Sunday, 28 February 2010

So long, farewell, an revoir, auf wiedersehen.....(I'd like to stay, and taste my first champagne.....) (Sound of Music)

It was Rita’s huge pleasure today to be a guest at lunch at Peppermint Bay for Paul Foreman’s swansong meal from Peppermint Bay. Paul produced food, yet again, commensurate with his talent and expertise.

He is taking some time out, and will keep a low profile while he catches up on some of those things the rest of us take for granted in our day-to-day lives.

His competent sidekick, Tess, will also depart PB within the month, as will CEO Luke.

PB will be much the poorer for the loss of all three of these key staff members.

I salute all three, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the impeccable service you have provided me over the past 6 months.
Posted on by Rita


Anonymous said...

Why does his sous follow him everywhere???

Rita said...

Probably because they work well together. Haven't you felt in total sync (in a work situation) with someone? It produces excellent outcomes when this occurs.

Anonymous said...

Some of his sous chefs leave because they can't put up with his primma donna antics.

Anonymous said...

wow, i'm surprised you removed my query so quickly. do you spend all night looking at your blog? come on tell me' why did paul fail at peppermint bay. was is his fault or theirs?

Anonymous said...

Good old PB!! Kills another good chef. Ha ha when will the owners wake up? I know all four of the past chefs well, all different but masters in their own right. Cumper a regional wiz truly in love with food and Tassie, Simon young but had potential if given support, Martin a large operater and corporate chef there for a well paid holiday and finely forms a truly gifted Tassie icon chef. JJ, Jordi, the new GM and now Luke the CEO hmmmmm.

Anonymous said...

Their fault or his??

A good question.

PB is a strange beast with many twists and turns. Many don’t understand the dynamics of the place. It’s not a restaurant, (all be it, it tries sooooooo hard to be) it is a multi outlet resort for lack of a better term without the draw card of accommodation. Its tries so hard to be a regional icon however the tourists just are not strong enough in number to sustain that dream. The daily boat coming down from Hobart assists PB but not in a big way.
Many have tried to tame this monster and failed. The problem’s are many, but lets start with the shallow chef pool in Hobart and the Huon area thus having chefs (if you can get them) travel from Hobart each day to get to work (this will never be sustainable or provide long term consistency). The owners have big dreams however limited F&B knowledge and understanding the dynamics of an operation such as PB.

I could go on and on and on however, to answer your question, Pauls fault or theirs?

A bit of both Im afraid, Paul is a very, very good restaurant chef but PB is not a restaurant. PB should have identified this, PB needs to stop trying to compete against the restaurant scene and focus on running a multi outlet resort and recruit a chef with this skill set with very strong back up chefs (cause there aren’t any chefs in Tassie).

I could talk all day about this however will restrain…….

Anonymous said...

Both agreed.
Paul was never the right person for that job as he seems only interested in doin high end food. Knowing that PB was multi faceted, then this seems like an ill judged move.
PB management have never had a clear idea on what PB should be & rely too heavily on focus groups.
Last anon made a good point about the quality or lack therof of good kitchen staff, an ongoing problem if you are in rural locale
The other factor is that there are not many people who can control the demands of such a multi faceted outlet-except of course for the original chef, crumper.

Anonymous said...


I tend to agree with exception to your last point. Crumper all be it a very good chef, opened the venue and attempted to set a standard “and did” to a point however, from what I understand also struggled with the size and twists and turns of PB. He also came to a clash with the management at the time (this manager is no longer with PB however still has a voice and is never far away). From what I hear from various chefs and industry, Martin was by far the most successful head chef at PB by a very long shot. Martin wasn’t interested in building his profile in Tassie nor was he into the whole struggling Tassie restaurant scene, he was paid to come and do a job and he did just that. (I might add that it wasn’t cheap for PB). He would fly back to Melbourne most weeks for his days off and was not at all interested in establishing roots in Tassie. I guess that’s why he didn’t tend to get much of a write up in the local rags, he simply was not interested in Tassie.

His knowledge of multi outlet operations and establishing not only new concepts but teams has been unmatched and I don’t believe it will ever be seen again at PB. Martin’s background was running various high profiled hotels/resorts at a time. I believe when he started (and this is the key) he had 5 or 6 quality chefs (not sure how many) in the background (not Tassie chefs) just waiting for his word to move from interstate and start with him, and they did (again costly for PB). What does this tell you about the calibre of this guy, chefs just waiting to move with him from all over Australia?
He quickly established order and set new standards ultimately removing all redundant staff from the old Crumper brigade (this was ultimately his undoing) and replacing them swiftly with professional chefs loyal to only him and long term as long as he was at PB, he did the same with the kitchen hands. Martin wasn’t a “foodie” he was a corporate chef.
Im not sure about how it all ended for him however, rumour has it that when he was removing a troubled staff member from the PB it went pear shaped and Martins profile got dinted, he quickly went into damage control and moved on taking all of his chefs and a couple of Tassie ones back to the main land with him. (as you can probably tell, I worked with nearly all of the head chefs at PB so know first hand)

Im not surprised forms lasted only 6 months, how could you come in and recover a team from that mass exodus?
Good old PB, what’s next I wonder?

Anonymous said...


Interesting points last anon.

‘He simply was not interested in Tassie’

A Mercenary has no allegiances & bringing over a brigade of guns for hire is the worst situation a business can put itself in. The management at the time were hoodwinked into believing that this gunslinger with an embellished CV was to be their saviour-how more wrong could they have been?

‘Martin was not a foodie, he was a corporate chef’

This was evident by the food that was served. His menus peppered with geographical references never really convinced anyone, least of all the diners & following them, the press whom were decidedly under whelmed by his food. I also heard from many people who worked there that he never went near the stoves at all & left the running of the kitchen to some very junior cooks & apprentices. This is probably why he didn’t get any good press, food was never really up to it. Even the staff believed this.

‘From what I hear from various chefs and industry, Martin was by far the most successful head chef at PB by a very long shot.’

Not sure which chef & what industry you are referring to anon but word is he was intimidated. Pulling out at the last minute of the Moorilla function was a big PR mistake. The canapés served by him on the cruise part of the evening were regarded as embarrassing. Simply, he failed to put PB back on the map & almost t crippled the business when he took his hired guns with him

‘I’m not sure about how it all ended for him however, rumour has it that when he was removing a troubled staff member from the PB it went pear shaped and Martins profile got dinted’

It went pear shaped because Martins belligerent management style eventually caught up with him & as he was unable to turn PB’s fortunes around he quickly became a liability to management.
The former manger who was responsible for hiring him, got the arse soon after the next manager was hired. This new manager took an immediate disliking to Martin, so his days were numbered.
Sensing the end was nigh, he did what any opportunist would do, he spat the dummy & took his bat & ball & went home this is of course after he was rumoured to have been asked to leave.
You know what? No one missed him.
Not the staff, the management, the press or even the customers. In the history of that place they have always had a do to send someone off-not him.

What does that say about the calibre of someone?

So, I have to disagree last anon, but each to their own

Anonymous said...

anon 11.57.
you might be right but steve was there for three & a half years & all the rest including david martin could manage one year at best this fact tells you a lot about the guy and he did it without the help of a team from the mainland.

Anonomouse said...

I actually think the last four posts (11.16am through to 1:11pm) bring up some very good points.

I don't think Foreman was ever the right chef for that place. His food never had the substance that PB required. I mean that it's good food (even though I am not a fan) for a small restaurant, but in a multi faceted business, it's not the right style. He never had it in him. He pretty much said it with his quotes about flipping burgers.

I think PB has dug itself into such a big hole that it needs a mass clean out of the entire place. Get rid of ALL the staff, add some personality to the restaurant, restructure the management style the lot. Get some paintings on to the walls, get rid of the drab battleship grey, maybe install a piano and fireplace in the corner. Something.

I go to PB and it is such a bizarre place. From the outside, you expect big things. Going inside, it seems so stagnant, stale - almost like walking into a boardroom. The staff are never happy; they act like robots and little conversations I have overheard gives me the impression there is a big power struggle there.

On to the mercenary thing. Good on him. If he has found staff that are loyal to him, knows what he wants and are willing to support him then that's great. Restaurants don't support there chefs, especially in a place like PB. Food wise, he isn't (and has never been) the best, but he produced what he was capable of. Maybe PB needs to get there own internal issues sorted out before complaining about a chef who did what he was capable of. Four chefs in a very short period of time is not good for business. A few of them leaving because of management issues; and all being chefs of good standing? Hmmmm....

The press are funny in Tasmania. They would seem to be narrow minded. Some excellent staff from many different industries have come to Tasmania but there is always that stigma of been from the "mainland". Get over it you narrow minded twats. How can you possibly improve if people from the mainland have that stigma? Also, when your only restaurant reviewer of note is Graeme Phillips, and even he is not well respected by people in the industry, you don't really have much of a leg to stand on.

Finally, not having much interest in Tassie? I can relate to that. I've said it before, but I think the food & restaurant scene in Tasmania is overrated. Poor suppliers, terrible restaurants and terribly overrated restaurants (373 anyone?) & the service standard being bad overall. If Mures is consistently rated as one of your very best, well... How can anyone possibly support that with stigma involved with being from the mainland and so many issues to deal with. Not to mention the lack of quality staff...

Anonymous said...

Well said Anon 2.42

Anon 1.11 sounds somewhat connected to PB and seems to be very passionate about the Martin days.

I say good on Martin I know him pretty well and he is a true pro and a gentleman in the industry as anyone that has worked with or for him would agree.

Anonomouse said...

Yeah thanks.... No need to compliment me though!

Just as an aside, I was looking for a word earlier to describe PB. It's clinical. It reminds me of a clinic.

Anonymous said...

Well those days are well over. Whats next for PB??

I agree with anon 2.42 a clean out would be the way to go. When you go through four chefs that quickly for whatever reasons it not good.

What do they say………..the fish stinks from the head down. There has been just as much movement in the top end of the business, forget about the chefs, how many GM’s and CEO’s has the place had in just as short a time?

Anonomouse said...

It would seem to be a pretty shit place to work. Not so much for the plebs; although they can't be real happy with the lack of stability; but for the people in 'power' although I use that word very carefully and with hesitance in this case.

Anonymous said...

Go on anon 4.09 what do you mean?

Anonomouse said...

What do you mean what do I mean? I'm happy to expand any or all of it. Not sure which bit you mean though?

Anonomouse said...

What do you mean what do I mean? I'm happy to expand any or all of it. Not sure which bit you mean though?

Anonymous said...

Wow anon 1.11

How wrong you are………….I worked with Martin at PB and am a proud Tassie chef. I came in a while after martin started as he was looking for some local talent, apparently I fitted the bill.

You sound somewhat effected and I must say……. little bitter to be completely honest.

Shall I speak some truth??

“The management at the time were hoodwinked into believing that this gunslinger with an embellished CV”
They sourced him and found him whilst he was working elsewhere after being told by a senior national and respected player to do so.

Martin turned PB down on two occasions to finally agree after hefty negotiations.

“His menus peppered with geographical references”
Maybe because he has worked in every state of Australia and extensively overseas……
Whilst I was there I never saw the press, Martin was asked a few times by press but he simply wasn’t interested and was very vocal about his dislike for Phillips for the write up he gave Crumper and PB. Martin liked and respected Steve and thought Phillips was way out of line therefore had no time for the Tassie press..

I believe he pulled out of the Moorilla event because he was on the mainland assisting in an event. It wasn’t even his food on the boat!!

Junior cooks & apprentices………we didn’t have any!!!!!..where are you getting your info??

“The former manger who was responsible for hiring him, got the arse soon after the next manager was hired. This new manager took an immediate disliking to Martin, so his days were numbered”

This is just simply not true!! From what I remember the former manager got outed for reasons not remotely connected to Martin and ones that I will not mention. The new manager lasted what, 3 months?

“that place they have always had a do to send someone off-not him”

Again simply not true. All the chefs and some key waiters had a great send off…management got his final day mixed up and he was gone!! Ha ha that really sums up the management anyway!!

Anon 1.11, you indeed need to check your facts……………..

new anon said...

I've read all the above comments but the last one takes the cake!

Anon 4.57

Shall I speak some truth to you? You're obviously carrying a torch for Martin even though it seems he left without you.
You say you are a proud Tassie chef well that must be difficult to reconcile when Martin apparently could not care less about Tassie-nor it seems about hiring Tasmanians & training them. No, thats too hard, leave that one for someone else, he was just there for the money. What legacy did he leave? How many Tasmanian chefs got the chance to work alongside him? How many Tasmanian chefs & cooks benefitted from his experience?

I'm not anon 1.11 you referred too either, this is my first comment.

Anonomouse said...

That argument would seem flawed... Shouldn't he be hiring the very best staff available to him? Rather than Tasmanians. Why should he hire Tasmanians if they aren't always the best applicant. He has a job to do and it doesn't involve playing 'we are the best state', playing up to the local media and playing up to the locals. By all means hire a Tasmanian if they are the best applicant. But if they aren't...

If a Tasmanian is so desperate to work with him, why don't they do a stage with him. Or, even more importantly, GET OFF THE ISLAND....

I can name probably 16 maybe 20 Tasmanian chefs I know personally who have the attitude of why would I leave the island. According to them, Tasmanian has the best produce therefore the best restaurants and therefore the best training.... LOL!

Rita said...

I have just deleted 14 comments which contributed absolutely nothing to the original post.
I love to hear from anyone, whatever their views or opinions, but a straight out slanging match is definitely not what this is about.

Sydney refugee said...

Awesome review of The Stackings restaurant at Peppermint Bay in The Australian today:

"It’s a large and profoundly special meal. And it’s a crime we are but two of nine customers. Moyle is undoubtedly destined for new challenges, eventually. I hope he’s training and inspiring his charges here. In Tassie, you cannot only see the past; with effort, you can see the future, too.

Might give it a go in a couple of weeks