Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Week beginning October 26th - Remembering 30 years in Hospitality

It is 30 years since I started working in Hospitality, and so I thought I would document the ten year stages here. In one way, it is a lovely way for me to write about it, but I also hope that perhaps it may inspire some of the younger generation, if they need it, to see that a career path in hospitality can be a really very rewarding and happy one.

1985 - 16 years old
I remember I wanted to be a chef, because I enjoyed cooking in High School. But then I remember deciding cheffing was too hard, and I could not remember recipes anyway. Somehow I decided that being front of house was the right choice and that I wanted to be 'a manager'. My mum tells the story that once around the dinner table my brothers and I were asked what we wanted to be when we grew up. I wanted to 'look after people', my middle brother 'wanted to draw' and my little brother wanted to be a 'funny man'.

So I did school work experience at the local Dorset Gardens Hotel Croydon, in the outer easter suburbs of Melbourne. It was known as a beer barn. Motel rooms, function rooms, drive through bottle shop, 2 public bars, 200 seat bistro and a really bad nightclub. I remember my first job on the Monday was washing out 150 ashtrays from a large function they had the night before.

I then got a job as a dishwasher in a local restaurant called Top Cat, also in Croydon, working Friday and Saturday nights. There was no dishwasher, it was all by hand in a 70 cover a la carte restaurant with a function room for 30 and I got paid $5.00 per hour. I was 17, and I was working with all these older female wait staff, 6 pm to perhaps midnight or 1 am. My mum would come and pick me up at night, or occasionally I got a lift home by one of the older waitresses.

When I was 18 I had a car, a bright yellow Holden 1977 Kingswood and I got a job at the 24 hour Denny's restaurant in Ringwood. I worked the night shift as a dishwasher, 11 pm to 7 am, Friday and Saturday nights. While my mates, and my brothers, were out clubbing, I was washing pots and scrubbing floors.

I then got into Box Hill College of TAFE (Further Education) and studied Certificate of Catering and at the same time, got a full time job at the Crown Hotel in very outer suburban Lilydale as a trainee Assistant Manager. It had a bistro on the lower level and a public bar on the High Street. I worked mainly in the bistro, but remember on my first day walking into the public bar and seeing one guy punch another in the head and start a big fight. I stayed here for three years. It was a fantastic education and lifestyle.

1995- 26 years old
After working in restaurants and cocktail bars in Melbourne for the past 7 years, I landed in the Greek islands in the summer of 1995 on the big trip around Europe. My first job in Santorini was as a helping hand to an alcoholic Greek signwriter. That lasted two weeks.

I eventually ended up as a promoter and bartender at the Tithora Rock Music Night Club. We handed out flyers to promote the club during the day on the beaches, then in the evening in the main town. The flyers, when handed in at the bar, got the punter a free shot and we got paid for every flyer that had our name on it. From 11 pm to 5 am each night I worked the bar, or cleared the floor of glasses. It was an absolutely amazing and brilliant 3 months.

In October 1995, I arrived in London with £400. I quickly got a job in a pub in Hammersmith called the Builders. Live in, with meals, it was where I met two of my longest and best friends, the live in married couple Andy and Vanessa. Talk about getting an education into London life. It was a great, great time and Andy ended up being the Best Man at our wedding in 2002.

Around then, my Dad said, 'what a great opportunity, you're in London, follow your career, develop yourself'. So I got a job as an Assistant restaurant manager in a 4 star Hotel in Kensington but it was awful so I left after a week. Through friends I ended up working the bar at the Oriel restaurant in Sloane Square, soon moving onto to the floor and service, where I stayed for 2.5 years.

We got paid £20 per 8 hour shift, tips were at the discretion of the customers, but we lived off tips, so the more shifts you did, or the busiest sections and the better waiter you were, the more money you made. I often worked 6 or 7 shifts per week to make enough money to live on and go out.  I never followed my dad's advice, instead I just had a very, very good time working as a waiter and enjoying the most that London had to offer. I feel extremely lucky that I was in London at this time and experienced all that I did.
2005 - 36 years old
After moving back to Melbourne in 1998, I worked in restaurants and hotels, got married, and got into teaching and training of Hospitality. In 2004, Malta joined the EU and my wife was able to get an EU passport. She asked if I wanted to move back to London again and so on June 1st, 2005, a May bank holiday, we arrived, with maybe £4000 to our names.

My wife started working in Design and I started working as a temporary agency waiter for £5.72 per hour, the minimum wage. It was a mixture of great, and really awful, like crying awful. I soon got a job in the agency itself and this led onto being offered a job as the Recruitment and Staffing Manager at Lord's Cricket Ground where I stayed for 3 and a half years. It had taken ten years, but I had finally taken my dad's advice.

In my belief, it was in 2005 that the speciality coffee industry in London took a major turn, with Flat White opening in Berwick street. Flat White was definitely the starting point of inspiration to open my own Hospitality business, or specialty cafe, in London. Again, my wife and I had a very good time in the first two years, lots of travelling, parties, having fun, working hard. By 2008, we had decided to 'stop talking about it and just do it' and so the plans for Kaffeine began. We opened in 2009 and in November 2010, we were awarded 'Best Independent Cafe in Europe' at the Allegra European Coffee Symposium.

2015 - 46 years old
After six years of running Kaffeine, as well as having two children who are now 5 and 2, we started planning for Kaffeine - The Second Store. A defunct, old, closed down cafe also in Fitzrovia was found, not too far away, not too close either, in a cracker of a location on Eastcastle Street and in March 2015, we opened the doors. It has been 20 years since I first arrived in London and immediately fell in love with the city, 30 years since I started in hospitality in the outer suburbs of Eastern Melbourne and fell in love with the industry.

And here we are. There is so, so much more to tell. A lot has happened in 30 years. What this makes me wonder is this. If all of this has happened in the past 30 years, what more can happen in the next 30 ?

If it is as good as the first, then I am very much looking forward to it.

Please enjoy the menu for this week, as we will very much enjoy bringing it to you.

Peter Dore-Smith

Great Titchfield Street Menu

Seven Seeded toast with butter and preserves 2.00
Cinnamon and Raisin Toast 2.50
Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Granola muesli with pomegranate molasses, Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes, passion fruit 3.90
Ciabatta roll with omelette, pancetta, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Ciabatta roll with avocado, omelette, rocket and tomato salsa 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 5.00
Breakfast Foccacia - Cotechino sausage, fried egg and gruyere cheese 6.50 (weekends only)
Porridge with condiments - golden syrup, honey, dried fruit, chopped nuts 3.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant 2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Sweet muffin: Sultana and honey apple 2.50
Savoury Scones: Plum tomato, cream cheese, basil 2.50
Friand: Raspberry and peanut butter (gf) 2.70
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.80
White chocolate blondies 2.80
Portuguese tarts 2.00
ANZAC cookies 2.00
Double chocolate chip and macadamia cookies 2.50
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.50
Almond and custard slice 2.80
Banana bread 2.50
Lamingtons 3.50 (last Thurs, Fri and Sat of the month only)

French retro baguettes 5.30
Ham, mushroom pate, plum tomato, goat's cheese,  baby spinach 
Slow roasted tomato, red pepper, basil cream cheese, rocket 

Foccacias 5.50
Chorizo sausage, avocado, gruyere cheese, chilli mayo, rocket 
Grilled halloumi, roasted butternut  pumpkin, green pesto, baby spinach 

Salads: 5.50/6.90
Glazed ham salad with roasted chestnut, red onion, saute mushroom, blanched cabbage and pommery mustard dressing 
Saute russet apple salad with dried cranberry, red onion, candied walnut, goat's cheese and raspberry vinegar dressing 
Crusted butternut pumpkin with soured cream sauce 

Tart: 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Crown prince squash with rosemary, mushroom and white creamy sauce 

Eastcastle Street Menu

Traditional bircher muesli with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Paleo granola with Greek yoghurt and rhubarb and raspberry compote 4.00
Fruit salad with pineapple, mango, strawberries, grapes and passion fruit 3.90
Smoked paprika brioche with courgette omelette, spinach, gruyere cheese, mushrooms and tomato salsa  5.00
Smoked paprika brioche with treacle smoked back bacon, roasted tomatoes, avocado, rocket and aioli 5.00
Croissant with Italian roast ham, talleggio cheese, spinach and plum tomatoes 4.90
Croissant with smoked salmon, scrambled egg, tomato, rocket 5.00

Pastries by Seven Seed bakery
French butter croissant  2.00
Pain au chocolat 2.50
Almond croissant 2.80

Baked Treats
Muffins - Apple, cinnamon and almond 2.50
Savoury - Courgette, cheese scrolls 2.50
Super moist chocolate brownies (gf) 2.70
Blueberry, banana and nut cake with vanilla icing  2.50
Gluten free and dairy free protein bar 2.50
Vanilla, popcorn and caramel tarts  2.90
Banana bread 2.50
ANZACS  2.00
White chocolate, oats and cranberry cookies  2.00
Portuguese tarts 2.00
Raspberry and coconut slice 2.50

Brioche 5.00
Poppy seeds Brioche with grilled vegetables, watercress and coconut curry dressing.

Baguettes 5.30
Italian Coppa Cotta Ham, spinach, cheese hash browns, plum tomatoes and mild chilli Mayo
Smoked salmon, rocket, avocado, cucumber and ginger lemon cream sauce.

Salads 5.50 / 7.00
Roasted chicken, butternut squash, celeriac, black beluga lentils, shallots, crispy kale and red wine dressing.
Cameo apples, mix leaves, feta, dried cranberries, caramelised walnuts and basil vinaigrette.
Heritage carrots, rocket and spiced red pepper sauce

Savoury Tart 4.40 or 8.00 with salads
Savoury tart with butternut, candy red onions, feta and paprika pumpkin seeds

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