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The Open Pantry Podcast

Author: Shaun de Vries

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The Open Pantry Podcast is a hospitality podcast where I interview people within the hospitality industry about their lives both in and outside the industry.
Our podcast aims to show that the thing that links all people in hospitality is a want to be creative, support each other and always do better. We hope you enjoy the episodes.
35 Episodes
Episode 33 - Joshua Kopel and how his southern charm and cuisine has taken over the LA restaurant and bar scene In this laughter packed episode I have the pleasure of talking to Joshua Kopel, owner of Preux and Proper, South City Fried Chicken and Five0Four Hollywood.  We talk about how he came up through the industry from working in some of the busiest bars in the south to owning a Fine Dining venue in LA.Hailing from humble beginnings in Baton Rouge, LA, owner/operator Joshua Kopel wanted to bring a little bit of The South to Southern California. In 2010 he opened Five0Four, a New Orleans style bar, in Hollywood. Four years later, Kopel looked to DTLA, broadened his focus from Bourbon Street to The South as a whole, and opened up Preux & Proper. After a rocky first year in The Fashion District, Kopel was ready call it quits. In walks Sammy Monsour, a third generation chef that grew up in his father’s kitchen in Chapel Hill, NC.  Kopel and Monsour hit it off instantly, and what came to fruition was the best kind of Southern. Monsour’s food encompasses his classical training at the CIA, his Lebanese ancestry, and his Southern roots. It’s like your grandma’s food went to school, traveled around the world, and came back to you beautifully plated with one hell of a story to tell. It is their mission to inspire Southern Culture and Hospitality throughout their restaurant and community and that really comes through on this valuable podcast.Please follow Joshua here:joshua@justcallflo.comwww.joshkopel.comwww.justcallflo.com always please feel free to reach out to us on:
Episode 32 - Sash Fernando from Principle DesignIn this episode of the Open Pantry Podcast I talk with the Sash Fernando founder of the prominent Melbourne creative studio, Principle Design.Principle Design specialises in Design Strategy, Branding & Graphic Design to name but a few which allows us to have an in-depth discussion about the role that branding plays in any successful hospitality brand.  Sash and I discuss about many design components including why design is so important for a hospitality brand, how the elements of a hospitality brand are being used for so much more than a logo, and how his team is able to develop a clients idea into a sustainable brand with a vision for growth.We especially touch on one of their newest projects, Chunky Town, and how he and his team were able to build it from ground up on just a product sample from an open-minded client.With their experience working with such hospitality brands as Sushi Hub, Ika8 and Ms Collins, this is a powerful conversation in which both the experienced and non-experienced hospitality people will gain a lot from.Please discover Principle Design here to see their great work- always please let me know your feedback
Episode 31 - Doug Koob from Circle Alliances: How to build a strong hospitality brand with Starbucks StrategyIn this episode I talk with Doug Koob, the founder of hospitality consulting brand Circle Alliances in the USA.  They help clients build brands, create memorable experiences and deliver on outstanding financial results.Doug has been in the hospitality industry from an early age, starting with Starbucks in the very early days, at about 75-100 cafes.  He subsequently saw the development and evolution of this brand as it became one of the biggest brands in the world.  He has worked with Starbucks both in North America and Europe which has given him many experiences and lessons that we deconstruct over this 40 minute conversation.We talk about how Starbucks used their mission statement to build its team culture, why strategy is so important as you build your hospitality brand, the power of connections in your industry, and how and why the hospitality industry is changing and how to stay ahead of the curve.Doug is such an easy person to talk to and not only does he talk common sense in this podcast, but he also gives great points which will make you think and develop ideas for your hospitality business.I highly recommend that you reach out to Doug if you are developing your hospitality brand in North America, and no doubt Open Pantry Co. and Circle Alliances will do some work together in the future as we share excellent concepts in each others markets.Please find the details to contact Doug below and the link to this great conversation:
Episode 30 - Adriano Zumbo

Episode 30 - Adriano Zumbo


In this episode I am lucky to talk to the ‘Sweet Assassin’, Adriano Zumbo. We talk about how he got his start in the industry, how he developed his first bakery in Balmain, Sydney, the story behind his first appearance on Masterchef and he talks openly about his challenges of the last few years. In this very honest interview we discuss where the industry could go next and what he hopes to do next in his career.
Episode 29 - Jared Merlino from Bartolo, Surry Hills, SydneySince opening in November 2018, it was always Jared’s vision to create a venue where patrons could feel at home, whilst settling in to enjoy the incredible food and drinks on offer. During this time an application was submitted for a PSA (Primary Service Authorisation), which would allow guests to drink without dining. With the approval of Bartolo’s PSA and the opportunity to offer later night trading, Jared’s vision is finally being realised and he is excited to be able to provide customers with more of what he does best, alongside the wonderful Grazia di Franco, who is responsible for Bartolo’s innovative seasonal cocktail menu. In this episode we talk about Jared's journey from working as a kitchen hand in a gentleman's club, to working with Merivale group in Sydney for 6 years and running Ivy, one of the best bars in Sydney.If you are scaling a hospitality brand and want to make sure that it stays authentic, then I know this podcast is going to offer you a lot of value.Please check out Jared's venues below to see what his group is about:Bartolo: Plantation: KittyHawk: Poppa's: always please reach out to me with any feedback on the podcast on to nominate a guest I should talk to:
Episode 28 - How to make your restaurant the 'comeback story'In this episode I talk with the amazing restaurant owner Sylvie Gabriele of Love and Salt LA.Since the opening in late 2014, Love & Salt has garnered critical attention for the reinvention, as well as the restaurant’s SoCal interpretation of Italian cuisine, including recognition as one of Los Angeles Magazine's top ten new restaurants of 2015. That same year Forbes described the evolution as "L.A.'s Best Restaurant Comeback Story.”Sylvie’s fastidious approach to managing all aspects of the restaurant — from the warm service to the branding and creative marketing — have contributed to Love & Salt’s continued growth and success as a mainstay not solely in Manhattan Beach, but in Los Angeles proper.We talk about how Sylvie has managed to take a venue that was famous for what her father Guy Gabriele did with Cafe Pierre, and make it a powerhouse venue on Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles.The best way to find out about Love and Salt LA is in the following links: Open Pantry Podcast is brought to you by Open Pantry Consulting.  Please make sure you check us out and leave your feedback here:
Episode 27 - How to build the best restaurant staff culture and pay them correctly to enhance productivity  How do you recruit and train the right people into your business?  And when you hire them into your brand how do you make sure they are paid correctly so that they are satisfied and you are making money as the business owner?All these topics are covered in this week's great podcast with my good friend Chris Firinauskas.Chris has had an amazing career in leading both the HR and Training, Learning, Development pathway of some of the biggest Australian and international brands.  If you need to know about how to develop great talent then this is the podcast to listen to.Please let us know your feedback via Twitter @OpenPantryCo or reach out to me through LinkedIn
Episode 26 - How to develop of restaurant culture of humility and care Episode 26 - In this episode we start the first of many conversations with great international brands carving a path in the world of hospitality. Today I talk to Dina Samson and Hans Luttman from San Julian Hospitality which has the portfolio of Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza in Downtown L.A.Hans Luttmann is the Managing Partner and Director of Hospitality at Rossoblu restaurant and has been working in the restaurant business since the age of fifteen. Hans captained Michelin starred teams at Hatfield’s, Osteria Mozza and Providence. He is known as a creative, results-oriented leader who loves to build teams and empower his staff.  Dina Samson has adeptly assumed the role of “accidental restaurateur” having opened her first restaurant, Sotto, alongside husband/chef Steve Samson in 2011, quickly learning the ropes as the opening general manager.  When her husband, Steve, sought her expertise in financing his first restaurant, she soon became integral to the nascent restaurant’s daily operation, taking on all marketing and finance responsibilities. They have expanded their brand of hospitality through San Julian Hospitality with Rossoblu, their acclaimed ode to Bologna, and Superfine Pizza, which is widely considered the first “LA” pizza, melding the best traits from Neapolitan traditions and New York style. Samson also miraculously finds time to raise young twins, Luca and Gaia.In todays episode we cover:-How they focus on bringing customers back with great customer service-The best way to balance a busy work life and family-How the atmosphere of a restaurant can really add to the customer experience-The simple things you can do to give a positive mindset to the team you lead everydayI really enjoyed today’s episode and I hope you do too, it will give you a great understanding of how to develop great teams by bringing in the elements of care for your staff, great product and atmosphere, and the ability to look forward positively to new challenges.Please follow Rossoblu and Superfine Pizza here. As you will hear they are amazing brands and well worth a visit:Insta: @rossoblula @superfinepizzaWebsite:         always please reach out with any feedback on twitter check out our YouTube Channel to watch this episode as well:
Episode 25 finds me talking to Matt Hale and Braden Johnston from Rising Tide Financial. They are based in Melbourne and have great experience in financial lending and planning. They have been in the business for over 10 years and really know the hospitality industry well.In todays episode we cover:-What the biggest mistakes people make when they start their first hospitality business-The maximum number of investors you should have for your venue-How automation will shape the financial services industry-The best financial process from going from one site to two sitesI really enjoyed today’s episode and I hope you do too, it will give you a good foundation of financial acumen so you can go into your food venture with confidence.If you’d like to set up a time to talk to Matt from Rising Tide Financial then please reach out to him here: please take a look at their website: always please reach out with any feedback on twitter check out our YouTube Channel to watch this episode as well:
Episode 24 - How to develop leadership within your restaurant teams with Alan Borges It was great to catch up with Alan for the second time on the podcast to talk about all things restaurant leadership.  Alan has a very successful restaurant coaching business and in the 18 months since we have last talked to him he has developed even more insights.In this episode we discuss:-Is leadership or team culture more important-Who the best leader he has worked under and why-How he believes automation will change restaurant leadership-What's the number one thing that venue owners can do to change their team cultureAlan is all over the internet, but the easiest way to find him is through his website here: always I love your feedback so please feel free to reach out at:
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