When I began my chefs apprenticeship in Melbourne in 1981 it was my dream to one day own my own restaurant. This finally happened in August 2001 when myself and three friends opened The Providores and Tapa Room on London's Marylebone High Street. Previous to that I'd been executive chef, but not owner, of The Sugar Club in Soho and Notting Hill, and before that executive chef at the Mayfair private members club Green Street. However, since The Providores opened I have become involved in many other restaurants and food businesses, some as consultant, some as investor. This was something I hadn't foreseen, but that I have enjoyed immensely.
Kopapa (Dec 2010 - May 2016)
We opened Kopapa in December 2010. It was an all-day café and restaurant in Monmouth Street, the heart of vibrant Seven Dials, Covent Garden. Run as a joint venture between myself and Michael McGrath (my business partner and co-owner of The Providores), and Adam Wills and Brandon Allen, the original founders of Gourmet Burger Kitchen. Kopapa is a Maori word meaning a gathering, to be crowded, a building to store food. Brandon and I both have Maori heritage and along with Adam and Michael are New Zealand-raised.
Kopapa offered barista-made coffee (using a blend roasted exclusively by The Monmouth Coffee Company) and juices, energising and hearty breakfasts, small plates and light meals through to main courses, and a concise, exciting wine list from New Zealand and the old world.
After a very successful 5 1/2 years Kopapa was sold in May 2016 and another restaurant venture now occupies the site. A big thank you to all the wonderful staff and customers who were involved with Kopapa over the years.