I started my working career at the age 17 years old as a waiter in a local restaurant. I was quite good at it and seemed to make, what I thought then, was a large some of money each day after school.
After having worked in numerous cafe’s and restaurant’s I started to see a pattern emerging, I actually liked the rush of it! The getting screamed at, the complaining, but most of all the sense of achievement after having completed a grueling shift, making no mistakes and walking away content – with a wad of cash in the pocket too.
I suppose it also didn’t help that I was one of the few of all of my friends that worked during the end of high school and all of varsity. This meant that for the most part I actually had more money than them. So my friends and I had great fun being young dumb, and full of (yeah, I’m sure I don’t have to continue.)
It was when I was offered a job that with a major bank here in South Africa though that I offered to buy my first restaurant, well a small 40 seated coffee shop actually. It was an Italian cafe located in a busy business district. It was doing ok, but no great things. But I was young and planned to change that.
Lucky as I was in the space of a year I manages to take my good waitering skills and double the monthly turnover, profit too. I was able to come up with the menus, new dishes, get recipes right for baking our fresh muffins, cakes, croissants etc as well as the food.
The cafe soon became known as the local daytime place to be. So we grew into a 68 seater. We’d serve about 300-400 coffee’s a day, and about 200 meals. Life was good.
After awhile we opened and built a new store, after that I sold them both and ran a wedding venue, come conference center, come pub, come bed and breakfast for a year with my wife.
We then had another restaurant together, my wife and I. This one was an award winning place in hillcrest, Durban. This is in South Africa. It was great. Here I became a true chef partie. Never learned to be a chef, but in here I could compete with some if the best restaurants in town, and we had the awards to prove it.
At the end of the day though family came first, but I still have a love and a passion for food. This is what drives life, so I enjoy eating out with my family and trying out new things, although the favourites such as home-made bolognese can’t be beaten.