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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the world of food about their career highlights and lowlights, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

Dec 17, 2016

In the last year, Lauren Eldridge has worked at the world's best restaurant (Massimo Bottura's Osteria Francescana), impressed the greatest living Italian chef with fairy bread and a punch to the face, whipped dessert with ropes in India and rolled croissants in Paris with Guy Savoy, the 'magician of French cuisine'.

Not bad for someone who thought she'd end up with a psychology career (and occasionally forgot to add key ingredients in her cakes).

While working at Marque restaurant as pastry chef, Lauren won the 2016 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year award - and she ended up at Italy's Osteria Francescana as part of her prize. During her time there, the restaurant took out the top spot on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list and Massimo Bottura was also given the keys to the town of Modena. She also got hit in the face by a colleague and ended up inadvertently bleeding from the nose while casually chatting to Massimo Bottura. So, she definitely had a memorable time in Italy.

While Lauren was away, Mark Best announced the closure of Marque and the 17-year-old restaurant finished with a final service of alumni chefs (an all-star line-up that included the likes of Dan Hong, Dan Pepperell, Brent Savage, Daniel Puskas and other talent that Mark mentored). 

Although Marque has closed, Lauren is now working with Mark again at Pei Modern at Sydney's Four Seasons hotel. She's brought over her Honeycomb and Cultured Cream dessert (which Gourmet Traveller placed on their ‘Hot 100’ list for 2015) and takes credit for some impressive not-so-typical dishes at Pei Modern, like the salted liquorice cake and molasses ice cream. Perhaps one day we'll see a version of the fairy bread dessert she presented to Massimo Bottura on the menu.

In this podcast, she also talks about what it was like to be mentored by Mark, the irony of making desserts when she doesn't have a sweet tooth and her recent culinary adventures around the world. Plus, where she likes to eat and drink in Sydney.