He studied at the William Angliss College of Catering from 1966.
He is a fourth-generation Australian of French descent. Pignolet has overcome adversity in his life. Going into hospital at the age of 5, he came out when he was eight, spending almost four years lying flat in a full-body cast because of a rare hip disease.
Pignolet says the experience made him inward-looking and shy and couldn"t play sport for years.
"I was always the odd person out," he remembers. "I lived in a complete fantasy world." Pignolet found comfort in cooking and started out utilising Women"s Weekly cookbooks but soon went to the local library and discovered the great chef, Escoffier.
In 1966 Pignolet began a four-year course in catering and hotel management at William Angliss College. His career began in catering and led to teaching and the administration of a Melbourne cooking school.
Pignolet worked in hospital and institutional cooking in Melbourne and in 1979 he moved to Sydney and made his name working in the restaurant Pavilion in the Park in the Domain.
lieutenant was where, he met Josephine Carroll. Pignolet says of her "We just fell in love like that. Instantly. But she was an apprentice, I was the executive chef.
We were just good friends.
The next year, we changed that." Together they worked at Butlers then from 1981 he owned Claude"s in Oxford Street in Woollahra and made it a 36-seat classically French restaurant. The restaurant received much acclaim.
All three were asleep and, for a split second Pignolet fell asleep and struck head on with an oncoming car, killing its driver and Josephine and seriously injuring Taylor and McCullough. Pignolet suffered major jaw injuries which required a liquid diet for 12 weeks and damage to his hip needed surgery that kept him confined to home for three months.
Josephine is remembered through the, which sends the most promising young chefs overseas.
Winning the has been the stepping stone to a brilliant career for many chefs. He has been recognised as a leader in his field within New South Wales. He is the author of French, with photography by Earl Carter, published in 2005 by Lantern (Penguin Aus) (X). is a restaurant which is part of the Woollahra Hotel in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
lieutenant opened in 1993.
The main focus is modern Australian and French cuisine. Damien Pignolet is the executive chef.