Eugene Giesinger’s journey to mastermind, head chef and owner of Eugene’s on Macpherson Street has been chequered, colourful and ultimately as fulfilling as his signature colourful salads or buckwheat pancakes.
“Go with what works, don’t get too attached to outcomes,” is one of Eugene’s cornerstone approaches to running a successful business, one he has developed after a long journey toiling as a kitchen hand during his final years of school, ahead of working his way up through some of Sydney’s leading dining establishments. Then followed a self-professed hedonistic period in London where he worked for Tom Aitkens at the Two Michelin Star Pied à Terre. A crazy period, but today Eugene has his feet firmly on the ground. “Choose your own battles. Ask yourself is it worth fighting over? Be flexible, but not too flexible, be a big picture person.” Clear, mature guidance for those contemplating embarking on a similar culinary path.
Handed the opportunity to invest in a restaurant and following a long period finding a suitable venue, Eugene and his girlfriend Nathalie Bayfield came across the former Australian Gourmet Meats building. By Christmas 2011 they were in the process to beginning renovations, or better a near on demolition, keeping only the original glass work and built-in double doors. Nathalie, a creative talent, lent a significant artistic hand: the menus, typography, restaurant branding pay testament.
One of the striking things about Eugene’s is the lighting, the art deco ‘scones’ and stained glass windows are two prominent and elegant features, lending personality and distinction, something consistent in their approach to food. “People come back for the quality of service, there is nowhere else like this around, our food is unique and accessible,’ explains Eugene. Surprising little touches permeate throughout such as the Royal Doulton Platinum series crockery, “it is good to make a little bit of class accessible,” remarks Eugene.
Like most self-starters, Eugene carries the battle scars of commitment, rising at dawn to prepare the cafe restaurant each day, ‘firing up the ovens and turning the stoves on, getting the muffin mix ready, and bacon & egg rolls on’. On a Monday he departs at 05:00 in his trusted Volvo for Flemington Markets where over time he has built up a close relationship with the traders. Finding the right produce from the right seller took time and patience. The reward for this effort is witnessing the smiling faces leaving his premises, knowing that a welcome hit of espresso or lovingly-prepared meal at Eugene’s has made that incremental difference in someone’s day.
Eugene is a popular and active member of the Bronte entrepreneurial landscape. “Being local means the people in your vicinity,” he explains. “Local for me means buying booze from Chambers Cellars across the road, meats from Lucas, or bread from Iggy’s.” It is all part of this Bronte collective of businesses not wrestling in competition but working as a community.
My mate Bob’s house
Address 69 Macpherson St, Bronte NSW 2024
Phone (02) 9369 1110
Tue-Fri 7:00 am – 4:00pm, 6:00 – 10:00pm
Sat-8:00 am – 4:00pm, 6:00 – 10:00pm
Sun-8:00 am – 3:00pm