Restaurant Catering october 2011 $6.95 GST incl.
PRINT POST APPROVED PP: 255003/07314 ISSN 1442-9942
Stefano Manfredi is back in town and at the top of his game. We find out what lured him back from the beach to inner Sydney
Wisdom from Jake Greenrod of GoodLife Organic Pizza: â€œWe became organic by default, but it was good timing because people are interested in the ethics of their foodâ€?
<When is Wagyu not Wagyu? Page 33 <How to use awards, page 19 < Clever technology for a fast-changing wine list (it's called a blackboard)<Selling the end of the meal, page 29 <The latest and greatest new products, page 28 Official Journal of Restaurant & Catering
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In this issue ... Upfront
From the Association John Hart on why the Awards for Excellence truly reflect talent, and Brien Trippas on the talkfests happening in Canberra
News and events Bécasse wins top Sydney award; restaurant spend is up; and more...
12 Cover story The Italian job
With the opening of his new restaurant Balla, Stefano Manfredi is gearing up for the busiest period of his life
Day of judgement
What I’ve learnt
Love The Duck
For the latest Restaurants of the Year, judges are just another customer The co-owner and founder of GoodLife Modern Organic Pizza on working with the media, with the family, and growing organically A unique name and a commitment to sustainability have given this Tasmanian restaurant a real talking point
The perfect wine list
Saké Restaurant & Bar
The latest and greatest stuff Getting the end of a meal just right will guarantee satisfied customers and help boost your restaurant’s bottom line Despite its rarity and value, it seems every restaurant in town has Wagyu beef on its menu. So when is Wagyu not really Wagyu? There is a technology that allows the constant updating of a dynamic, small wine list. It’s called a blackboard Placing a modern Japanese restaurant in the heart of a heritage-listed sandstone building was a challenge for Rachel Luchetti of design firm Luchetti Krelle
38 RESTAURANT & CATERING 3
from the association
RACE winners Thanks to the RACE judging system, our national awards are a true reflection of excellence
he finale of the 2011 awards season will be upon us this month. With preparations for the national awards in full swing as I write, we are surrounded with the usual bevy of great quality new restaurants and caterers that are hoping to pull off the national title. The unfortunate thing is that there is only one winner in each category and the difference between the winner and the others is often a very fine margin. In many regions this year the number of nominations was higher than ever before. This is great for establishing a quality field, but it also means that there may be more disappointed members that have not won their categories. The competition this year was very fierce and I hope that all the entrants can take heart at their success in being a finalists. The RACE system held up very well again this year. The system does judge the performance in the business on the day of judging, however most judges get a good feel for the customer experience and the 55 criteria ensure that this is consistent. Congratulation to all awards entrants and thanks to our team of judges that have done a great job of assessing over 2,000 restaurants, cafes and caterers. John Hart CEO, Restaurant & Catering
Restaurant & Cateringâ€™s mission: To lead and represent the Australian restaurant and catering industry. Restaurant & Catering Australia Suite 17, 401 Pacific Highway, Artarmon NSW 2064 1300 RCAUST (722 878) Ph: (02) 9966 0055. Fax: 1300 722 396, Web: www.restaurantcater.asn.au Restaurant Guide: www.restaurant.org.au Caterers Guide: www.caterer.org.au Email: email@example.com President: Brien Trippas (NSW) Senior Vice President: Kevin Gulliver (QLD) Junior Vice President: Terry Soukoulis (SA) Treasurer: Richard Harper (VIC) Chief Executive Officer: John Hart R&C is a federation of the following associations, working together on national issues on behalf of their members. Restaurant & Catering NSW Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (02) 1300 722 396 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Ian Martin Restaurant & Catering QLD Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (07) 3252 7554 Email: email@example.com President: Peter Summers
Restaurant & Catering ACT Ph: 1300 722 878. . Fax: (02) 9211 3800 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Fiona Wright Restaurant & Catering SA Ph: 8351 7837. Fax: (08) 8351 7839 Email: email@example.com President: Cath Kerry Chief Executive Officer: Sally Neville Restaurant & Catering Tas Ph: 1300 722 878. . Fax: (03) 6224 7988 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Phil Capon General Manager: Steve Old Restaurant & Catering Vic Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (03) 9654 5286 Email: email@example.com President: Matteo Pignatelli Restaurant & Catering WA Ph: 1300 722 878. Fax: (08) 9328 7366 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org President: Paul Buckman
Restaurant & Catering magazine is published under licence on behalf of Restaurant & Catering by Engage Custom Media, Suite 4.08, The Cooperage, 56 Bowman Street, Pyrmont NSW 2009 www.engagemedia.com.au Editorial Director: Rob Johnson Creative Director: Tim Donnellan Sub-editor: Kerryn Ramsey Contributors: Sharon Aris, Nicole Azzopardi, John Burfitt, Ben Canaider, Kellie Morle, Kerryn Ramsey, Danielle Veldre Commercial Director: Mark Brown Sales Director: Cameron Boon Direct: (02) 9660 6995 ext 502 Fax: (02) 9518 5600 Mobile: 0416 205 965 Email: email@example.com For all editorial, subscription and advertising enquiries, ph: 1300 722 878 Print Post approved PP: 2255003/06505, ISSN 1442-9942 ÂŠ2011 Engage Custom Media. Views expressed in Restaurant & Catering magazine are not necessarily those of Restaurant & Catering or that of the publisher, editor or Engage Custom Media. Printed by Bright Print Group
7,661 - CAB Audited as at May 23, 2011 4 RESTAURANT & CATERING
photography: north sullivan
Restaurant & Catering
Talk is cheap Despite being shut out of Canberra’s talkfests, your industry is getting on with growing business
his month has been the month for policy talkfests. The Tax Forum and the Job Forum both occupied the attention of the media and government in the early weeks this October. The hospitality sector was a spectacular omission from both of the Canberra-based soirees. In the same period we saw ABS figures showing the restaurants, cafes and caterers were one of the only sectors of the economy that is still growing. Accommodation and Foodservices (the government classification of our industry) has the highest proportion of employment of youth (at 45 per cent), has a predominance of female employment, and has 40 per cent of jobs located in the regions. Yet the Jobs Forum had no pubs, no clubs and no restaurants to provide input into the government’s think tank on jobs. There are also very deep skills shortages in many parts of the industry. A report by the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, published in October shows that we are 6 per cent underemployed. This proves the untapped potential of the hospitality industry. We will keep knocking on the government’s door. At some stage they may make the connection that the very industry they patronize every day will play a role in the nation’s future. Brien Trippas President, Restaurant & Catering
Diamond Associate Member: HOSTPLUS
Platinum Associate Members: American Express International • Bidvest • Westpac Banking Corporation
Gold Associate Members: Fine Wine Partners • Goodman Fielder Food Services • Lion Nathan • Meat & Livestock Australia • Treasury Wine Estates
Foundation Associate Members, and Associate Members: ALSCO • AON • APRA • Australian Mangoes • Bartercard • Coca-Cola Amatil • H&L Australia • Luigi Bormioli • Vittoria Coffee
RESTAURANT & CATERING 5
News &events North on top
Bécasse takes out Sydney’s food industry’s top accolade
écasse restaurant in Sydney has been named Sydney Metropolitan’s top place to dine in the 2011 Savour Australia™ Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence for Sydney Metropolitan & Surrounds. Darley’s Restaurant in Katoomba was awarded Restaurant of the Year for the Blue Mountains & Central West region. More than 300 restaurants and caterers were recognised at a ceremony last month at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. Joining Bécasse and Darley’s in the winners’ circle was Fresh Catering, Redfern, which was named Caterer of the Year. All three winners will now move forward to compete with venues from across Australia in the national finals at Luna Park in Sydney on October 24. Other award recipients on the night included Mumu Grill, Crows Nest, which received the Savour Australia™ Consumer Choice Award; Lifetime Achiever Robert Ho was honoured for his outstanding commitment and service to the industry; Stefano Manfredi was inducted into the Hall of Fame; Con Dedes took out Restaurateur of the Year; and ALSCO who was named 2011 Supplier of the Year. Restaurant & Catering CEO John Hart commented that, “The Awards for Excellence represent an important moment as the industry pauses to honour these outstanding venues. Sydney and its surrounding areas is home to some of the country’s tourism and dining treasures. The restaurants and caterers reflect the rich use of regional produce making this region unique in comparison to other regions.”
Justin North of Bécasse, owner of Sydney’s winning restaurant.
Restaurant meal spend doubles ABS Household Expenditure data released in September shows, as expected, that Australia’s love affair with eating out is going strong. Now 3.1 per cent of all expenditure is on eating out, compared to just over two per cent in the previous survey period (2003-04). In dollar terms, the spend per week has risen from $19.98 to $38.30. The Australian Bureau of Statistics also launched a five-yearly expenditure survey showing the average Australian household spends $204.20 on food and non-alcoholic beverages. The 2009-10 result for food is 33 per cent up on 2003-04. John Hart, CEO of Restaurant & Catering Australia, said, “This shows that Australians really do love to eat out and value the service that restaurants, cafes and caterers are offering.” Of the capital cities around Australia, Melbourne records the highest spend per household, on restaurants, of $44.22 per household per week. This compared to a 2003-04 result in Melbourne of $20.44. “The increase in spend has unfortunately not been matched by increases in profits,” Hart said. “Huge growth in wage costs has made most restaurants marginally viable. This will impact on the capacity of the industry to continue to deliver what consumers want.”
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News &events Menu engineering Specialist advisory firm, Hotel & Hospitality Consultancy has announced it is expanding its business enhancement product offering to include Menu Engineering Analysis reporting. H&HC managing director Kerry Bielik said, “Today’s restaurateurs are busier than ever, particularly owner/operators. There are so many demands on their time, from the day-to-day issues of the kitchen, the customers and the suppliers to the administrative workload such as accounts, payroll and staffing issues, etc. Often they’re too busy working in the business, to spend the time they’d like working on the business. “That’s why we have introduced a simple and cost effective Menu Engineering solution that can help managers make the critical decisions that will improve their businesses bottomline,” says Mr Bielik. “H&HC’s comprehensive report clearly identifies how each dish on your menu is affecting your bottomline. We also provide an easy-to-read graph that plots which of four profit categories each dish falls into. That information allows operators to make critical decisions relating to; dish selection, pricing, portion control and menu description, with far greater confidence,” said Mr Bielik. Depending upon the scope of the menu, the service costs from as little as $320 + GST. More info can be found at www.handhc.com.au.
8 RESTAURANT & CATERING
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Peter Kuruvita shares his Sri Lanka
Peter Kuruvita is taking TV viewers back to his roots.
Sydney chef Peter Kuruvita is taking a break from his harbour-side restaurant Flying Fish to take a journey through his ancestral home of Sri Lanka. My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita combines breathtaking locations and scenery with spectacular spicy fare in a captivating, 10-part series starting next month on SBS One. Using his grandmother’s recipes as a guide, Kuruvita travels across the country, from seaside fishing village to lofty tea field, experiencing the wealth of Sri Lanka’s beauty, culture and culinary diversity along the way. With Kuruvita at the helm, there is no shortage of memories to share, or dishes to discover in this authentic portrayal of a unique and alluring country and its cuisine. The country is often associated with social conflict and unrest; however, Kuruvita’s journey ventures beneath these perceptions to tap into Sri Lanka’s largely unrecognised depth of history and cultural fortitude, all of which have patiently waited to be explored. “I am so proud of this series. It has reunited me with my childhood home, and allowed me to reconnect with special family and friends from my past. This journey is a personal one for me and I hope audiences will enjoy it,” said Kuruvita. The series starts in November on SBS One.
CafeSmart a winner The first ever CafeSmart fundraising event on last August has been hailed a great success by StreetSmart CEO Adam Robinson, raising $47,477. “We were both pleased and surprised at the support the coffee and cafe industry provided for our first ever CafeSmart event in August. The response from both venues and consumers was overwhelming,” he said. “The heroes at a national and state level were the venues, the coffee roasters and the community who got behind us to spread the word and bring their friends and colleagues on board,” he continued. “Cafes donated $1 for every coffee sold on the day to support smaller grassroots organisations helping people who are
homeless or at risk.” All of the $47,477 raised from Cafe Smart is distributed locally, to provide emergency aid including food and shelter, as well as projects that promote social inclusion, empowerment and sustainable change for some of our most disadvantaged neighbours. StreetSmart has raised $1,600,914 since commencing in 2003 and in 2010, 88 projects were funded across Australia. Find more at www. streetsmartaustralia.org/cafesmart.
Oxfam Australia is calling on local restaurants to help tackle the devastating food crisis in the Horn of Africa by getting behind the international aid agency’s national fundraiser Shout the Horn on World Food Day in October. On October 16, Oxfam is asking Australians to dine out with friends and ‘shout’ the cost of an extra meal by making a donation at participating restaurants to Oxfam Australia’s East Africa appeal. A number of high-profile major restaurants have already signed up to take part and Oxfam is now looking to get more restaurants on board. Restaurants simply register online and encourage patrons to donate on the day. Oxfam Australia executive director Andrew Hewett said Shout the Horn offered Australians a unique opportunity to dine at their favourite restaurants while helping a good cause. “We want Australians to eat local to help global on Sunday October 16 and have a great time while helping others. We’re looking for as many restaurants as possible to put their hands up to get involved for a worthwhile cause,” Mr Hewett said. Several figures from the food world have already lent their support. Highly-acclaimed chef at Sydney’s Red Lantern Mark Jensen, for example, is encouraging Australians to get on board. “I’m joining Oxfam and asking you to Shout the Horn on Sunday October 16, by
Mark Jensen of Red Lantern is asking you to shout the horn.
sharing a meal or dining out at a participating restaurant and making a donation to help Oxfam respond to this devastating food crisis in the Horn of Africa,” Mr Jensen said. Oxfam is on the ground in several affected regions in the Horn of Africa. Working with local partners, the international aid agency is already reaching one million people, and aiming to reach a further 2.5 million with emergency relief, such as essential food, water and sanitation. If you are a restaurant owner, visit www. oxfam.org.au/shoutthehorn for details.
RESTAURANT & CATERING 9
The Australian Small Winemakers Show in Stanthorpe, Queensland, is a week-long tasting celebration on October 15-22, with presentation dinner on October 20. Visit www.asws.com.au
Hoteliers, bartenders, suppliers and retailers are shakin’, rockin’ and rollin’ at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards at Sydney’s Luna Park with ‘Music’ as the theme. Visit www.liquorawards.com.au
Let’s stick together – it’s International Chefs Day!
The Australian Foodservice Academy offers innovation workshops for hospitality executives until Friday. See www. australianfoodserviceacademy. com.au.
Pack up your shavers this month, lads, and join the Movember movement. Money raised goes to programs targeting prostate cancer and male depression. Register online at Movember.com
Discovering how to reduce carbon emissions—and increase networking opportunities—are on the agenda at the Carbon Expo in Melbourne on November 7-9. Visit www.carbonexpo.com.au
More than 15,000 consumers reveal their sweet tooths at the New York Chocolate Show on November 10-13. Visit www. chocolateshow.com or twitter. com/#!/NYChocolateShow.
10 RESTAURANT & CATERING
The tastiest place on earth this month is Disney World in Florida with the sixweek Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. Visit www.disneyworld.com
The winner of the Bocuse D’Or Australian cook-off at the Hospitality Training Association in Brisbane today will compete in France in March. Visit www. bocusedoraustralia.com
Public tastings, the Terroir Tour and a night market are highlights at the Orange Wine Week in northwest NSW on October 21-30. Visit www.tasteorange.com.au
The Top 50 Tasting event at the Qantas Wine Show of WA (www. wineshowwa.com.au) is today. The Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show in Mildura, Victoria (www. aavws.com) starts tomorrow.
The Good Food & Wine Show takes on Brisbane on November 4-6, with chef line-ups and regular news updated on Facebook. Visit www.goodfoodshow.com.au
The award for the best pinot noir is a highlight at the Wrest Point Royal Hobart International Wine Show on November 12-18. Visit www.hobartshowground.com. au/wineshow
Illuminate those old cobwebs and introduce some wicked potions on the menu for Halloween.
Be well prepared! The Melbourne Cup is one of the busiest—and most lucrative—days of the years for both caterers and restaurateurs.
Melodic sounds, taste treats and wines to take home are all on offer at Canberra’s 21 cellars, all part of the Festival of Wine, Roses and All that Jazz on November 5-6. Visit www.canberrawines.com.au
Should alcohol be regulated as food? This is being debated at the Food Regulations & Labelling Conference in Sydney on November 9-10. Visit www.informa.com.au
Best place for a coffee trade show? Costa Rica, naturally—experience the Sintercafé conference and exhibition on November 9-13. Visit www.sintercafe.com
The most exciting night of the year is the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence at Sydney’s Luna Park. For more info, call 1300 722 878 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Food Safety Information Council is determined to debunk food safety myths during Australian Food Safety Week on November 7-13. Visit www.foodsafety.asn.au
Victoria is the last state award for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards, followed by national winners announced on November 18: www.businesswomensawards. telstra.com
The Mildura Jazz Food and Wine Festival offers idyllic Murray River settings, pumping jazz and oodles of restaurants and cafes. On October 28-31; visit www. artsmildura.com.au/jazz
Final days for the month-long Crave Sydney International Food Festival, with chef showcases, night noodle markets and Breakfast on Bondi. Visit www.cravesydney.com
Comic-book buffs and sci-fi geeks engage in ice-cream and sweetand-sour eating contests at the Armageddon Expo in Melbourne all weekend. Visit www. armageddonexpo.com
Winner of the 50th Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy is announced at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show in Melbourne. Don’t miss the pre-show masterclass! Visit www.wineshow.com.au
Mixologists compete for the World Margarita Championship at the Annual Tucson Culinary Festival in Arizona on October 27-30. Visit www.tucsonculinaryfestival.com
From camembert to chevre, the CheeseFest in Adelaide’s Rymill Park on October 15-16 offers samplings, cooking classes and cheese making demos. Visit www.cheesefest.com.au
Sip and sample organic food and beverages at the Sustainable Living Expo in Hobart on November 5-6. Visit www. tasmanianenvironmentcentre. org.au
World Food India promotes its wares as local chefs prepare dishes using the exhibitors’ products and ingredients. On November 9-11 in New Delhi. Visit www.worldfoodindia.com
Entries for food and wine books for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards close today. Visit www.cookbookfair.com
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The Italia With the opening of his new inner-city restaurant Balla, and the success of Bells at Killcare out of town, Stefano Manfredi is gearing up for the busiest period of his life words: john Burfitt
ravelling to Italy once or twice a year is an important part of Stefano Manfredi’s annual schedule—it helps the man dubbed ‘The Godfather of ItaloAustralian cooking’ stay inspired. But there is little chance the acclaimed chef will be using his passport for the rest of this year. The most travelling he will be doing over the coming months will be up and down the Pacific Highway as he tends to his new restaurant Balla at the newly refurbished The Star casino complex in Sydney, and his eatery Bells at Killcare on the NSW Central Coast. Balla marks Manfredi’s full-time return to the Sydney market, since he moved on from Bel Mondo in 2002. He has since consulted on a number of projects, and opened Bells on Killcare Beach four years ago. For Manfredi, the opening of Balla at The Star on Sydney’s harbourside Pyrmont peninsula marks something of a return to his roots. Not only is it his first city restaurant in almost a decade, but it was just a few hundred metres down the road where, almost 30 years ago, he opened his first business, The Restaurant Manfredi. “It is very nice to be back,” he says during a chat in the hours before the lunch rush at Balla. But the master chef is also aware his move back into the 12 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Sydney market is being watched from many quarters, particularly with his choice of location at the overhauled Star City. “I know there was a raising of eyebrows when we announced we were coming here, but as with any chef who wants to have a wider audience, we can’t just have a little restaurant in a side suburban street anymore,” he says. “It is good when you are young, as it is all exciting, but the fact is it is not going to make you any money. “So you need to “You need to build build your name your name and then and then use your use your name to name to build build other things. other things. But But you need the you need the restaurant as that is restaurant as that your shopfront and is your shopfront that is what people and that is what come to see.” people come to see. Stefano Manfredi “You also get to my age and don’t worry too much about the barbs—they really don’t matter at the end of the day. What I have learnt to do is focus on the customers and cuisine and service—the total package.” Manfredi calls Balla, “the most Italian restaurant I have ever done”. The authenticity of the Italian experience is important for the chef born in Gottolengo in northern Italy 56 years ago, and who arrived in Australia with his parents as migrants in 1961. In 2002, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Belusconi pre-
an job sented him with the inaugural trophy from the Italian International Culinary Institute for Foreigners. The honour also earned Manfredi the nickname of ‘The Godather’. Maintaining the authentic taste of his birthplace in his adopted home is the passion, which drives Manfredi. But he admits it comes with a cost. “For this restaurant, we have had an Italian architect, my GM (Luca Carichini) is Italian, our head chef (Gabriele Taddeucci) is Italian and several people on the team are also Italian. So in terms of Italian-ness, there are a lot of ingredients and a lot of authenticity—but it can also be seen as one giant headache,” he laughs. “Every Italian has an opinion about a dish, which is unlike Australians. Even if something tastes good to an Italian, they will still say, ‘Yes, but my mother or my grandmother does it in a different way’. Every time!” In the decades since Manfredi first opened The Restaurant Manfredi, the Pyrmont peninsula has been transformed from an industrial wasteland to a chic inner-city suburb. What has also changed is what Manfredi now wants from the area for his business. Manfredi says what he loves most about Bells at Killcare is the same thing that decided the deal to open Balla at The Star. And that is a garden. The large garden of fresh produce in the grounds of Bells at Killlcare has become one of Manfredi’s RESTAURANT & CATERING 13
proudest achievements. When he spotted a vacant deck area during renovations at The Star he knew it would be perfect for growing vegetables. That was the deciding factor in agreeing to open Balla in the casino complex. “I remember walking along the corridor to meet with Victor Tiffany [The Star’s head of hospitality], and looking out of these giant windows,” he says. “I saw this area which had the potential for a whole lot of gardens. David Chang we can not easily buy,” he explains. “So if we can’t [of Momofuku] had also shown interest of find it, we then add it to the list of things we grow wanting to grow things up there, so then ourselves. At Bells, I have taken people for tours we got the go-ahead. down through the gardens and also to see our “With me, it is “So, it’s nice that in this inner-city chooks. You have to bring them into the world all about teams, area an old industrial strip of the you have created.” town which is now a big casino, we and while I will be While Manfredi is burning the rubber of his are growing vegetables in a garden. busy getting Balla car’s tyres while travelling between his two resI want to be able to grow my own up and going, I also taurants, he says he has no fears about spreadthings. It is a way for me to hook have a very good ing himself too thinly between the operations. into my past as my father was from team up at Bells.” He believes the greatest asset he has is the staff a farming background.” Stefano Manfredi he has employed. But it is not just any vegetables that “With me, it is all about teams, and while I will be Manfredi grows in his restaurant gardens. busy getting Balla up and going, I also have a very good Among the range are punterelle (a type of team up at Bells. My head chef is Cameron Cansdell and heading chicory), cime di rapa (flowering turnip he’s running the place very well. And he also loves gardening, which is tops) and borraggine (borage). The more exotic important,” he adds with a chuckle. and difficult to source, the more likely it is to be “But you still do have to take care as your name is your brand and that is found in a Manfredi garden bed. all you have got. That is your point of difference. You must always maintain “The whole thing about the garden is not the integrity of your name and know not to do some things rather than just the fresh produce, but we grow things that 14 RESTAURANT & CATERING
photography: anson smart
Above: The entrance to Balla at The Star, Sydney, leads out to a dramatic rooftop garden. Right: The dining room at Bells at Killcare, a recent state winner at the Savour Awards for Excellence.
A sample of what to expect from Balla.
will tell you what they think, and if it is not good, you need to ask them, ‘what can I do?’ “No one wants to not be taken seriously. You need to listen and hear them—that is the lesson. Most times you can turn them around n addition to his restaurants, Manfredi has also kept busy in other and do so without a drama. And in the proareas of the industry. He has launched a range of ceramcess, you may be also creating very loyal ics, the coffee label Espresso di Manfredi, writes a customers for years to come.” regular column in The Sydney Morning Herald While Manfredi says his career and has published four cookbooks. “Most times you can has taught him a wealth of The one major change in the way Manfredi operturn them around lessons, he admits he is still in ates a business, however, is that he today spends as and do so without a the game because he still has much time in the front of the house as he does in drama. And in the plenty to learn, as well as to the kitchen working at the grill and benchtop. process, you may be teach Australians about the joys He says this is a world away from how ran The also creating very of Italian cuisine. Restaurant Manfredi in the 1980s. He believes all loyal customers for “There is still plenty of mystery chefs should spend time on the floor to see what is years to come.” to Italian food left for us to try to really going on. Stefano Manfredi work with and understand,” he says. “I would have never done that when I was younger— “I am still learning and that is why I still in 1983, my mother and I were too busy out the back take tours to Italy to better understand it taking care of everything, as well as washing up as we all. But really, I don’t know it all and I am couldn’t afford to pay someone to do that. still discovering. “Many chefs are scared to come out of the kitchen and confront what the cus“I figure a teacher is someone who is not tomers are really saying, and I think they should cop it sweet—both the good and an imparter of facts. They teach you how to the bad,” continues Manfredi. learn. That, I feel, has always been my job.” “I come out front and listen. The complaints are rare, thankfully, but people
regret anything you have done. I look at what we have done and think we have made some pretty good decisions in terms of what projects we have taken on over the years,” explains Manfredi.
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Last year’s winners of the Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence
words: andy kollmorgen
For the latest line-up of Restaurants of the Year, judges are just another customer
Avoiding award-consciousness doesn’t take away from the thrill of winning, however. For Breitfuss, the accolade is a powerful message to staff that taking the extra steps is worth the effort. Breitfuss’s description of Nine as here’s no way of knowing when a judge might show up at a “very intimate and personal” is no restaurant nominated for an Award for Excellence—or who they exaggeration. With only five tables, might be. What a restaurateur can know is that the morale boost from the award the judge won’t be in the business themdidn’t have far to travel. “It’s selves and will come and go anonymously. really been fantastic for the They’ll be taking a look at whether “We treat every guess team, and it’s fantastic for your place is up to standards—and like a reviewer. They any restaurant to be nothen some—across some 55 criteria might be arriving in ticed like this. It validates of food and service performance if you’re an informal thongs and T-shirt or everything you do regardestablishment, and 66 if you’re in the fine dining division. wearing an Armani less of any award conIn effect, they’ll be a stand-in for an extremely discrimisuit, but they’re test, and it certainly gets nating diner—an über-customer—only you won’t know paying the same noticed by customers.” how closely they’re paying attention or what they’re money.” Michael Harrington, who focusing on. The customer-driven approach is fundamenAndreas Breitfuss, GM, Nine at the owns the ACT’s 2011 Restal to the spirit of the awards, the criteria for which has been Tower Lodge, Pokoblin taurant of the Year, Sage (also an drawn from a regimen of fine-tuned customer surveys. Award for Excellence winner in Now in its 13th year, the Awards for Excellence process, like all the European category), says keepsuch processes, is designed to catch potential recipients unawares. If ing the restaurant’s French cuisine and the idea is to ensure high standards are kept year round, the process seems service award-worthy throughout the to be working. A sampling of this year’s Restaurant of the Year winners suggests that year is central to the business model. Australia’s best restaurants are always open for inspection. Still, being notified that an anonymous Andreas Breitfuss, general manager of Nine at the Tower Lodge at Pokoblin—the Awards for Excellence judge will appear 2011 Restaurant of the Year for the Hunter Region in NSW and winner in the Best New without warning does tend to keep Restaurant category—told us he and his staff blithely kept doing what got them nomipeople on their toes. nated in the first place when they heard Nine was in the running. “It’s always business “We don’t look at it like, ‘it’s comas usual around here. We treat every guess like a reviewer. They might be arriving in ing up to the judging time of the year’, thongs and T-shirt or wearing an Armani suit, but they’re paying the same money.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 19
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because if you start trying to do that you’re playing a guessing game. After getting nominated we were told that someone would be visiting sometime over a two-to-three month period. So it wasn’t like we changed the way we do things, but you can’t help but be aware that you’ve been nominated. We just want people to come and check us out, and winning this award is definitely a drawcard. To be singled out for praise is always an attraction for people looking for a new place. Being named restaurant of the year is never bad for business.” Harrington says he doesn’t focus on the specific judgement
Business as usual is one approach. Then there are those who have the prize firmly in mind as they continually look for ways to win one. Cassia and Tristan Grier’s Harvest Café in Newrybar NSW took out the 2011 Restaurant of the Year for Northern New England after being nominated in the previous four years. Cassia says aiming for an award has had her focused on “stabilising excellence” since the restaurant opened. The effort has apparently paid off, since Harvest also won in the Best Breakfast and Contemporary Dining categories. “I definitely use the rewards as a motivator for staff,” Cassia says. “I’ve pulled back a bit from the ‘make sure you smile at everyone’ approach I took for the first few years, but I still make sure everybody knows the awards are on. You can see who else has been nominated in the various categories on the website, so we know who we’re up against, and it’s always stiff competition. Thinking about the awards and looking at the criteria has definitely had an impact on the way we approach our service and our food, and going from being nominated to winning has really been beautiful for everyone.”
othing seems to have been left out when it comes to potential Awards for Excellence winners. There are 47 eligible restaurant categories, coverR&C CEO John Hart says the happiness of customers is the best measure of success. ing culturally specific cuisine as well as pub, club, hotel and motel criteria but believes a staff-centric approach is the best way to restaurants, and those that have the distinction of having fulfil it. “Our whole philosophy is to involve the staff. We treat been open for at least 12 months since the previous year’s them like a lot more than just employees, and do everything nomination date. we can to accommodate any personal issues that staff members Given their lack of industry experience, judges undergo may have, such as work hours. We really do look at it like we’re special training on how to know if nominees meet top all in this together and depend on each other to make it standards across the various criteria. But as work. A big part of that is also treating customers like seasoned customers, they already know a lot. family. Rather than run a conventional small busiRestaurant & Catering Australia CEO John “We really do ness model, we look at it as a passionate sharing Hart says keeping customers happy, or look at it like we’re of vision. Once we’ve got that in place, people not, is always the truest measure of all in this together naturally want to give their best.” whether they deserve an award. It’s and depend on each Deborah Ramsay, the sales manager at Bells no accident, he says, that the awards other to make it at Killcare, 2011 Restaurant of the Year for standards have been adopted by the work. A big part the NSW Central Coast, also focuses on doing National Tourism accreditation proof that is also what she’s always been doing when the awards gram and thereby become an estabtreating customers season comes around. Ramsay says “we just lished benchmark. Staying award-worlike family.” have standard operating procedures”. Bells has thy is an ongoing process, Hart says, Micheal Harrington, Sage, ACT been an Awards for Excellence winner in the Best but the goal is simple. “If restaurants are Restaurant in a Hotel category for the last few years doing what customers say and what customers in a row, but this is the restaurant’s first region-wide want, then they are meeting the criteria.” win. It’s been a victory for both Bells and the local commuWillful ignorance may get tougher for some as nity, Ramsay says, and a strong signal to those who don’t live in the final stage of the awards comes to a finish. Just one winner the same postcode that it’s worth the drive. “Everyone around each in the Restaurant of the Year and Caterer of the Year catehere is excited to have a restaurant of this quality, and this gories will compete with venues across Australia in the national award helps spread that excitement.” finals at Sydney’s Luna Park on October 24. 20 RESTAURANT & CATERING
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What I’ve learnt
words: Rob Johnson
The co-owner and founder of GoodLife Modern Organic Pizza on working with the media, with the family, and growing organically
was actually studying winemaking at Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia. To pay my way through my degree I started working at a restaurant called 1918, which was half-owned by the owners of Rochford Wines and half by a group of young chefs who had just come back from overseas. Basically, they started it because Robert O’Callahan from Rochford wanted somewhere to eat in the Barossa.
The benefit of my time on the newspaper was I could get our press release on to the food editor’s desk when we opened, then harass him about it in the lift. You get an understanding of the way the media works. So the publicity side is something we pursue. We still enjoy working with media. Originally it was me and two brothers (Mike and Martin) but Mike sold out. We wanted to work for ourselves and follow that passion for food and wine. None of us are chefs, so we wanted to work with something simple. The space we took over was a former fine dining restaurant, so we wanted to do something efficient and we decided to do pizzas. We had worked at Pizza Hut so we knew there could be good margins in it, and you didn’t need qualified chefs to drive it.
I’ve always loved good food. Mum’s Chinese, and Dad’s English, so we always had different things on the kitchen table. We’d shop at Central markets in Adelaide, and always had an interest and passion for food in our house. So I started working at the restaurant and became interested in restaurants. After six months they offered me an apprenticeship, but then decided they “Being organic, wanted me out the front. I did three there’s a point years at 1918, then went to hotel of difference in school at the Regency.
Being organic, there’s a point of difference in marketing and I think it’s been enhanced over the last eight years. People are interested in the ethics of their food, and what they put in their mouth. So it was good timing, and in exploring our suppliers, a lot of organic stuff came up. The best quality ingredients happened to be organic, so by default it became organic.
I think it’s been Robert O’Callahan and Pam enhanced over the O’Donnell from Rochford Wines last eight years.” were a big influence on me, Then Ian Bickford bought into 1918, and he was well-known in Adelaide. Ian’s been I think it has fantastic upsides working with a mentor over the years. He’s infamous for family. Like any partnership, you have to trust the other his style, which is very laid-back. I’m fairly easypartners and have faith and understanding. It’s great if your going, so that’s why we got along. I just think, well, partners can do that. But it has presented times where you’ll that’s what’s in front of you and in one evening you can get a talk to each other in a way you wouldn’t talk to staff. Also, we lot of things thrown at you, and you need to adapt as you’re have multiple venues now, which makes it easier—everyone going. We once did a big Barossa Vintage dinner with Maggie can have their own venue if necessary. Beer and Cheong Liew and others, and Ian called and asked if I wanted to do it. I said sure. He said, show up at 5pm on Growing it was a natural challenge. We operate all the Friday. You know what to do—just get on with it. businesses the same way, even while each of us concentrates on one venue. The personal differences come in on things like I worked in a few different places from quick service the music and the ambience in that venue. to fine dining. Then I went into advertising—I worked in an ad agency and on The Advertiser [newspaper] for four years. Mike selling out was pretty smoothly done. He always It was an attempt to do nine to five hours. That lasted until wanted to get into filmmaking, and to work the hours we my brothers had set up GoodLife. I was the safety net in case did, it wasn’t possible. Ironically, he still works for us one day our idea didn’t work. Luckily things got busy enough that it a week. And we can’t sack him or he’ll tell Mum and Dad. went the other way. 22 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Jake Greenrod (left) with his brother and business partner Martin.
RESTAURANT & CATERING 23
The gardens beside The Ugly Duck Out in Swansea, Tasmania.
words: rob johnson
A unique name and a commitment to sustainability have given this Tasmanian restaurant a real talking point The name is the first thing that got ne of the basic aims of marketing is to get your custompeople talking—“For everyone who’s ers talking about you in a positive way, something Robyn interested in us, it’s the first thing they Klobusiak, owner of The Ugly Duck Out in ask,” says Robyn—but a name alone Swansea, Tasmania, has achieved by doing isn’t enough to sustain interest in no marketing at all. Instead Klobusiak a restaurant. Robyn has found has got her customers and others the values of the business talking simply because she lets her could be a talking point for personal ethics and principles of “I’ve been a chef for staff and patrons. sustainability guide the way she over 30 years and I “I’ve been a chef for over runs the Duck (as she affectionately calls it). That’s not admit our industry 30 years, and I admit that only led to good business but a clutch of awards, includcan be wasteful. I within our industry it can ing (most recently) an Environmental Excellence award always found that be wasteful. I always found from the state premier, and being shortlisted as a finalist uncomfortable.” that uncomfortable, but for the national Banksia Awards (announced this month). Robyn Klobusiak, The Ugly Duck Out TUDO has found its identity. But she didn’t set out to create a sustainable business. We offer fresh food and service, but “I wanted it to be casual, the kind of place you’d duck in for we do it in a sustainable way. a feed. And when I first moved in, it was an ugly dark box,” she “So, for example, my drinking says. “Originally this property was a small fish and chips shop, and straws are made from PLA, a compostalocated opposite the beautiful, historic Swan Inn. So they were the Swan ble plant plastic. They compost within Inn, I wanted to be the Duck Out. So it became The Ugly Duck Out, or TUDO.” RESTAURANT & CATERING 25
20 to 30 days. Most cafes keep their straws on the counter, where customers will grab a handful without thinking about it but I keep them behind the counter, and if someone says can I have a drinking straw, we initially offer a glass and if required give them one of these and explain that it’s a compostable one—people are really impressed by that, so not only do we save, but we have a story to tell. It also gives my guests something to talk about. That is my advertising.” Many businesses are put off the idea of becoming more sustainable because of cost concerns. Robyn says she pursued it out of the necessity to save money. “I had to get smart to save “What I’ve learnt is money. What I’ve learnt is you reduce first to you reduce first to save save some money, some money, then look for then look for more sustainable alternamore sustainable tives. Initially it appears alternatives.” to be more expensive. But Robyn Klobusiak, The Ugly Duck Out in the really short term you start to save. It really just takes putting in place procedures. For example, my garbage bags are made from potato and corn starch, so they biodegrade and compost within 30 days. They are a bit more expensive, but we use fewer bags because I put in place procedures to cover costs. So we’re very strict with what we’re recycling. We compost scraps and handtowels—we have very little waste to landfill. The restaurant is also an ‘assessed operator’ with EarthCheck (www.earthcheck.org) and have been certified by Green Table 26 RESTAURANT & CATERING
Some of the delicious fare on offer at The Ugly Duck Out: Robyn Klobusiak always wanted it to be about fresh food as much as being a sustainable business.
Australia (www.greentable.com.au). The advantage of this is the discipline it forces on you, says Robyn. “We put all our data into a web-based spreadsheet,” she explains. “In order to get assessed by Earth Check, I record data first for a full year, then your goal is to get above the benchmark. And they give you action plans once you start recording. Now we’ve shaved about $12,000 annually off our power bill. Even though we’ve had two price rises, our kilowatt hours have been lower than in previous bills. When we receive our accounts, such as power, the whole team reviews our progress and say, ‘what else can we do?’ You have to involve the staff and have procedures you maintain strictly. When I’m purchasing things, I don’t just look at the product but also the packaging and will try to steer suppliers into improving their packaging if necessary.” One of the other reasons the cost of sustainability haven’t been onerous for the Duck is Robyn’s philosophy of making do until a problem becomes intractable. “You will always inherit problems,” she explains. “I’ve got halogen downlights [which are power-hungry], but I found LED globes I could purchase that fit into the same fitting. When the halogen goes I replace it with the LED, and when the fitting goes I replace the fitting with an LED fitting. If you’ve got something that works, you try to extend its life.” Robyn’s commitment to sustainability was rewarded this year with a gong at the Tasmanian Hospitality Awards of Excellence and the Tasmanian Awards for Environmental Excellence, the
state’s highest commendations for community and industry contributions to protecting, preserving and enhancing the Tasmanian environment. The Ugly Duck Out picked up the Small Business Sustainability Award. “The very exciting thing about that was in the category, you had to have less than 50 employees. I only employ four, so we were up against some high flyers, and I believe the judges said we received this award because we think about everything along the way. That got us into the Banksia awards, and we just found out we’re a category finalist.” Robyn’s motivation for entering the awards was at first, she admits, for her own satisfaction. But beyond that, she says, “We do let the awards do the marketing for us.” The framed award has a place on the wall away from the artworks that dominate the main room—it’s tucked away near the cash register. But even that has a strategy behind it for Robyn, and it’s one that is based on starting a conversation with customers. “Sometimes people say you should have that award on the wall with the art,” she says, “rather than having it near the cash register. But the reason we have it there is so when you pay the bill it’s at that stage we’ve identified where they’re at and we talk to them and show them the award, which can get them talking and perhaps initiate change. Word of mouth is very strong for TUDO.”
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New odour bomb
Unpleasant smells can cause discomfort and stress around commercial premises. Often these odours can seep into every nook and cranny, making them very difficult to get out. Food places can have lingering smells of fried food and grease. Using the windows to air the place out probably won’t be effective and things like air fresheners don’t get rid of odours, they only cover them up; so the odour is going to return, and probably pretty soon too! The new Ecomist Odour Bomb is a unique formula that gets rid of smells and odours—perfect for commercial applications. Odour Bomb is designed as a one-application fumigation type product that empties its contents at once to overcome the most stubborn odours. However partial applications can be done to remove minor smells. Very delicately fragranced, the new Ecomist Odour Bomb will leave the room smelling nice and fresh. Top quality odour neutralisers have been used in the formulation. An odour neutraliser attracts and encapsulates the odour particles, pulling them down to the floor, where it oxidises them effectively destroying bad smell for good. Whatever compound is left evaporates into the air. The contents empty in less than two minutes for a single application. The area it covers is up to 65 square metres. Ideal for use in: restaurants, cafes, catering, pubs, washrooms and to clear alcohol and tobacco odours. Contact Ecomist on 1800 243 500 or visit www.ecomist.com.au for more information.
28 RESTAURANT & CATERING
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You want her to leave your restaurant smiling, which means getting dessert right.
words: Jodie Thomson
Getting the end of a meal just right will guarantee happy customers and help boost your restaurant’s bottom line t might be a death-by-chocolate cake so good it has them telling their friends. Or a memorably good house-roasted coffee blend. Or even the heartwarming touch of a homemade cookie served with a pot of tea. Whatever it is, ending the meal on a good note has a huge impact on the diners’ overall experience at the restaurant. “It’s about leaving a good taste, physically and emotionally, for customers,” says restaurant consultant Gordana Ramsay. The secret is having a thoughtful, well-priced dessert menu, quality coffee and tea on hand, and training your staff to sell it well. Get that right and you’ll be guaranteed happy customers along with a boost to overall sales. Menu mix The kind of desserts you offer will depend on the style of restaurant you’re running, but there are a couple of golden rules to a great dessert menu. First, always offer a good mix of flavours and dessert styles.
“You need a whole range of flavours,” says restaurant consultant Ken Burgin of Profitable Hospitality. “You’ve got to have one fantastic chocolate dessert, something fruity, something creamy, something a little lighter for people who don’t want to feel like they’re having a dessert.” Where possible, go for homemade products, even if you’re a smaller cafe or restaurant. “Aussies love their desserts but do get pretty bored with a lot of the bought-in stuff,” says Burgin. “Anything you can make yourself will be popular, even if it’s a really easy muffin mix.” A great display will also help tempt diners to try a dessert in more casual restaurants or cafes. “It’s important to have a great display,” says Burgin. “It might be a small cabinet that’s full, that looks abundant and bursting, all piled up with a great variety of colour and types.” Cheese plates are a nice inclusion on a dessert menu for diners who don’t have a sweet tooth but want something extra after a meal. But they can be costly to put together and sell. “There is a demand for them, but cheese can cost as much as $20-$30 per kilogram, so be conscious of the economics of RESTAURANT & CATERING 29
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what you’re putting on the plate,” say Burgin. And lastly, don’t price desserts too high. “Sometimes they’re too expensive and you’ll miss out on sales,” says Burgin. “I always push for dessert pricing at 40 per cent of average main course price.” Consider offering smaller dessert options that diners might be able to share, like a plate of petit fours to have with coffee. “It can be hard to sell a full dessert at lunchtime, so have something to share that gives people that sweet taste,” Burgin says. The big sell Don’t underestimate the impact your floor staff can have on selling dessert and coffee to your customers. The trick is training them to sell what’s on offer, and teaching them to know different types of customers and their dining habits. “It’s about putting people in their comfort zone and finding out what they need to make them feel good,” says Gordana Ramsay. “It’s about common sense.” A skilled waiter can help tempt a reluctant diner to try a dessert, and usually others at the table will follow with desserts and likely coffees too. “The sale skills really come in, and it can be about who they ask first and how they ask,” says Burgin. “Watch an experienced waiter do that and it’s masterful.” Give customers different options if you sense they’re not comfortable about spending full price for a dessert. “A customer might not be ordering a dessert because they don’t want the $11 cheesecake, but if you offer them half a serve they might be happy to pay $5 for it,” says restaurant consultant Gordona Ramsay. And be aware of timing. At lunchtime, customers are more likely to be in a rush and only order dessert if the service is prompt. At other times, waitstaff can tell if diners look more inclined to linger over the end of their meal. “People are often conscious of time and if they’re having dessert and coffee they want it quickly,” says Ken Burgin. “If they get any sense the service is slow or not efficient, they may not order dessert or coffee at all.” Coffee and tea There’s no excuse these days for serving up ordinary tea or coffee at the end of a meal. It might be a small part of the meal but it plays a big part in a customer’s overall experience at a restaurant or cafe. An espresso machine is essential in any business today, as is offering a quality range of tea, including herbal teas like peppermint and green tea. Boutique blends and stylish servingware all help that good impression. “Most places have got coffee right these days, but a lot of them aren’t doing tea very well,” says Burgin. “It should be done nicely. For example, I was in a Melbourne restaurant recently and the tea was served in a beautiful green glass pot with a big bunch of mint in it; it was lovely.” Coffee and tea options also give restaurants an opportunity to do something special and memorable. It might be a unique coffee blend or tea infusion, rather than a big-name brand. “Roast your own coffee and it’s promoting your own brand, rather than people seeing a huge coffee company sign in your business,” says Burgin. “It’s not hard to make things up, like a few combinations of herbal teas to make your own blend.”
Vicki and Nick Sher of Sher Wagyu, who produce both full-blood and F1 wagyu.
words: vivienne reiner
Despite its rarity and value, it seems every restaurant in town has Wagyu beef on its menu. So when is Wagyu not really Wagyu? Bennett, who spoke to Restaurant & Catering magazine in hen is Wagyu not Wagyu? the lead-up to this year’s Wagyu Association annual conference That is the question the in September, believes a truth-in-labelling scheme could be to Wagyu Association of the benefit of all Wagyu producers, customers and ultimately the Australia and its members robustness and increasing success of the industry. He have been debating. With says in Japan, carcasses can only be called Wagyu increasing demand for the if they are 100 per cent Wagyu. In Australia, uniquely flavoured first-cross carcasses comprising at least and pricey gour“The quality of 50 per cent are called F1. Purebred is a met meat, and restaurants everywhere now seeming 50 per cent wagyu grade where the percentage reaches to feature the breed in their menus, there are calls carcass is so good 93 per cent and the term full-blood by some in the industry to provide a certification that there’s a demand is applied to 100 per cent. “The system that notes the difference between fullfor it, but we’re quality of 50 per cent Wagyu carcass blood Wagyu and cross-breeds. looking at a system is so good that there’s a demand The Association last year put a certification that would tell people for it, but we’re looking at a system model to its members but the decision was made if it’s 50 per cent that would tell people if it’s 50 per not to proceed with a vote at that time. Executive wagyu or something cent Wagyu or 100 per cent Wagyu or officer Steve Bennett, who joined the organisation inbetween.” in-between,” Bennett says. after the initial proposal was developed, says a new Steve Bennett, Excecutive Officer, AWA Demand for Wagyu has been growing, with approach has been adopted and if there is support, the Wagyu Association of Australia currently there will be renewed dialogue with membership into the experiencing peak demand with 250 members. development of such a scheme. “We register animals and Bennett attributes the increased demand for Wagyu to greater have the most advanced requirement for DNA parent verification, customer awareness globally, with Australia exporting some 85 but there’s no system for certifying produce—in other words, per cent of its produce. The association includes international meat,” Bennett explains. RESTAURANT & CATERING 33
members from countries such as the United States, and the association is doing some cutting-edge work in the area of Wagyu genetics and selecting for superior meat qualities. Wagyu genetics have only been available in Australia since 1990 and the knowledge gap outside of Japan is likely to continue for some time. The flavour of full-blood may not suit everyone’s palate. Bennett points to the fact that although a full-blood Wagyu won the most recent prestigious RNA Branded Beef Competition, the previous two years the competition run by the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland was won by first-cross varieties. Even for food connoisseurs, detecting full-blood varieties can be difficult. The price does not always give the full picture, since grain-feeding is the most expensive way to breed Wagyu. Full-blood Wagyu can be finished by some 500 days (and can be typically grain-fed from 10 months), as compared to F1, which are only fed about 350 days but still take much longer than raising standard beef cattle, which are finished on a high-grain ration for about 100 days. Grain-fed F1 Wagyu, despite only maturing for some 250 days, may cost more than full-blood varieties that are grass-fed— the later rearing method of which is growing in popularity. But it is the melting temperature of the fat, and the texture which can be granular, that provide some differences—with the fat in full-blood wagyu melting at a temperature of no more than 30 degrees Celsius, or less than the temperature in your mouth, and it is sweet-
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tasting. Despite this, grass-fed Wagyu, which average 36 months at slaughter, may not have as a high a marbling score even compared to some cross-bred grain-fed Wagyu. Neil Prentice, a full-blood grass-fed Wagyu producer and winemaker in the family business Moondarra, started raising Wagyu that is grass-fed as a way of providing an even more distinctive flavour, reflecting regional variations. He says such is the lack of clarity in marketing currently is such that even many restaurateurs may not be aware when they are buying Wagyu that is not full-blood. “About 90 per cent of Wagyu sold in Australia isn’t full-blood,” he says. Prentice believes that without transparency, the reputation of Wagyu is at stake. “People are going away from restaurants having a disappointing experience and being turned off from eating Wagyu,” he says. Price can be an indication, Prentice says, and if it sounds too cheap to be full-blood Wagyu, it probably is. Vicki Sher of award-winning brand Sher Wagyu, which produces both full-blood and F1, believes it should be up to each brand to communicate their product and attributes. Sher Wagyu’s produce is highly sought after in Japan, although regulations there stipulate that beef produced in other countries cannot be called Wagyu. Sher Wagyu is working on implementing its own labelling system but Sher says it is a complex issue and certification by itself does not tell the full story. “It needs to be sorted out by the producers talking with the chefs and customers in the marketplace,” she says. “At the end of the day each brand has to stand on its own reputation”.
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The perfect wine list words: Ben canaider
There is a technology that allows the constant updating of a dynamic, small wine list. It’s called a blackboard here’s a trés posh cafe-slash-restaurant around the corner from my office; I pass by every morning and night. I quite like the place but I hasten to add I’ve never set foot in the door. To do so would break my number-one rule of dining out: never go to a restaurant you haven’t been to before. It is just too dangerous. But back to the place around the corner… I like it because of the fit-out: simple second-hand timber tables and chairs; simple white crockery; a small holding bar with a simple vase of fresh flowers at one end; and a very workmanlike seasonal menu with pasta, salads, some fish and no Wagyu. The wine list suits all of this too: six wines by the glass, about a dozen bottles of white, rosé and red, a sparkler (but no champagne), and a few pretentious, I mean, boutique beers. The wine and drinks list is posted on the glass door. It’s all set out in conservative black font on white A5: name of wine, variety, vintage, and price. Simple. The wine list is pretty ‘live’, too. It seems to change more than quarterly and there is a wine specials blackboard on one interior wall that adds to the mix. This blackboard will feature such things as bin-ends, older vintage wines, coming BYO nights (often Tuesdays, when BYO is ‘allowed’, along with a corkage fee of $10…), and other stuff like a winemaker’s dinner or an imported wine tasting degustation wherein you get to try a half a dozen wines along with three courses for a set (and pretty reasonable) price. I point out all of this because I think it sets a very good standard for in-house marketing and promotion. The style, length and tone of the wine list and the support afforded it by the blackboard suits the nature of the establishment and its food. Yet while the nature of the wine list and blackboard seem just right, the owner/operator of this 36 RESTAURANT & CATERING
otherwise very smooth-sailing eatery stuffs it up in one very silly way. The blackboard looks like it has been chalked up by a three year old on a red cordy high. It looks like scribbling. Why bother to get 99 per cent of the concept right and then ruin it with bad presentation? There’s no excuse. And this is so often the way. A good conceptual framework ruined by bad presentation. With this in mind it is wise to remember—and to burn into the brains of your staff—the following service rules relating to beverages. On paper Spell the names right. On wine lists around the world I’ve seen Veuve Clicquot spelt ‘Veuve Cliquot’ more often than not.
Vintage dates. The advertised vintage date must be the one you are pouring. Regions. If listing regions, double-check the wine is actually from the region you claim it is. Descriptors and descriptions. Many sommeliers like to channel James Halliday when they are writing their wine lists, describing each wine in great and correct detail. Even if you are running a serious wine establishment, I think simpler descriptions often work better. If you work on the outrageous fact that most of your customers are not sommeliers (or even James Halliday) then simple descriptions about wines that provide one note on aroma, one on flavour, and one more on the wine’s weight and texture might be useful for a customer interested in a clean and light, slightly acidic white for their calamari rings de jour. Footnotes. Along with your venue’s name, at the bottom of the page always list opening hours and contact details. And a useful touch: the date your wine list was last updated. This can embarrass you or your staff into updating it more regularly, if nothing else… On the floor Pronunciation. Correct pronunciation of all the wines and beverages on your list is essential. So make sure you do a Henry Higgins on your Pygmalion floor staff regularly. Order of service. Floor staff should also have a basic understanding of the weight and texture of your wines—lighter whites (like riesling) to heavier ones (such as viognier) and ditto reds, such as pinot noir through to tannic cabernets. This knowledge is going to help your customers make better—and more enjoyable—decisions about what wine to drink with what menu item. The hand sell. The food and wine matching angle is a great way to sell new or slow-moving wines too. But your floor staff ’s confidence and knowledge in the product is crucial for this strategy to work. It is worth pursuing, as the acquisition of such knowledge is great professional development for your staff, and the rendering of such knowledge is a customer-winning educative experience for the diners. Also, write your wine list with an eye to trading up your customers. Keep their interest—and noses—just slightly raised. Maintain sauvignon blanc on the list, for sure, but also put on some emerging and trendy varieties. And finally, and most importantly, find someone—anyone— who has a good chalkboard technique.
Emerging wines Two examples of what’s-hot at the moment are hitherto little-known champagne brands and a rapidly trendsetting Austrian white. Ayala Brut Majeur ($58.05 LUC–Fine Wine Partners) is Bollinger’s ‘boutique’ champagne brand. It has real power and yet also grace. It serves as an aperitif with some unmissable attitude (this way customers know they’re getting a drink…), and also as a good food wine for first courses. And if you are not stocking grüner veltliner, then you are looking very 2010. This Austrian white wine variety is a bit like the love child of an austere, dry riesling and a minerally, pear-flavoured pinot grigio. It should demonstrate very clean acidity, like this excellent example made by Geoff Hardy: K1 Gruner Veltliner 2011 ($19.35 LUC– The Wine Company, firstname.lastname@example.org).
There’s 383 jelly beans. You can count them if you like.* Knowing the right numbers is important, especially if you are investing large amounts of money in advertising. So at the CAB, we count. We audit print and digital publications, websites, exhibitions and email newsletters so you can rest easy. If you’re sponsoring or advertising with a non-audited piece of media, you could be wasting your money. Don’t take that risk, only use audited media. www.auditbureau.org.au
*Go ahead, if we are wrong we’ll gladly send you an iPad 2. But don’t hold your breath. P.S. Part jelly beans count as one whole jelly bean. RESTAURANT & CATERING 37
Saké Restaurant & Bar Placing a modern Japanese restaurant in the heart of a heritage-listed sandstone building was a challenge for designer Rachel Luchetti
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“The bar front is covered with bronze-coloured stainless steel that is mirrored at the sushi counter. The bar area has a light timber setting to differentiate it from the rest of the space but everything else is smoked-oak timber, even the tatami seats on the raised platforms. In such a large space it’s important to create cohesion rather than separation. Saké has an atmosphere that’s not too stuffy or sedate. It’s approachable, sophisticated and a great place to eat.”
Saké Restaurant & Bar 12 Argyle Street The Rocks NSW Tel: (02) 9259 5656 W: www.sakerestaurant. com.au/sydney Luchetti Krelle 56 Cooper Street Surry Hills NSW Tel: (02) 9699 3425 W: www.luchettikrelle. com
words: kerryn RamsEy
tuart Krelle [business partner] and I already had a relationship with the client, John Szangolies, after doing some work on the Bavarian Bier Café roll-out for him. He came back from an overseas trip and was keen to start a large yet intimate modern Japanese restaurant. The site, in the Argyle Stores at The Rocks, is one of the oldest buildings in Sydney. It had been used as a function venue and was pretty much a blank canvas. We knew there would be issues due to the significance of the structure but we really enjoy working with heritage buildings. “We had to go into a lot of detail on interior elements just to get a development application. Fortunately, the landlord [the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority] shared the same objective as us—to celebrate this historic building. It felt like we were on the same team. “The space is about 550 square metres and seats about 220 people. Part of the challenge was to give a sense of intimacy in such a large restaurant. We created a series of private dining rooms with various seating options from six to 22 people. There’s also a bit of flexibility in the main space where one area can be used for private dining or opened up to become part of the general dining area. “While the building is sandstone and doesn’t receive much light, it does have that nice sense of escapism from the city. We used narrow beamed downlights over the tables to light the food without casting shadows on people’s faces. There are also custom light diffusers in the general dining space where the tables get moved around. These suspended, timber and rice-paper squares hang beneath the downlights and double as sound baffles. The Cherry Blossom rooms have pendant lights for Lucifer that we sourced from Ke-Zu (www.kezu.com. au). They are made of timber veneer cut into strips and create a nice shadow play. “We custom designed all the furniture, except for the main dining chairs, and had it all made locally. The shapes were inspired by Japanese joinery techniques that create strength without relying on screw fixings. We designed the general layout for the kitchen and had kitchen contractors Triple X put together the detailed design components.
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Published on Oct 5, 2011