My story is perhaps a typical one, at least for me it is. A life-long obsession and a curiosity to learn, with an innate urge to solve riddles, has led me to various corners of the world working on varied and exciting projects ranging in scale and type. During my years, I came across many fantastic individuals from whom I learned a lot. From some I learned what to do, and others what not to.
This journey started back in the mid 90s as a bartender. A part time job that quickly took over my life.
Went to Switzerland to get a degree in Hospitality. Fell in love with the industry and more specifically the kitchen. Spent all my spare time in kitchens and did a one-year internship in additional to the course in a five-star hotel kitchen, where I got exposed to 15 different cuisine types, which blew my mind and fueled my curiosity even more.
Early on, I was blessed to land a job with a great person I refer to as my mentor, in a boutique consultancy that executed turnkey (A to Z) F&B projects. We handled everything from financial planning and market research, to concept creation, design, menu development, construction management and pre-post opening training and support. You can imagine what this did to a young, curious mind. I had an urge to become an expert in all these different fields. Little did I know then that 20 years on, I am still learning and finding new niche areas where I find myself to be a novice.
After my focus on independent boutique type projects driven by passionate entrepreneurs, this then led me to work on a different scale of projects. These ranged from shopping centres, hotels, sporting arenas and exhibition centres. This showed me the world through a broad lens; the macro perspective. But made me question, can we feed people at this scale while being in harmony with nature and the environment?
This question made me arrive at permaculture. This led me to dive into a permaculture design course that introduced me to its principles and made me think about how we can apply such an approach and philosophy to our industry.
I then found myself fully immersed in the world of design and construction in a design / fitout company specialising in restaurants. Here, I got exposed to the other side of the coin, seeing the project predominantly from a builder’s perspective. Value engineering exercises and scheduling trades to meet time frames was the name of the game. I initially had a utopian view on how to maximise synergies and deliver the best outcomes by benefiting from the best of both worlds, when combining design and fitout under one roof. However, reality showed me a slightly different version driven by cultural and priority disparities between the two.
I consider myself a numbers geek. I had once thought there was an excel sheet solution to every riddle / problem faced. I also believe the world of design is laced with numbers.
For the longest time, I was a frustrated designer. Curious about design. Always around architects, designers, and branding experts. My role always involved managing the design process, giving input, directing teams, but never to be the designer.
This led me to fulfil a long life dream. I had the pleasure of completing a course in furniture design and manufacturing, which has fueled my curiosity for the world of design even further. I enjoyed every second of that journey.
I consider myself multilingual. I speak various project languages. I speak finance. I speak food. I speak operations. I speak design.
From the beginning, I never agreed with the social, professional, and educational classification of “artistic and scientific” people. Never agreed that some people are creative and others business oriented. Never agreed with the claim “you either are good with numbers or colours”. My passions, interests, and curiosities are varied and have dedicated my life to learning the various subjects that interest me.
What makes me an authority on all these subjects? Nothing. I just have a lot of curiosity. This curiosity has led me to upskill myself, whether through short courses, degrees, or simple online bingeing, on the various elements that make up Food Business Design.
If people wish to connect with me for personal conversations and one-on-one sessions or team workshops, then do not hesitate to get in touch. I will be glad to assist. During these challenging times, we should all come together to support our industry. For anyone who owns / operates a restaurant and needs help, I am happy to offer whatever help I can with no financial obligations. We can always agree on something that works for both of us. Knowledge is a currency, and I am happy to barter and trade with it.
You can browse my LinkedIn profile here.