Thursday, September 19, 2019

Owning a restaurant


Be in no doubt.  Owning and running a restaurant is not purgatory or life threatening.
What it is, is fun, profitable and enables a lifestyle the envy of most.
People who perhaps should rethink their ability to be successful tend to blame mutually exclusive factors for their demise such as restaurant over-supply , long hours or even Uber-eats.  It’s simply not true.
People tend to blame ‘others’ after they have failed to deal with all the ‘fun’ challengers.  Beware the pontificating dross!   
The first key concept is that owning a restaurant is actually real hands on work not to be confused with just sitting at home directing the minions to achieve.  They won’t!
Secondly, restaurants fall over because they can’t deal with inevitable quiet times or their offering does not meet the ‘wow’ factor or they remain undifferentiated with no discernible focus to attract spenders.
Thirdly, there never were days gone past when all you had to do was open the door and people would throw money in.  It’s a myth perpetrated by those seeking solace or the ‘oh woe is me’ syndrome.
It’s not what happens, it’s how you deal with it!  Obviously there are no guarantees and success can be sometimes a fleeting goal but these failures are nothing compared to the many restaurateurs having a ball.  We had a failure a few years ago but we dealt with it and moved on to more fun than you can shake a stick at.
Currently we have a tiny bistro seating just 16 people which we open 5 days and perhaps 30 hours a week for around 44 weeks a year and we have just been awarded out of London, ‘Australian restaurant of the year’.  Our product is differentiated with just my wife and I working, open short hours, travel the world and, we own the bar!  Did I mention having fun?
The thought challenged with a distracted ego fail on many fronts to deal with all the issues involved expecting to just open the doors and all will be tickety boo.  Life and restaurants are not like that.
I play golf badly, failing all the time to whip that grass into shape.  But it’s still God’s sport and it’s fun.  There is no greater challenge in playing against an opponent you can never beat!  And, it’s just bloody grass!  Restaurants are the same – good days, bad days, fun days and abject misery days.  
Good, isn’t it!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

FINANCIAL ASSESSMENT BY BANKS


The dysfunction surrounding financial assessment of a proposed borrower is currently NOT about the borrower per say but about ‘productivity system intervention’ of the process designed to reduce staff costs for the FSP.  Indeed, to achieve ‘productivity’ targets everyone is lumped into categories and ‘assessed’ by software with little ability by people to press anything other than button a or b.  Quick?  Yes  / Simple? Yes / Accurate?  No.
As a matter of fact, it’s rubbish.
For example, I had occasion to shop around for a new home loan with a major bank and was unfortunately transferred to an idiot with no capacity for rational thought [indeed 3 times with 3 banks].  The monthly expenses that they insisted we incurred were a bank construct by a team of further idiots divested from reality [See AFR Sat 17/8/2019 report damning banks incompetence].  He / they just couldn’t understand the fact that we run a company with tax implications affecting our expenses.  He did not want to understand pre and post tax expenses.  A simple concept for anyone with half a brain but not for this bank employee making decisions between A and B. 
Dysfunctional for both the bank and the client!
To further this dysfunction it has been adjudged [same case – see comment on Caviar] that a client can actually self assess their expenses with some degree of alacrity.  ASIC lost the case to Westpac because the judge said that a prospective purchaser could adjust their spending habits to suit their commitments quite easily.  He virtually threw out the banks system of personal assessment.  Drive a Porsche before the house purchase but drive a VW after because there is only so much money. 
Simple.
There is no such thing as one size fits all and no such thing as a low level bank loans assessor with enough knowledge to make informed decisions.  Pushing button A or B doesn’t cut it.
They deal with a financial process over common sense.   So called productivity gone rampant.
The fix?  Training, training, training.  Front line bank staff need to understand finance.  Not just how to press button A or B. 
Assessment is all about risk factors.  Risks for the bank albeit now the impetus is shifting where bad advice and or bad process negatively affecting a client is also seen as a breach of fiduciary duty by the loan assessor / bank with responsibility subsumed by the bank and the application of pecuniary penalties. 
However, in effect, the banks risks are low because they have assurity through say a mortgage guarantee.  The problem for the banks is when the value of that guarantee slips below the outstanding loan as they would then be trading insolvent.
All the risk is on the client being able to make payments.  In the beginning by good financial analysis [not the aforementioned idiot] but no one can predict future events.  We all hope life is tickety boo and that we remain the person our dog thinks we are and we remain financially fluid.  This is where good planning comes in.  There must be a safeguard built in to protect people against short term issues.  A ‘nest egg’ by any other name.  The availability of money to pay loans in times of stress.
These are readily available with products such as offset accounts and interest only loans.  Both allow a financial hiatus in times of stress.  The trick for a lot of people is to keep the ‘de-stressing’ contingency balance without spending it. 
This is where the whole financial system needs to be adjusted and thought through.
We all want our own home and the Porsche returned but banks lending 95%+ disallows this life ambition as there is no risk contingency.  Really, only unemployment can cause headaches because without a contingency the Porsche is gone once again followed by the home.  Not good.
In an expanding market, the banks risks are low as is the overall financial position of the borrower because asset value increases will leave a balance to start again in the event of default.  Not good but not life threatening.  However unemployment in a contracting market will be devastating for the opposite reasons.
Therefore it is critical to factor in say a two year contingency balance to cover expenses in the case of unemployment et alia.  This is not available money to retrieve the Porsche but a controlled fund by the bank [not the idiot] to be made available with proven hardship.  A de-stressing fund.
Let’s assume the idiot gets retrained and becomes human and has to assess John & Mary's home loan application.  Financial alacrity is critical in understanding the expense patterns of the borrowers.  Understanding, not computer driven assumptive rubbish.
John sold the Porsche, structured his finances through a holding company and had the minimum deposit [the sacrificed Porsche].  The assessor analysed past credit card statements to ascertain willingness to repay debt, analysed EBIT to ascertain capacity to repay including pre and post tax expenses, and, sought a credit rating to ascertain past issues.  All keeping in mind that the client wants his house and will fight tooth and nail to make sure it’s kept in the family.  In the same way we drive a car just metres from death yet we have a self preservation instinct stopping us taking risks.
The big difference we need to initiate is the contingency balance concept where the borrower and the bank are assured of financial survival over say a two year default cycle through no fault of John or Betty.
It’s simple and it’s based on an assumption that values will always increase in the long term with short term fluctuations being irrelevant. 
The assessor has figured out that John & Mary pay their debts on time most of the time, have no ‘material’ credit defaults and have a steady income able to sustain a 95% mortgage with the Porsche sale as deposit.
The assessor has also calculated 2 years of expenses for John & Mary as a total figure which happens to come to 5% of the purchase price.
He then offers John & Mary a loan with an interest rate based on a REAL risk assessment [not by the idiot].  In this case they needed 90% leverage for which they received a nice lumpy cheque.  However, their debt was actually 95% with the 5% reinvested by the bank as an offset only to be accessed in a proven emergency such as unemployment.  All these 5% ‘s can reside in a special bank fund controlled by the bank with offsets automatically deducted for outstanding debt.  In this way the client is not tempted to spend it and they receive the benefit.
Simple.
Everyone wins!
This simple change almost eliminates risk for both the bank and the borrower as well as de-stressing everyone because everyone knows there is a ‘2 year nest egg’ of available money if …. !!
I urge the FSP’s to think this through by real breathing humans analysing risk, returns and the provision of a ‘forced’ safety buffer.  It’s a much a psychological comfort system as a financial safety net which would allow everyone to relax just a little bit more toward that tickety boo nirvana.
John & Mary have their house, a dog who believes they are close to God, two expensive kids and John has his Porsche back.  Life is good. 
Security through planning.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

DEEMING CLAUSES AND UNCONSCIONABLE CONDUCT - A LAY PERSONS OPINION



Submission and argument that Financial Services Providers reliance on deeming clauses within their terms and conditions is misfounded … [many sources and paraphrased quotes]
 ‘Deemed’ – to adjudge a point of view as fact [my df].
 “Can an action or intention to action be deemed as unconscionable if that act or intention is against good conscience but as yet has no victim”.  The corollary is that there is no unconscionable intent until someone is affected? [Has the tree fallen if no one sees it fall?].
Take for example a contract and in the fine print there is a clause which stipulates that one party has the right to terminate the contract if they ‘deem’ any issue they wish a breach of that contract and the contract becomes null and void without loss of benefit to the author of the contract.   An obvious nonsense.
Now let’s assume, in the normal run of events, that a company is in a strong position with services in demand or people needing those services.  People sign off the contract including the ‘deeming clause’ because they have little choice.  Say a tenancy lease or a credit card contract.  At what point and under what circumstances does the enforcement of the deeming clause become unconscionable and do we even need an enforcement to recognise this term as unconscionable and to be read down?
I believe that it is enough to make such clauses unconscionable even if there is no victim just because it may confuse, coerce and mislead people and it has the intent of doing just that and advantaging the author unconscionably at the expense of others.
Take most credit contracts.   They will all have a similar deeming clause somewhere in their terms and conditions which allows an FSP to summarily terminate an agreement and demand instant repayment of a loan.  Yet there are provisions within the Code of Banking Practice, the Australian Consumer Law and the ASIC act which specifically preclude an FSP from actioning their deeming clause without due process.
So, on one hand we have the FSP with their deeming clauses and alleged cancellation rights and we have the law on the other stopping or at least modifying the same alleged rights.  As the FSP is well aware of the law and well aware of the way their deeming clause is inappropriate then isn’t the inclusion of such a clause by definition, unconscionable and unlawful because the intent of the clause is to take unconscionable advantage - even if it’s never acted on!
Therefore the precursor to any litigation is whether or not the deeming clause is unfair because the intent of the FSP is unconscionable.  I would say that any clause which purports to allow one party to just deem a contract null and void to someone’s disadvantage must be read down as it would be unconscionable to leave it there.
Now, an FSP acts on the deeming clause and we have a victim.  Mr Victim had a credit contract and was using his ‘card’ for everyday things and accumulating frequent flyer points and paying his monthly commitments.  He was late a couple of times but fixed the arrears and all was well.  Then someone from the FSP decided to change policy and deemed the victim’s card cancelled and the victim had to repay the entire debit within a few days because that’s what the deeming clause said.
This put the victim instantly in a state of special financial disadvantage for at least two very important reasons.  Firstly, he had to find the money elsewhere to pay the loan [if he could] and secondly he had relied on the line of credit and had no other money to live on or pay bills.  In effect he had relied on the FSP acting conscionably and in compliance with all parts of the law. Mr Victim complained but the FSP just pointed to the deeming clause as justification for the cancellation.  The FSP was well aware of the law but chose to mislead and coerce the victim into believing they had the right.  Now, not only is the deeming clause unconscionable but the FSP has acted on that clause in the full knowledge of its effect on the victim.  The act is also unconscionable and caused Mr Victim to lurch into a state of special financial disadvantage.
Perhaps Mr Victim has an actionable case against the FSP on at least two grounds.  Firstly, the FSP included such a clause with obvious unconscionable intent and secondly, it acted on it possibly outside the provisions of law.  I would say that pecuniary penalties apply for both inclusion and act and the victim needs to be compensated.
Further …Unconscionable conduct - irreconcilable with what is right or reasonable and show no regard for conscience. [pecuniary penalty circa $1.1m]
Recent decisions (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v Lux Distributors Pty Ltd [2013] FCAFC 90) made it clear that for conduct to be seen as unconscionable the determining factor was the respondent’s conduct and not the applicant’s response. It is the ‘conduct’ which is at issue and not the applicant else it could be said that the applicant is being tried for the conduct of the respondent.  A nonsense. 
Whilst it is noted that it is not sufficient for unfair, unjust, wrong or unreasonable conduct by itself to be deemed unconscionable it is quite sufficient when that conduct involves deliberate wrongdoing.
The newly amended prohibition on unconscionable conduct now makes it clear that the statutory prohibition against unconscionable conduct is not limited by the common law concept of unconscionable conduct.  The amendments also make clear that inherent systems or patterns of such conduct are prohibited, whether or not an individual is disadvantaged by the alleged behaviour. The focus, therefore, is on conduct which may offend good conscience, whether or not a "victim" is involved.  Importantly, there is now no distinction between consumer and business transactions in the factors the court may have regard to for the purpose of determining whether conduct is unconscionable.
A clause in a contract can also be declared unconscionable, even if there was no unconscionable conduct in the way the contract was signed. For example the Victorian Supreme Court has held that a clause in the fine print of a contract that created an onerous obligation was unconscionable.
Therefore, given the weight of discussion, why do FSP’s continue to include transparent ‘deeming’ clauses when that very inclusion seems to labeL  them as unconscionable?

Andrews out of control


Our State Government is out of control - again.  Like 5 year olds having found the lolly jar and woofing without thought, the Premier has no fear about ruining Victoria’s heritage or spending what he doesn’t have plunging us once again into massive debt.
The iconic bathing boxes are but a further example of his lack of a history led vision. 
How about Andrews turning an internationally recognised St Kilda ‘go to’ icon into a tram stop.  Acland street has gone and so has the history because some idiot thought it appropriate to build a tram super stop  a hundred meters or so from the already existing super stop outside Luna Park.  This is lunacy and vandalism of our history. 
How about Andrews giving $10m to destroy the last inner Melbourne sand-belt ‘peoples’ golf course being Sandringham.  A public course for over 80 years and what should have been treated as a national icon and lauded as a traditional test of golf.  One of his excuses was that women couldn’t play golf on a normal course and needed a shorter course.  This in itself is sexist and demeaning.  The course should have been treated with respect and with professional grounds people creating excellence.  Not so.  Sandringham golf course is now bulldozed and another slice of our history gone with it. 
How about permits being issued from the State Government at odds with the local council to destroy 2 Victorian mansions at 23 Brighton Road St Kilda and replacing them with 17 by 2 story dog boxes thereby also creating access nightmares .  How about wasting $1.2b of our money by NOT building something being the East West link which will have to be built anyway.  This is lunacy!  And, where is the money coming from to fund all the spending?  This is a big question!!
History proved that Cain / Kirner sent us nearly broke and smashed our international credit rating  – “ Ms Kirner was, of course, a senior member of a deeply dysfunctional government [Cain] which presided over the Pyramid, Tricontinental, State Bank and Victorian Economic Development Corporation financial disasters which undermined the state’s economy and saddled the government with a significant debt burden.” [Australian] – The damage was massive and it seems nothing has changed.
The world wants to impeach Trump before he destroys it.  He is a laughing stock as is Andrews amongst anyone who actually thinks.  Neither are funny.  Perhaps we can impeach Andrews?
How about a proper parliamentary enquiry into ‘our’ finances? 
How about Heritage Victoria actually doing something to preserve our history and planning decisions being transparent before the event? 
How about so called ‘developers’ locked up for frenetic night time demolition of historic buildings? 
How about ‘real’ public debate on contentious issues not just so called consultation ‘after’ the event has been actioned?
Kennett had to rescue us the last time from an out of control government including their unions who were also at their dysfunctional worst.  Think how many tram strikes, power blackouts and sheer angst we had to put up with before Kennett.
Now, who is going to challenge Andrews?
I hope someone will step up.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Sigmund Jorgensen Ave atque vale amicus meus



Here is Sigmund 'at home' plodding around in his workshop at Montsalvat.

I first argued with Sigmund at his restaurant Clichy in the late 60’s [I think] for letting people smoke cigars whilst we were eating.  He just looked at me with his typical ignominious smile, almost said something and moved on, swanning between tables, as he did.

That smile didn’t change.  Indeed, for the past 16 years we have argued, sledged and shared life at Mon Ami restaurant maybe 1 or 2 times a week over most weeks.  That’s 500+ arguments all in good humour and friendship.  

How good is that!

Sigmund, always out there enjoying life and conversation and wine and food and memories.

Ave atque vale amicus meus

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Here is a five point plan for our elected Government from the ramblings of a disaffected cook:


It’s neither Liberal nor Labour, it’s Australian and it’s all about people, our people.
There is nothing new about these 5 points but the pontificators and those with a brain mouth disconnect will rattle on at length not knowing when to stop droning and make it happen.
1. VISION .. To borrow and misinterpret part of a well known proverb - ‘without a vision the people perish’ - is about having something to focus on which in turn provides a road-map for all future action. There can be no considered action unless that road-map is clear and that can only happen if we have a vision.
Australia needs a vision which defines us both to ourselves and the world.
Then, the interpretation of that vision is critical otherwise it becomes rhetoric and feeds the shouty dross.
For example, offer and pay the top 50 graduates each year across all disciplines to transparently work together for Australia for a year in an R&D focus to develop our future where we lead the world. This is a ‘vision’ we can all associate with. Think back to the euphoria when we won the America’s cup and you will agree that a singular focus ‘vision’ is life enhancing.
2. EDUCATION.. There is no future without education. This is a simple fact of life and no matter how people argue to spend money on their favourite agenda, it matters squat because, I repeat, there is no future without education.
Every single person must have access to education from kindergarten right through tertiary without being forced to stop eating to pay for it. This is the educational safety net available to all and does not preclude some choosing to pay for private schools on top of the government educational allowance which everyone gets. All people, all walks of life, all abilities, all disabilities - everyone.
3. LIVING WAGE.. A fantastic emotional two word visionary statement as it embodies a myriad of heartfelt concepts. Concepts which people can hang onto. We are a country which makes sure all people are looked after and no one is left to suffer through stupid poverty. At least that’s the theory.
This is not a hard concept to understand as all it means is that if someone is working say 35 hours a week they must be able to make enough to sustain their family and take responsibility for their health and well being without expecting all Australians to prop up their lifestyle including child care. Not in luxury but with warmth, food, a roof, paid appropriate support services and in the knowledge that they are safe. Good word, safe.
The same goes for the pension in that it must also be a basic living wage as must the dole albeit the dole would require work for support as would the pension in a way in that there are many many capable people itching to add value to our country, somewhere?
We live in a 24/7 world with each hour of each day of equal value without religious overtones demanding some days are more special than others. If some people want to make a day special then it’s up to them as individuals and not for Australia to legislate.
Paying penalties is abhorrent as it fails to look at the real issue which is the living wage and it costs jobs. Lots of jobs.
There are many bright people out there who can deal with this actuarial problem and can come up with a number without the attendant crap.
4. HEALTH .. Same story. The safety net allowing all peoples free access to medical care. Once again, safe. Australia has almost got this one licked unlike some other first world countries.
5. HOUSING .. This is the hardest of all because we have a culture grown up around the 1/4 acre block and we are seen as failures unless we have the McMansion plopped fence to fence. This is rubbish and destructive and forces people onto lonely street plummeting towards the working poor. We all want style and comfort in a place we love. Admirable concepts but it should not be driven by size but by architecture, vision and culture.
It is both right and proper in our capitalist democracy that those who can afford it will opt for the McMansion and they will enjoy life. Good.
It is also right and proper that those on the living wage have access to appropriate mid-level housing with style and aplomb in which they also feel safe. Good.
Thirdly, it our duty and responsibility to provide for those whom have fallen through the cracks and are suffering through a lack of warmth, comfort and inclusion. Safe. There’s that word again.
Words but words which can be turned into action through fantastic architecture building housing in which people can leap towards their personal vision and in which there is a culture of inclusion, warmth and safety. Places good enough that the McMansion people would like to move in.
Quite separately, but whilst remaining inclusive, accommodation for those Australia needs to support and make safe. Not ghetto town or disenfranchised sleeping pods but basic accommodation providing a roof, warmth and safety. Break the cycle of homelessness. I could rattle on about the provision of dedicated support services but really with a vision, access to education, a living wage, a health care net and a ‘retreat’ it will take care of itself.
How about offering the top graduates across architecture, mathematics, humanities, psychology, social science et alia the chance to join a team to develop this concept within 12 months to start building in a year. WOW.
So, how do WE pay for this modern marvel?
Don’t waste money on minutia or the unimportant – not one cent. Create an absolute focus without rhetoric or ego driven drivel. This is not hard but requires a desire to create something special for our country. How about an extra billion dollar investment linked to our totally appropriate future fund to be time allocated and controlled by the likes of Keating, Kennett and Costello. Bipartisan with strength of purpose. As I said, WOW

Saturday, May 25, 2019

This is what our ‘leaders’ should have said but didn’t:

Dear Australians,
There is no doubt that Australia is the greatest country in the world.  We are safe, we are prosperous and we respect all.
But, we are always at a tipping point.   A tipping point exacerbated by the actions of others literally forcing us to hone our inclusive values and to expand our capacity to get better. 
The first hallmark is respect and it is a God given right, it is not something to be earned.  This is Australia.  A land of respect for all.  This does not mean we have to like someone or agree with everything they say but it does mean we try and respect their opinion and themselves.  Without respect we shrink mentally into a cocoon blocking out life and physically by erecting imaginary borders whilst becoming introverted and just a subsection of what we used to be.
The second hallmark is hope.  Hope is not an esoteric nebulous thought ‘others’ seem to have in abundance.  It is something created, onto which all peoples can latch and ride the wave. 
Hope comes in all forms but without it, we perish.  It is embodied in a living wage from which people can move to a new level expanding both mentally and physically, it is knowledge that our country’s safety net will protect us in an emergency and most importantly it is building our nation from the top down.  Putting in nation building strategies which will propel Australia into the future.
This is where politicians come in because it’s our job to ‘light the fire’, to deliver hope that we as a country are leapfrogging the world by putting in place strategies designed to give us that ‘edge’ and from which we can see our future – as a country.
Just two examples of nation building …
We will offer the top 50 graduates across all disciplines and the country each year for 5 years to work together to come up with practical ideas in exchange for all their Hex fees which we can implement to secure our nation’s future.  Maths and science gives us strength whilst art gives us soul.  The brightest people working for our country – wow!
On a more ground level, we will support the Australian development and production of what will be the world’s best taxi and the world’s best Police car.  Thousands of jobs created and the probability of exports all over the world.  This is not a minutia led pipe dream, it is in fact part of the vision we have for our country to lead the world in carefully chosen areas.
That vision is … ‘Australia is about seeking a future based on knowledge and strength of purpose proving respect and enabling palatable hope for all for a planned future in which everyone will ride the wave.’  

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Ms Leigh Sales 7:30 Report response to kitchen nightmares

Ms Leigh Sales
7:30 Report
Good morning,
When we arrived home last night we sought your program on i-view because it addresses what we do for a living and, there are two sides to every coin. 
Firstly, we are not seeking publicity as our little restaurant is busy most of the time.  But, what we are seeking is to deliver another side to the proffered restaurant turmoil replacing the Dickensian workhouse image of steam, fire and sweat eating poor unsuspecting and desperate cooks trying to produce God like food whilst an uncaring overlord is beating them to a pulp with a blunt spoon [with apologies to Alan Rickman as the sheriff in ‘Robin Hood’].
Why bother?  Because, whilst there are sweat shops out there controlled by meglamanic [my word - sorry] uneducated and personally uncomfortable dropkicks, there is actually no need.  But, as long as the sensationalist macho 100 hour sweat box is accepted as the norm, our industry will fail to attract professionals.  Professionals who want to have fun in a constantly challenging environment.
And, it is fun!
Only last week we had a few anniversaries.  I turned 71 as the only overworked cook/dishwasher, our current 16 seat restaurant also turned 16, my other half [Ulla, the lone swan around waitress] and I celebrated 20 years of 24/7 and we popped another cork in honour of our first wedding anniversary.  Add on activities pursued together such as golf [very very average], archery [better], travel [lots] and people [all sorts] and life is a treat.  Indeed, we eat out a lot [we have to, to keep abreast of trends] and enjoy, everything. 
We work around 30 hours a week!
The work is challenging and at times physical [I don’t look a day over 71] but that IS the challenge and one to embrace as the opportunity.  Bending, turning, lifting, thinking, planning, fixing, washing, and even cooking.  On top of that we get to run a business whilst still having time to pontificate at length about personally felt issues.  For example, I spent years downsizing companies globally after they had lost their vision yet I don’t see either of our current Prime Minister hopefuls expound any sort of ‘strategic’ vision for our country.   They deal with minutia because they believe it wins votes whilst as a country we flounder in a sea of conflicting uncertainty.  Where are the vision building strategies? Indeed, where are the strategists?
Anyway, that’s irrelevant to this short note.
Too much fun, but we have now decided to sell our business and allow someone else to realise the opportunities therein.  No, we are not retiring [tried that 16 years ago and it didn’t work] but seek a new challenge wherein we can get excited once again.  Dad was still working as a consulting engineer and was studying anthropology as he turned 93 [right up to when he shuffled off this mortal coil] and I really hope to be able to continue ‘life’ as he did.  Indeed, I see a cranky centenarian post stroke still trying to change the world whilst perhaps studying law.
Restaurants tick all the boxes and yes, we own the bar.
Best regards,
Jon & Ulla Langevad [I could list multiple degrees but at 71 who cares]

Mon Ami Restaurant is fully owned by Langevad Pty Limited and has been awarded ‘French restaurant of the year – Australia 2018’ by Travel & Hospitality Awards [London] and ‘Best Brasserie – Australia 2018’ by the Luxury Travel Guide [London] and 2 hats from Gault & Millau 2018 [Paris] and maintains a greater than 90% review score Australia 2018

Ms Leigh Sales 7:30 Report - response to kitchen nightmares


Good morning,
When we arrived home last night we sought your program on i-view because it addresses what we do for a living and, there are two sides to every coin. 
Firstly, we are not seeking publicity as our little restaurant is busy most of the time.  But, what we are seeking is to deliver another side to the proffered restaurant turmoil replacing the Dickensian workhouse image of steam, fire and sweat eating poor unsuspecting and desperate cooks trying to produce God like food whilst an uncaring overlord is beating them to a pulp with a blunt spoon [with apologies to Alan Rickman as the sheriff in ‘Robin Hood’].
Why bother?  Because, whilst there are sweat shops out there controlled by meglamanic [my word - sorry] uneducated and personally uncomfortable dropkicks, there is actually no need.  But, as long as the sensationalist macho 100 hour sweat box is accepted as the norm, our industry will fail to attract professionals.  Professionals who want to have fun in a constantly challenging environment.
And, it is fun!
Only last week we had a few anniversaries.  I turned 71 as the only overworked cook/dishwasher, our current 16 seat restaurant also turned 16, my other half [Ulla, the lone swan around waitress] and I celebrated 20 years of 24/7 and we popped another cork in honour of our first wedding anniversary.  Add on activities pursued together such as golf [very very average], archery [better], travel [lots] and people [all sorts] and life is a treat.  Indeed, we eat out a lot [we have to, to keep abreast of trends] and enjoy, everything. 
We work around 30 hours a week!
The work is challenging and at times physical [I don’t look a day over 71] but that IS the challenge and one to embrace as the opportunity.  Bending, turning, lifting, thinking, planning, fixing, washing, and even cooking.  On top of that we get to run a business whilst still having time to pontificate [nothappyjon.blogspot.com] at length about personally felt issues.  For example, I spent years downsizing companies globally after they had lost their vision yet I don’t see either of our current hopefuls expound any sort of ‘strategic’ vision for our country.   They deal with minutia because they believe it wins votes whilst as a country we flounder in a sea of conflicting uncertainty.  Where are the vision building strategies? Indeed, where are the strategists?
Anyway, that’s irrelevant to this short note.
Too much fun, but we have now decided to sell our business and allow someone else to realise the opportunities therein.  No, we are not retiring [tried that 16 years ago and it didn’t work] but seek a new challenge wherein we can get excited once again.  Dad was still working as a consulting engineer and was studying anthropology as he turned 93 [right up to when he shuffled off this mortal coil] and I really hope to be able to continue ‘life’ as he did.  Indeed, I see a cranky centenarian post stroke still trying to change the world whilst perhaps studying law.
Restaurants tick all the boxes and yes, we own the bar.
Best regards,
Jon & Ulla Langevad [I could list multiple degrees but at 71 who cares]
0437 23 1948 / 9417 3220
Mon Ami Restaurant is fully owned by Langevad Pty Limited and has been awarded ‘French restaurant of the year – Australia 2018’ by Travel & Hospitality Awards [London] and ‘Best Brasserie – Australia 2018’ by the Luxury Travel Guide [London] and 2 hats from Gault & Millau 2018 [Paris] and maintains a greater than 90% review score Australia 2018

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame de Paris


I took this picture circa 13 years ago of a Gargoyle on Cath├ędrale Notre-Dame de Paris.  I just added the red background for obvious and current reasons.
A poignant reminder of futility and history.
The gargoyle has resigned to his fate, 'Oh not again'.