About Scott

My love for great produce began early. As a kid on a farm in Kangarilla, it taught me a lot about food and seasonality. Knowing the growers and producers behind the food we ate gave me a respect for them that I’ve never lost. That connection with an environment like that influenced me to become a chef. So did growing up with my grandmother Audrey’s Sunday roasts.

Those years set the foundations of my values as a chef and restaurateur today. My approach always puts food at the front. It’s based on real cooking – with the greatest respect to the produce. I want you to have incredible food and wine experiences, with incredible service. But the food is the hero.

Now, as a restaurateur, I don’t spend as much time cooking as I used to, but I have some gun Head Chefs to work with. Together, we build on what makes each of the venues special, and try to impart on you our understanding of seasonality and our respect for Australian growers and producers. It’s a journey that’s still going. Can’t wait to share with you what we’ve got planned next.

Timeline

1975 – Childhood

“My grandmother, Audrey, used to cook a Sunday roast, usually lamb. That’s my first lasting recollection of food. It was cooked for hours until it was falling apart. Grandmother Audrey Masterson is an important part of my story.”

Early 90s – Apprenticeship

“For a small city, Adelaide punched above its weight. I was so excited on my first day at Jarmer’s. I owe Peter Jarmer a lot. He was the first person to instil a work ethic in me. He taught me discipline and attention to detail.”

Late 90s – To Melbourne

“It was great, moving to Melbourne to work with Bruno Cerdan at the Hotel Windsor, one of the great hotel kitchens. I felt like I was on my way. Philippe Mouchel’s kitchen was a very different experience. He likes a silent kitchen… I don’t.”

1999 – In London

I walked into The Square. That was it. Life-changing. I thought, “This is for me.” I loved the mood, the energy, the banter, and that was even before I spent the morning working with Phil Howard making terrines.

2002 – Back to Australia

I owe Donovan Cooke a lot. Working with him was like a finishing school. I thought I was a good saucier until I saw him work. My whole philosophical view of meat and sauces changed because of him.

2005 – Bocuse D’Or

I like competitions. I knew them, what they were like to train for, the adrenalin rush of competition. The Bocuse d’Or was in a different league. We trained for a year and came 14th – the highest ever for an Australian team.

2006 – The Point

I was at the Point for more than five years, the longest I had been anywhere. It was a great time, very challenging. It was mainly beef when it came to meat. At one point we did a beef tasting plate with five cuts. We won Best Steak restaurant in 2009 and 2011.

2011 – Estelle

Opening Estelle Bar and Kitchen was probably the biggest leap of faith of my career. It was a huge effort by a lot of people, including family and friends. And involved a lot of improvisation – those DIY skills learnt on the farm came in handy.

2013 – Saint Crispin

Each of my restaurants has a bit of local flavour from the place it’s in, whether Northcote, Collingwood or the Queen Vic Market. In Collingwood, Saint Crispin may seem refined but it’s a little bit raucous, too. It’s eclectic, just like Smith Street.

2014 – Publication of Scott Pickett

A Cook’s Story – My first book, where you can read the whole story… no holds barred…

2015 – ESP and Estelle Bistro

Meanwhile, when Estelle Bar and Kitchen was growing, the opportunity came along to acquire the property next door, and Estelle evolved into two separate restaurants: Estelle Bistro and Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP).

2015 – Television

I co-presented Hotplate on Channel 9 with UK author, food writer and journalist Tom Parker Bowles. I learnt a lot about what to do and what not to do on camera, which has held me in good stead for media appearances moving forward.

2016 – Pickett’s Deli

Then came Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie – very different to the rest. It’s a homage to the neighbourhood chook shop smack in the middle of Melbourne’s culinary heart, the iconic Queen Victoria Market. Rotisserie chicken, bacon and egg rolls and coffee. It’s just bloody yummy.

2018 – Matilda

Matilda. Named after my daughter. A sensory journey, all about flames and open grills, and a true labour of love for me. It’s intended to be more relaxed, somewhere you can visit often and be guaranteed a local piece of meat, cooked exceptionally well.

2019 – Up Next

ESP closure makes room for The Estelle and maybe another book…

Accolades

Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP)

2017 Placed 28 in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide Top 100
2017 The Age Good Food Guide –  
2016 Delicious Top 100 Restaurants
2016 The Australian – Hot 50 Restaurants
2016 Awards for Excellence – Victoria New Restaurant Winner
2016 Placed 58 in the 2016 AFR Top 100 Restaurants

Estelle Bistro

2017 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide
2017 The Age Good Food Guide
2016 Delicious Top 100 Restaurants
2016 The Age Good Food Guide
2015 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide – The Top 100
2015 Placed 27 in the AFR Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants
2015 The Age Good Food Guide –
2014 The Age Good Food Guide –
2014 The Age Good Food Guide – New Restaurant of the Year (Finalist)
2014 The Age Good Food Guide – Young Chef of the Year, Josh Pelham
2013 The Age Good Food Guide –

Saint Crispin

2017 Good Food Guide –  
2016 The Age Good Food Guide –  
2016 Delicious Top 100 Restaurants
2015 Placed 20 in the AFR Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants
2015 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide – The Top 100
2015 The Age Good Food Guide – Restaurant of the Year (Nomination)
2015 The Age Good Food Guide –  
2014 The Age Good Food Guide – New Restaurant of the Year
2014 The Age Good Food Guide –
2014 The Australian – Hot 50 Restaurants
2014 Timeout – Best New Restaurant
2014 Gourmet Traveller Wine Australia’s Wine List of the Year Awards – Best New List (Finalist)
2013 The Australian Restaurant Awards

Matilda

2018 The Australian – Hot 50 Restaurants

Something to read…

Scott Pickett: A
Cook’s Story

A Cook’s Story tells of a life that combines a passion for food with the art and craft of cooking. It’s an open and sometimes confronting account of dramas in the kitchen, the roller-coaster of opening a restaurant, the demands of opening more, and the pleasures and challenges of competition and success.

Buy the book