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RAYMOND CAPALDI B


No matter where he’s based, Capaldi acknowledges: “There are lots of great restaurants in the world. It’s not always about the food, it’s the whole package and that moment in time.” It’s a truth that chefs like Heston Blumenthal, having brought The Fat Duck to Melbourne, aim to constantly recreate. Awarded three chef’s hats in The Age Food Guide, Capaldi made his mark in the industry most notably when he established the Sofitel Cooking Academy, though he is no longer involved; the corporate side of things not being to his taste


Baked bean sandwich Capaldi goes on to share his passionate views on today’s hospitality industry and highlights that a good chef is hard to find. “My thoughts are that too many chefs concentrate on PR. It is important, but building relationships with customers is more important. PR lasts only a few months.” When he’s not sharing his often-controversial opinions, Capaldi enjoys the simple things at home –


such as the joy of a baked bean sandwich. “I recently bought a Nutri-Bullet and I’m having lots of healthy drinks,” he adds. Free time is something that Capaldi seldom gets to enjoy. However, when we spoke, Capaldi had reluctantly announced that Hare & Grace was to close at the beginning of May 2015. “After meeting with Rialto [the owners of the complex where Hare & Grace was situated], we had to close as Rialto wants to do a refurbishment, asking us to return in two years, which we don’t want to do.” According to Capaldi, Rialto wants to refurbish the whole landmark building. “They need all the tenants out so they can start work. I am happy with the outcome. They [Rialto] promised us a new kitchen etc, but we will move on to other projects.”


Capaldi attributes his success so


far “to trusting gut feelings”. For him, the highlight has been “surviving this long”. Let’s wait and see what ripples he can create next.


For more go to foodserviceconsultant.org 79


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