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grill_nzGrill & Food Service New Zealand

The Master at the MasterClasses: Fernando Peire - John Clarke went and learnt something.

It has to be said: the Restaurant Association of New Zealand scored something of a culinary coup, with Fernando Peire, director of London’s famous The Ivy Restaurant, headlining this year’s Telecom MasterClasses.

Renowned for reviving London’s most-lovedand enduring theatre restaurant not once, but twice, Peire shared his experience with appreciative audiences from New Zealand’s hospitality industry. “Fernando Peire has an unrivalled understanding of the restaurant business, and an instinctive feel for how to create a broad and loyal customer base – crucial to any successful restaurant,” says Steve McKenzie, chief executive of the Restaurant Association. And so it proved. At ease, engaged and engaging, Peire interacted with his well attended audiences and them with him – with the happy result that the classes became more a forum than a lecture.

Peire’s focus on attention to detail and practicality reminded us of the things we know but push to the background due to constant day-to-day operational dramas – that those fussy pain-in-the-ass customers will be your best customers if you treat them as special – and that’s what we are there for after all. And he touched on a few things we maybe just never thought of – such as how many of us have actually sat at every setting in our dining areas and considered whether we would want to be seated here? ‘Not many if any’ as Scribe would say!

Anyone who didn’t come away from these sessions a better restaurateur would have to have been deaf, dumb, blind – and stupid. For the first time the Restaurant Association also took its Telecom MasterClasses to
Wellington and if in future years the Restaurant Association can do half as well as it has done in the past couple of years then it will have to consider extending the sessions even further.

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