolades and has overseen high profile dinners for heads of states, kings and royal families from around the world.

In 2005 Chef Amann was named “Maitre Cuisiniers de France” in Vichy, France, whose mission it is to preserve and spread the French culinary arts, encourage training in cuisine, and assist professional development.

A charming character, he’s modest when prodded about kings, queens and other celebrities he has had the honour of cooking for, but a certain princess stands out from the pack for him.

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Laucala is home to a number of rare birds endemic to only the forests of northern Fiji such as the Orange or Flame Dove, blue Kingfisher, striking red and green collared Lory and purple Swamphen.

“I had the chance to make lunch for Princess Diana in Hong Kong,” he says. “She called me after lunch, pulled the chair out, asked me to sit down with her and she wrote down the recipe. That was in Hong Kong.

“Then I cooked for a king, I looked after Michael Jackson for three months, the president of France, and all the leaders of the Middle East. I was in the Middle East a long time. Princess Diana was the most amazing person.”

The opportunity to collaborate with Amann, despite much of it being on Skype or email in preparation for the big cook up at Vue de Monde, is not lost on Vue Events’ Chef Gelinas.

“I mean, it’s always a great honour to work with someone who’s got so much experience and knowledge,” Gelinas told TDL.

“It’s been very interesting to create a menu that focuses on Australian ingredients as well as island ideas – it’s different, it’s a great learning experience as everything at Vue De Monde is. After all Vue De Monde means “view of the world”, a perfect expression of what happens here.”

Speaking of the world, all three chefs feel blessed to combine their craft with their travels. For Chef Gelinas, the Big Apple is a standout when it comes to favourite workplace experiences from around the globe.

“For me it’s New York. It’s New York or Vancouver, they are the most fun places I’ve had to work,” he says. “And Melbourne, of course, a dream city where I am settling down. But New York has that appeal – it’s alive, it’s noisy, you feel it. It’s great.”

Chef James, agrees.

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“I also worked in New York and that was the pinnacle for me, I spent like three years at Eleven Madison Park and really fine tuning like organisation, mentality, taste, the palette and what really makes a great dish,” he explains.

“To me that was like getting a PHD, from there I felt like I was ready to do anything.”

But he said it’s not always about the big-name cities or popular destinations where cooking necessarily shines best.

“I’ve worked with a few masterchefs from France and one was in Florida and it was just a little island called Jupiter Island and the French chef was cooking for people who were just retired,” James says.

“And that perhaps didn’t draw me there, but working with him and being next to him was the backbone of it for me. I only worked there for a little bit because it was a seasonal place, but I cooked how he taught me. You know, it may not be a Manhattan or a Hong Kong or a Melbourne, but just a little island in Florida. You know, it changed the way I cooked.”

As for Chef Amann? “For me a fun place is Hong Kong,” he says.

“In Hong Kong you can have every restaurant imaginable. And one of the fun things to do in Hong Kong is to go to the harbour and take a boat to Lantau Island. That island has small restaurants and huge tanks of prawns. You take those prawns, you stirfry them in a huge wok with crushed pepper and that’s it. Pepper prawns and you have a nice Ching Tao beer and it’s an amazing evening on the island.”

Chef Amann continues the discussion about favourite food destinations and points out it’s not always about Chef hats and Michelin stars.

Going hand in hand with travel, it’s important to explore and get off the yellow brick road sometimes.

“If I travel and go to Thailand, for example, I might go to a good restaurant but I always go to the back streets,” he says. “The street food in Bangkok in Thailand is amazing – it’s flavours, it’s the best food you can have in Thailand.”

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