Baguette Bistrot & Bar

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What makes a Legend? My business partners of 17 years Marilyn & Francis Domenech and the co-owners of Bretts Wharf that’s what, they are now officially legends, thanks to their most recent award from The Good Food Guide 2013Dining at Baguette Bistrot & Bar has always in my view been one of life’s pleasures & my recent experience on Mother’s Day was no exception. I wanted to share with you a chat I had with Marilyn & Francis on this outstanding achievement.


Firstly, thank you for being such wonderful business partners and role models to not only myself but to countless aspiring chefs, managers, waiters and barman. I think it would be difficult to find someone who has been involved in hospitality here in Brisbane that has not either heard of you, worked for you, known someone who did or hoped to work for you, Marilyn & Francis Domenech you are legends!

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Congratulations on your most recent award at the Good Food Guide 2013 where you received the Legends Award. How do you feel about that?

Happy we’re still around to be recognised by our peers!  But also thankful that we still work in an occupation we love – we constantly meet interesting people and are surrounded by good food and wine.

You have owned Baguette now for 37 years and co-owned Bretts Wharf for 17 years. You started both these restaurants and along the way gathered a huge & loyal group of followers. What motivated you to open Baguette & Bretts Wharf?

When we opened Baguette there were not many options to dine out in Brisbane.  We saw an opportunity to do something different to the rather staid restaurants here at that time.  With Bretts Wharf, Francis had always wanted to have a seafood restaurant on the river and when the site at Hamilton was developed, it was like a dream come true.

What do you think Baguette & Bretts Wharf will be best remembered for?

Well Bretts (sadly closed now) will be missed by many, many people.   Our favourite times there were Sunday lunch on the river terrace – sunny Brisbane, on the water with friends and family … and great seafood.  For Baguette we hope that we’ll be remembered for welcoming generations of local families, and introducing many innovations in dining to Brisbane.

If you couldn’t dine at Baguette what would be your favourite Restaurant & Bar?

Tartufo at Emporium, Gusto da Gianni at Portside, Sake in the city and Suncrop Chinese Restaurant at Sunnybank.

If you could do one thing over in your life , what would it be?

Find more time to spend with friends; a restaurant is a demanding mistress!

What is the secret to a happy life?

I’m still working on that one …

Who’s had the greatest influence on you & food and why?

Initially, the Michelin starred chefs of France.  In the early days of Baguette we frequently travelled to France to gain inspiration and knowledge.  Then in the 1990s we invited a number of prominent Australian chefs (Stephanie Alexander, Maggie Beer, Damien Pignolet, Philip Searle and Serge Dansereau) to be guest chefs at Baguette.  Their generosity (with their knowledge) and professionalism  had a profound effect on how we wanted to run our kitchen and our business.

What principles have guided how you have done business?

Restaurants can be a cut-throat world but we believe in treating our staff like family, and customers deserve every respect we can bestow, because without them we are nothing.  And absolute honesty in everything we do.

If there was one piece of advice you would give to someone who wanted to own a restaurant what would it be?

Take off the rose-coloured glasses, and do a tough business plan with the best experts you can find.

Finally Your perfect meal?

A platter of the freshest Queensland seafood on the Brisbane River with family and friends – a chilled glass of French Sancerre and the sun shining.

Sounds like the secret to a happy life!

Red Plum Automotive

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What is a Car Broker? A question up until very recently I would only have had a vague answer to until I had the opportunity to consult on the branding for a car brokering business called Red Plum Automotive. What I discovered was that buying a new car should be one of life’s pleasures like dining at your favourite restaurant where your waiter warmly welcomes you back and you know your drink of choice is on it’s way!

RPA has a philosophy not dissimilar to a good restaurant where it is about the experience and the customer. Here’s the thing….If you need a new car & value the service experience but you also want the best price on your new car and lets face it who doesn’t, then I invite you to take a look at this unique car brokering business and discover the world of Red Plum Automotive as I have.

How It Works – The 5 Steps to Stress Free Car Buying

– Research & Test Drive, use the internet, read magazines, talk to friends & family. RPA can even help you get clear if you are time poor.

– Contact RPA & Save, through a nationwide tender process RPA negotiate the best price to find you THE car. No need to negotiate with over zealous salespeople.

– Get Finance, the RPA Business Manager can organise finance, car care protection & extras if required.

– RPA Orders on your behalf, You Relax, knowing the detail is being taken care of for you.

– Take Delivery, RPA co-ordinates this for you right up to delivery and beyond.

New beginnings…

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The old wise saying of “as one door closes another opens” could not be truer from where I stand. Much has taken place in my world as well as in the world of restaurants. I am soon launching my own business called 5thsense. To stay in touch with my new direction sign up to my blog and all things social will be launching soon…

Since closing the doors of Bretts Wharf Restaurant eight months ago and my departure from my other restaurant Tank Restaurant and Bar there has been a new Good Food Guide 2013 launched, congratulations to Natascha Mirosh for the go-to-foodie-guide of all guides and congratulations to my old team at Tank for receiving another coveted one hat. There has been a new Top 50 Restaurants in the world named and there have been so many new and exciting openings of fabulous cafes, bars, pop-ups, trucks and glam restaurants I find myself wanting more hours in every day to get there and try them.

Closing a large Restaurant business and leaving another certainly had it’s challenges but it also meant I could reassess priorities and balance. Add a little soul searching and  a new direction took shape, away from the day to day running of restaurants to sharing my knowledge & passion not only for food and hospitality but beyond. I have come to discover that for me helping is my path & now with many years of “experience” to refer back to, my next journey is about sharing and helping businesses understand where gaps are in their strategy & the elusive x factor that is needed  to create long term competitive advantages; help build better businesses from startups to industry icons.

I will also be blogging about food, people, travel & lifestyle along the way. New beginnings, I would love to share the journey.