trained Pierre Charkos founded La Renaissance Patisserie, together with his
wife Sally in 1974 in East Roseville, a northern suburb of Sydney, where
they had found a closed down cake shop complete with antiquated equipment.
They soon transformed the shop, enhancing it with Parisian flair. Their traditional
French products were an immediate hit and, from the beginning, queues formed
at the entrance. Pierre quickly established his reputation for creating exquisite
French food, with an unspoken motto that "nothing but the best ingredients
Some of his customers persuaded him to teach them his skills, and so the cooking
school was born in the commercial kitchen in Roseville. For ten years from
1975, thousands of students acquired a basic knowledge of classical French
cooking. Some of the students then went on to establish their own catering
cooking school, an indication of Pierre's influence on Sydney's
growing appreciation of French food.
In the nineties, they were able to move to a beautiful location in Sydney's
historic area, the Rocks. New, elaborate cakes emerged and were named according
to French artists: Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh. Underpinning it all was Pierre's
discipline in developing his art of cooking - he was forever researching new
recipes. He showed great enthusiasm for new ideas without losing track of
the old classical principles. He knew to surround himself with quality personnel
whom he trusted, and who had great respect for him.
Throughout his long illness, his team of skilled patissiers, led by head pastry
chef James Luo, maintained the highest standards set by Pierre. Since his death
in June 2005, they have all continued to work for La Renaissance, and they
provide the link between his expertise and the next generation of the Charkos
family, his three sons, who plan to join the business once they have completed
their training in Paris.
"Adieu Pierre... his contribution to the local food scene was enormous"