Cooking from the heart in a GemLife kitchen

French chef Chantal Moritz finds cooking in her GemLife Woodend home kitchen a pure delight.

French chef Chantal Moritz was looking for the `perfect kitchen’ and found it when she decided to downsize and move into the GemLife Woodend over-50s lifestyle resort a year ago.

“It is true a good chef can cook anywhere but I could not have been more delighted with the space and facilities, including a beautiful gas top and quality oven, I have here in my own home. It’s perfect,” said French-born Chantal, 69, who is the fifth member of her family and the first girl to take up the profession.

Born and raised in Paris where her family-owned restaurants for many years, Chantal was inspired to cook by her father who she says was a brilliant chef. At age 16, she remembers cooking her first slow-cooked French chicken dish.

“It took a few hours because the French favour slow cooking to give enough time for the dish to take in all the beautiful flavours of each ingredient. The sauce, which is so important, was difficult to make but when dad tasted it, he said it was delicious. From then on, I cooked with him a lot and have always loved it,” she said.

At the age of 30, Chantal moved to Australia where she spread her passion for French cuisine by running a catering business and hosting annual tours to the many world-famous wine and food regions of France. She also returned with her Australian husband for three years to run her own restaurant in the village of Puget-Rostang in the country north of Nice.

The talented chef’s skills with French cuisine such as beef bourguignon, chicken breast with Grand Marnier sauce, duck with blackberries and port sauce, and a host of mouth-watering French pastries, continues to be admired by all who know her. She says the secret to being a good French cook is “to respect the ingredients and cook from the heart”.

A Woodend resident since the mid-1990s, the talented chef also taught French at Braemer College for 22 years.

GemLife Woodend, which is currently selling the last remaining sites in Stage Five of the development, offers luxurious low-maintenance homes together with premium recreational facilities at its country club. Call 1800 931 188 or visit