Gita Seaton cooks for Paris and Perth

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Gita Seaton is returning to Perth to be a featured chef at The Table Community Food Centre’s gala, Barns, Farms and Wicked Chefs, on August 24. . At 33, she owns a highly acclaimed diner in Montreal’s Mile End district, Nouveau Palais, where there are line-ups out the door most nights. And she has a growing international reputation.

Just two years ago Nouveau Palais was a neighbourhood greasy spoon and showing all of its 70 years. Gita cleaned it up (but preserved the traditional diner atmosphere), and created a menu of honest dishes. She serves familiar food, well-balanced, thoughtfully prepared and delicious. She places high value on the quality of her ingredients, preferring locally grown produce. She bicycles to her own plot in a community garden and has developed relationships with a range of local growers. Gita has also come to be known for organizing “Cookies Unite”.  Once a month young line cooks vie to be allowed to create their own menus and cook in Nouveau Palais’ professional kitchen. People come from all over to share good food and soak up the atmosphere.

Gita, daughter of Joni Seligman and Jackie Seaton, grew up in Harper. She got her first experience when her mother went on strike and would not return to the kitchen until each of her three children agreed to cook a meal for the family every week. Her next job was at Sunflower Bakery. But Gita started cooking in earnest when she landed a job in Montreal as sous chef for Medhi Brunet-Benkritly. She cooked at Comerç24 in Barcelona, where molecular cuisine was in vogue. Her career has since taken her to Japan, Moscow and New York and more.

In June this year Gita was invited to Paris by Omnivore to prepare her signature burgers. A French film company MK2 filled the Grand Palais, the beautiful glass structure on the Champs Elysee, with old-time arcade games, a roller-skating rink, and an indoor drive-in cinema and a diner. There Gita and her team flipped 20,000 hamburgers in 11 days to high praise from the star chefs who sampled her wares.