Business partners can meet in the least likely of places. The Skimmâ€™s founding duo Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin bonded over a shared love of artichokes while studying in Rome; Ben (Cohen) and Jerry (Greenfield) â€“ the legends responsible for the heavenly pairing of cookie dough and ice-cream â€“ met running (admittedly slowly) around the track in seventh grade gym class; and Googleâ€™s Sergey Brin was Larry Pageâ€™s tour guide on his visit to Stanford as a prospective computer science student.
For this pair â€“ Bouche on Bridge co-founders Emma Darrouzet and Harry Stockdale-Powell â€“ the meeting of minds happened to be a scuba diving boat off the coast of Manly in Sydney.
Being a teacher and a chef (respectively) they both had some time off in January last yearÂ and randomly â€“ or perhaps serendipitously â€“ were teamed up to be dive buddies. They quickly discovered a mutual passion for food and began chatting endlessly about recipes and restaurants. Another catch-up was scheduled for a month later but tragedy intervened, as the day they were due to meet Emma received a phone call with the shattering news her mother had taken her life.
â€œMy mother absolutely loved food. She taught me how to cook and how to appreciate food and ingredients, and my whole life all my friends and family would say â€˜you should open a restaurant, you should go on Masterchefâ€™. After Mumâ€™s death, I came into some money and I really wanted to do something with it â€“ a project that would honour her memory but also fulfill some of my own dreams,â€ Emma tells Collective Hub.Â And that she did with the help of her new epicurean scuba friend, Harry.
Months later â€“ after much had changed for both Emma and Harry (who had since left a top job as chef at Rockpool), they arranged to meet again and picked up their conversations and visions about opening a restaurant, but doing it the right way â€“ their way â€“ without all the extra side servings of pretentiousness. Bouche on Bridge in Sydneyâ€™s CBD was born. The pair decided to place a huge emphasis on quality local produce and, as importantly, on staff wellbeing â€“ an issue close to both of their hearts.
With a brand mission that extends beyond food, they are set to launch The Daisy Darrouzet Foundation in 2017. Its aim, Harry explains, is for â€œ10 to 20 per cent of chefs to be those with Aspergers, autism or people who need a stable kitchen environment to learn in. This is one of the reasons we set this restaurant up. We want to generate awareness for mental health.â€
Another cause they champion through Bouche on Bridge is sustainable food practice. â€œWe are committed to sourcing local and Australian ingredients from farmers, partners and suppliers that we have built meaningful relationships with,â€ says Harry. â€œWe exist to create a dining experience where passion and purpose come together, both for our customers and for our staff.â€
The result is a unique and clearly coveted casual fine dining offering. No frosty waiters insisting on introducing overly ambiguous courses. Rather, Bouche on Bridgeâ€™s menu is clear and adaptable â€“ with a stunning array of dishes fromÂ farm, earth and sea.
Emma and Harryâ€™s whole formula is perfectly simplistic: amazing food, world-class wine, good company and easygoing atmosphere makes for a fantastic meal. But donâ€™t let their seemingly simple philosophy fool you â€“ the utmost thought, effort and TLC has been spent on making Bouche on Bridge what it is.
â€œWe wanted to embark on a [thorough] research process to ensure that we put our money where our mouth was and showcase the best produce we could to support Australian producers,â€ concur Emma and Harry.
This approach has certainly made for a seriously Instagrammable menu (special shout-out to the divine crowd-favourite of the chocolate, hazelnut and malt dessert) but we get the feeling that isnâ€™t the co-foundersâ€™ prime agenda â€“ exceptional taste, amiable service, genuine sustainability and greater social impact come first and foremost.