WHO AM I
Internationally acclaimed and award winning restaurateur & chef, Dietmar Sawyere, has been a driving force behind the evolution of Australian restaurants and cuisine since he arrived in Melbourne in late 1988.
Swiss born Dietmar comes from a family of restaurateurs and has been involved in running restaurants as well as preparing and cooking the highest quality of food since the tender age of 14. Leaving school at 16 to work for London's prestigious Savoy Hotel, Dietmar very quickly claimed the position of Chef Saucier before transferring to the group's Connaught Hotel, working under the renowned Michel Bourdin.
Having since worked at some of the world's most exclusive hotels and restaurants, Dietmar has honed his skills in incorporating local flavours and ingredients into his menus wherever he has worked. His innovation and expertise has been internationally recognized, garnering numerous awards. At 19, he was named Young Chef of the Year in London by The Culinary Academy and the Savoy Company’s Best Young Chef in 1982. After moving to New Zealand in 1983 to open Top of the Town Restaurant in the Hyatt Hotel, he was twice named Chef of the Year in New Zealand in both 1984 and 1985, during which time his restaurant was named New Zealand Restaurant of the Year.
Upon leaving New Zealand, Dietmar joined Regent International Hotels in Hong Kong and soon transferred to the Regent of Bangkok as Executive Sous Chef. Working in Asia enabled him to develop a greater understanding and love of exotic herbs and spices.
The hotel group soon rewarded his dedication and talent and in 1988 appointed Sawyere the role of Executive Chef of The Regent of Melbourne. "Le Restaurant" during his reign won every major restaurant award in Melbourne, including the coveted Good Food Guide Award.
However, in 1992, Dietmar received an offer to set up the restaurants at Sydney's Park Lane Hotel as Executive Chef in charge of Food & Beverage. The hotel fast became known for its quality cuisine and innovative restaurants, especially its flagship restaurant, Gekko, which soon found itself as one of Sydney's most fashionable venues.
Just a year later, an opportunity arose to create a restaurant on the top floor of Chifley Tower, an amazing space originally designed to be Alan Bond's penthouse.
Dietmar decided that the time had come to venture out on his own. Later that year, Forty One Restaurant opened its doors, which then over the eighteen years it was open won no less than 45 Best Restaurant and Wine List awards, including holding the prestigious 3 hat (star) award from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide for nine years and winning Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Of The Year on four occasions as well as 3 stars in their annual guide.
Also at this time in the Chifley Tower Dietmar opened Brasserie Cassis which operated from 1994 to 1999, holding 1 hat (star) in the SMH Good Food Guide and 1 star in the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. During the 90's Forty One and Brasserie Cassis were the training ground of many of Sydney's top young chefs such as Liam Tomlin, Justin North and Matt Kemp who have all gone on to great acclaim in their own rights.
Deciding to expand 'overseas', Dietmar added a new fine dining restaurant in December 1988 located in Auckland, New Zealand. Five City Road Restaurant was named by Conde Nast Traveller in their "Top Fifty New Restaurants in the World 1999." and was rated as the city of sails finest.
Dietmar also undertook several Consultancy roles during this period including being Consultant Restaurateur & Chef to Shrooms Restaurant at Chjimes in Singapore which rated a 17/20 by the Straits Times under his supervision. Dietmar was also an inaugural member of Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel along with 3 star Michelin chefs, George Blanc, Yoshihiro Murata and Gordon Ramsey, as well as New York's David Burke and San Francisco's Nancy Oakes.
In August 2007 the opportunity arose to obtain Berowra Waters Inn, an Australian dining icon located in an idyllic setting on the Hawkesbury River. After extensive renovation the restaurant re-opened to great critical acclaim in November 2007.
After more than 17 successful years trade Dietmar closed Forty-One restaurant in April 2010 to pursue other opportunities including adding a modern French Bistro to his existing operations, Ad Lib Bistro. That year Dietmar also celebrated the release of his first book Table By The River , which is now in its second print run.
In January 2013 Dietmar took the opportunity to sell his restaurants in Sydney and relocate back to Europe with his family. To facilitate the smooth move and settle his family into life in Switzerland Dietmar took the post as Executive Chef at The Widder Hotel in Zürich.
Dietmar is constantly in demand for guest chef appearances internationally, most recently as guest chef invited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the World Gourmet Summit Singapore. A quality driven restaurateur & chef, Dietmar is passionate about the superiority and diversity of local produce. Often working alongside growers, Dietmar has assisted in the development of many new products which are now available on the Australian market.
While English is Sawyere’s first language, he also speaks German and French. He lives in Zürich with his wife, children and labrador. He is an avid reader and skis or hikes at every opportunity while maintaining his passion for food and wine - its creation, taste, service and design. His 1000 plus library of cookbooks attest to that.