Or is it?
We are all well aware: The cafe and restaurant game is stronger than ever in our little town called Gold Coast. Chefs are bringing their most creative new ideas to the brekky, lunch & dinner arena daily. Owners design their restaurant space with almost bottomless budgets. Places are judged worthy of a visit by their Instagram following or number of likes per Facebook post or the quality and frequency of their snapchat accounts. Turmeric lattes, matcha lattes, beetroot lattes, blue-smurf lattes on coconut milk, almond milk and something called rainbow milk? Single origin coffee beans, locally roasted, double ristretto…if it’s not from a La Marzocco machine don’t bother I’ll have a loose leaf, gunpowder green….no no make it a herbal tea – it’s organic right?
It’s the same in every city, the competition is fierce. Chefs will spend 18 hours a day 5-7 days a week for most of their lives competing for the latest accolade in the local arena. Chefs hats, Michelin stars, Trip Advisor reviews, Zomato, Google ranking, newspaper write ups, the local foodie blogs with the biggest Instagram following and other online marketing glitterati. It’s no wonder they don’t feel like cooking dinner when they get home. No wonder they can’t get around to mowing the lawn, fixing the leaky tap or that pile of laundry.
“Sign me up” the masses scream on “reality” TV shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules. Is it the thrill of the competition? Their proclaimed love of food and cooking for friends and loved ones? Some strange wish to throw away their well-paid, professional career for a life of cuts, burns, abuse and stress? It’s not like the major prize guarantees their success – it is great exposure but it’s barely enough for a deposit on their dream…
I’ve been a competitor all of my chef-life, as one of 8 new apprentices vying for supremacy, as an Aussie trained chef in London proving his worth, as The new guy who is home from abroad, proving his experience on home turf. In managing positions, writing menus and specials that garner interest from diners and respect from peers.
Never have I competed more than now as the owner/chef of Caffe Republic for 7+ years. The scene is thriving in this town. We just got voted the number 1 Health Food Cafe on the Gold Coast. An award I am particularly proud of as it aligns with our motto and the title of my blog “Food With a Conscience”. It’s a well deserved credit to my wonderful staff also for the standards they keep. Not to mention the minister of finance, my wife who makes sure everyone gets paid and our suppliers keep delivering on top of running the kids and the household.
What’s next? It doesn’t stop: new summer menu, new specials, a refurb, staff training, team building, online marketing, this blog, social media, market research, the next big thing, a photography course….another location? Woah hold up – throw in some family time and a few hours a week to ride my bike.
So maybe it is a competition, but I’ve just gotten used to it.
How long can I compete? As long as we stay relevant and people like what we produce.
My advice for new players/Masterchef contestants?
Never take anything for granted.
Don’t drop the ball or even take your eye off it for a second.
Love every minute of it.
I sure do.
Check out my dream in it’s reality
Got a question or a comment? Hit me up below.