Robert comes from the South of France on the French Riviera, a village called Beausoleil (meaning ‘beautiful sun’), adjacent to Monaco, Monte Carlo.
Robert was educated at The Catering Institute of Nice and Menton. His stepfather of Italian origin, was chef for The Palace of Monaco.
His mother was appointed at The French Consulate in Melbourne, and the family came to Australia in 1968. After her term expired, the family decided to remain and live in Australia.
Robert worked in Melbourne, then in Newcastle in 1969, for the opening of Capanna Restaurant in Hamilton. He then left for Adelaide and worked at Decca’s Place in North Adelaide, before moving to Sydney to join his family.
He opened the very popular Eliza’s in Double Bay, then worked at both La Rive Gauche and Beppi’s. The family had quite a few restaurants in the Sydney area.
Robert opened his first restaurant in 1972 in Potts Point called Le Sagittaire which is where he met Sally who he later married.
Robert and Sally moved to The Hunter Valley in late 1973, after selling the restaurant in Potts Point to take up management of The Happy Valley Restaurant on Oakey Creek Road, Pokolbin (part of then Saxonvale Wines).
They married in May 1975 and made a home at Apple Porch in Broke.
In 1978 they opened The Pokolbin Cellar Restaurant (part of then Hungerford Hill Wine Village), and while operating the restaurant they took control of all catering at The Rothbury Estate for Mr Len Evans OBE OA, and also opened The Verandah Restaurant at Calais Estate.
The Hunter Valley offered Robert and Sally a challenge to establish dining in a country destination close to the vineyards and create a marriage of food and wine.
In 1979 Robert and Sally’s first son Louis was born, followed by a second son Joseph in 1984, making them a complete family.
In 1989 Robert and Sally became involved in The PepperTree Project with Mike and Suzie O’Connor (Peppers Hotel Group) and Murray and Linley Robson (Robson Wine Group). The three couples and partners established the unique destination of PepperTree with The Convent, PepperTree Wines and Robert’s Restaurant which opened officially in October 1991.
Robert and Sally then sold all their other enterprises to concentrate on Robert’s Restaurant, which soon became a success within itself.
In 1998 they joined The Tower Estate Group with Mr Len Evans as Chairman, as the restaurant went from strength to strength.
With the passing of Mr Evans, Robert and Sally made an offer to repurchase Robert’s which was ultimately refused, and Robert and Sally decided it was time to undertake new endeavours in the growing area of the Hunter.
In August 2007 Robert and Sally began operating a traditional French Bistro (Bistro Molines) at Margan Cellar Door on Hermitage Road which allowed Robert to be taken back to his roots as chef and produce outstanding French cuisine.
In October, 2008 Bistro Molines moved to a beautiful destination at Mount View on top of the hill at Tallavera Grove. The spectacular aspect similar to French Provincial country, offers a serene and amazing unspoilt part of the Hunter Valley. Bistro Molines, with Robert and Sally at the helm is possibly the best discovery to experience.
*Portrait by: Chris Elfes Photography