What’s your earliest memory?
Being at the beach. Bucket, shade, arm bands, rubber ring. The usual accoutrements.
What was teenage Will like?
Being in Australia was fun. Lots of beer I seem to remember. Also there was a good dollop of sexual freedom around then, which puts a smile on a teenagers face.
Can you explain a bit about your background in property?
I started off collecting rents. First day on the job I got punched in the face, so I quickly restrategized how to go about it – I moved into sales!! After a few years of that I was hired by a publicly listed property development company. I was employed to search out developments on the smaller scale (maximum of $5m AUS) to their usual course of business. I had a lot of freedom – from land subdivisions to refurbishing blocks of flats around the inner suburbs. I really learnt from that exposure – Building contracts. Dealing with property professionals. Town planning etc. I was young so I had to get up to speed quickly
At what age did you decide “I’m going to be a Restauranteur”?
I arrived in London, just as the property crash came. I was originally being seconded here, but that was terminated. Frustrated, I decided to come anyway. Not able to find gainful employment, I worked in Landscaping, Pubs, Painting and Decorating, Doorman, anything that kept some money coming, I didn’t want to fail and fly back to Oz, defeated.
It was working in a Soho bar, when the owner – drinking with his friends – bit me on the calf (I have no idea why) he then gave me £50.00 for the imposition. It was right then I realised two things, 1 he was an idiot and 2, if he could do it, I should give it a go.
How and why Pan Asian cuisine?
No one was doing Pan-Asian at the time. I didn’t have a clue about it and nor did any of the chefs I first employed. I was pulling recipes out of Gourmet Traveller and we’d try them out. It wasn’t good, but nobody really new what it should taste like, so I got a free pass. Then I hired an Australian chef and she new her away around the kitchen and the cuisine. Things really picked up from there.