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Author Archives: Eddie Parker

A place for you to get to know our team, our place and our restaurant a wee bit better. Plus we love to share great recipes, events and the odd laugh right here from our General Manager, Eddie Parker, our Operations Manager, Nelson D'sa, our Consultant Chef, Martin Bosley and more.

Family Culture at our Waterfront Restaurant

Posted by Eddie Parker on June 14, 2017

We Thrive on our Vibrant Culture

Eddie Parker, our general manager shares one of the things that he loves about being part of the team here at 35 Degrees South & Alongside. 

One of the things that I really love about working at 35 Degrees South and Alongside.  That's about our family culture.   I've worked at a lot of different places throughout my time, from little gaming bars to restaurants to pubs, you name it. I've been in and around most top venues and worked with privately owned, public owned, board of trustees, executive committees, the works. One of the things that I love about 35 Degrees is the structure and the leadership.   It comes from the owning family, and their core values and beliefs, everything from antiquity, a very upfront and honest people.Mike, Gayle & their 4 daughters Sarah, Katie, Lisa & Amy who own & operate 35 Degrees South in Paihia Restaurant

Core Values 

Community, which is also one of our values, is something that's been instilled in us again by the owning family, who are huge supporters of the community.  I think if you look at the work that the family does in their communities, you'd be really amazed at what they do. It's a sort of a work hard, play hard sort of atmosphere. We work hard but we have fun too. We have a joke and there's always someone that's pulling a sly one, with a smile on their face.  Passion, been really passionate about what we're doing. Again, you can see this in the family ... They're really passionate about everything they do.

If you look at our last value – teamwork, again, probably there were a lot of places where you see the owners and they're great owners but they leave the day to day operations generally to ... To be honest, I think you get two sorts.  We get the ones that leave the restaurant to their own devices, and they sort of pop down when there's some sort of large thing going, or you get the ones that are fully in there - 100%, and there's no real point in actually having any management because they're running the show.  I found that this family is a really good balance, a balance of support, but also a freedom to do what needs to be done. The family are always hell bent, probably down to help clean. The time that you see the family they're generally doing the dishes. They're in there with the team, shoulder to shoulder. If need be they can also be found peeling carrots or peeling potatoes.

Walking the Talk

Kyra serving cocktails over the bar at our Paihia RestaurantIt filters down. I think this is worth mentioning, just because you don't get that a lot in the industry, and you don't get a lot of what people say and what they do matching. I've been really privileged and honoured by working with this family. I've definitely improved during my time here.  A 100% improvement and that's due to the training and support of working with this family. You can see it with the team. Ask any other team member at  Alongside or 35 South what it's like to work for the McMasters and I think they'll reiterate what I say every single time. I think that's what makes us a place that's amazing - a place which we are always going to improve on, and being a huge part of this community with a lot to offer.

A chat with Violet

Posted by Eddie Parker on October 06, 2016

Eddie Parker:

Hey folks, Ed here again. Today I'm going to be hunting down one of our team members, we're going to have a little bit of a chat to her. Now a lot of you look over at Alongside and you're probably thinking this is a well-oiled machine. There's some people who make this a well-oiled machine, trust me. There are a lot of easier places you can work. It takes a lot of time, a lot of commitment, and that means we're really proud of about our team and where they come from, and really hit it.

The person we're going to be talking to today is Violet Rose. Violet Rose started as one of our junior sales and now she's the Assistant Manager of 35 Degrees South and Alongside so, she doesn't quite know that we're going to be doing this and here we're going to sneak out to her mid-shift. I think that's probably the best way to go about it, so that we get the most honest reaction from her.

Here she is.

Right, Violet, a few words to tell me, one thing that you love about working at 35 Degrees and Alongside what would that be?

Violet Rose

The opportunities. Ongoing opportunities.

Eddie Parker:

Also you've got to be talking about the opportunities of working alongside me, I can that in your eyes. What opportunities are there that people could enjoy by working with us?

Violet Rose:

Getting to know people around the community. 

Eddie Parker:

Now, do you want to tell us a little bit about yourself, so to begin with, where did you come from, what made you apply for 35 Degrees, and where are you now as far as your career is going and where would you like to be?

Violet Rose:

Originally I worked in retail for about two and a half years. We've done going to Australia looking for a change, didn't quite like it. Had a few arguments with my sister so I moved back to New Zealand. Told myself I was never going to work with people, but then I decided to take a challenge and go into hospitality, something like I never thought I would. Mainly probably the opportunities and the front sector of the industry.

Eddie Parker:

Where do you want to be?

Violet Rose:

Where do I want to be? It's not a national position, hopefully on a cruise ship, relaxing, sipping piña coladas. More professionally, hopefully just somewhere coaching other people on the skills that I've been privileged to learn throughout the few years here.

Eddie Parker:

Thanks Violet. Now obviously you know, especially when someone comes and we get to say a period, where you really just got two thousand people just marching on and for coffees and meals or what not. You know, obviously there's going to be there, that little bit of crazy there, that little bit of crazy gets you through and obviously there's a bit of fun that keeps the team going and working so we'll have to give up, what's some examples of what makes working here fun?

 

Violet Rose:

What makes working here fun ... My ideal day would probably be walking and probably hearing Mark sing, and that's kind of fun, or pretty much just when everyone's having a laugh on the floor even though we've got two thousand capacity. We're at a delay, but fun, the team's what makes it that much more enjoyable.

 

Eddie Parker:

One last question. What is Violet's guilty pleasure?

 

Violet Rose:

Violet's guilty pleasure would probably be procrastination. Yeah, I'm really bad at it. I learned that from Eve though, so yeah. I'm working on it.

 

Eddie Parker:

Obviously chose the wrong person then here, the first time I've done that. I know you'll be hearing a lot more from our team, I'm going to be dedicating the rest of this year to just stalking them down and getting all those answers you've been wanting to hear from the team at 35 South and Alongside.

 

 

Oh, actually I just remembered one more question, let's go Violet again.

 

 

Violet, last question, fairly last question. What's your favorite dish at 35 or Alongside?

 

Violet Rose:

The Chicken Breast and nocky, yeah you can never, ah probably just the most flavors, I'm not a fan of carrots but they pretty much caramelize them too so yeah. Can't go wrong with chicken, I'm a sucker.

 

Eddie Parker:

Awesome, thanks Violet.

 

 

Thanks again for listening to the blog. Hopeful seeing you down at 35 South and Alongside.

 

Cocktails & Dreams

Posted by Eddie Parker on September 28, 2016

Who remembers the movie Cocktail? One of cinemas all-time greats in my opinion. What more could you ask for… Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown and Elizabeth Shue, cocktails and dreams from the seedy night life of the United States to the sunshine and sands of the Caribbean all with the melodic tones in the background of the Beach Boys singing Kokomo. A movie which proved to the world you could walk away from a MBA and strike it big in a local Bar or Pub. Unfortunately the Academy didn’t see things my way and such as Bette Midler was robbed of a Grammy for song “The Rose” so was my beloved Cocktail robbed of Oscars. 

I will always remember Tome Cruise atop a bar of a night club reading aloud his poem to the crowds

“I am the last barman poet, I see America drinking the fabulous cocktails I make, Americans getting stinky on something I stir and shake. The Sex on the beach, The schnapps made from peach, velvet hammer, The Alabama slammer. I make drinks so sweet and snazzy, the ice tea, the kamakazi, the orgasm, the death spasm, the Singapore sling, the dingaling. America you’ve just been devoted to every flavour I got. But if you want to get loaded, why don’t you just buy a shot – Bars Open.” Movie made me want to be a Bar Tender. Except for the last part… tut, tut I am a responsible host after all.

Now imagine you’ve finished work for the day or even the week, let’s shed off those uncomfortable work clothes and get into something more comfy. Pants? Shorts? Shoes? Jandals? Theres no judgement here, what ever is most comfortable for you, lets pull on that favourite shirt your partner frowns at but you have spent years wearing in. Now imagine you jump in the car or bike, or even walk and you make your way down to join us at 35 South & Alongside over the water for a Cocktail, better yet make it a Thursday and enjoy our Thursday Cocktail Extravaganza and let us and the team delight your taste buds with some of the flavours of the Bay of Islands. What could be better? Now if you even want to take that imagination of yours a little further and say… picture Myself as a young Tom Cruise and Nelson D’Sa as an Indian Bryan Brown then who are we to stop you and let’s be honest you wouldn’t be far off the mark now would you (Wink, Wink, smarmy smile).

You won’t find the boring old classics at these restaurants we prefer to give our own twist as lets live a little dangerously people, try something new. Well… we can make on request for those a little nervous to jump out of the box to begin with, however you would be much better off sipping away at a Pirates Gold or a Ka Pai or even relaxing on the large sun bed or couches Alongside with a Pohutakawa.

I’m going to leave you with a couple of my Recommendations this week

For those of us with the “devil may care” feeling try the Midsummer Night’s Dream– Served in Grandmas old Jam or Marmalade Jar and filled with Vodka made locally in the Matakana region with Lychee Liqueur and topped with some Cranberry, Lemon and Blue Berries.

For those of us looking for something without the taste of alcohol try this Mocktail we call the Paihia Punch, Served in a stemmed goblet and topped with a concoction of Cranberry, Blue Berries and Apple. You will not be disappointed sipping away with one these two options on a nice sunny day or evening with your feet up, over the water, looking out over the bay, need I say more.

Decisions, decisions, decisions

Posted by Eddie Parker on September 21, 2016

Hey Team, Ed here. Today I'm going to talk to you about one of those tough decisions that I have to make each day. That's  right, we're talking about breakfast. Each day, I wake up I'm going to cruise across the road from the apartment and I'm going to walk along to Alongside. Alongside is open for breakfast from 8 AM and serves it all the way through to 11.30am. Sometimes it gets a bit wet, so we'll move down under the canopy, chuck the heaters on, make it pretty comfortable. The tough decision I'm talking about is breakfast. Once I get to Alongside, tough decision number 1, do I want to have breakfast at a table with all the views of the Bay of Islands around me, or do I wish to have breakfast on one of the comfy couches, again with all the views of the Bay of Islands around me? Again, that's a tough decision and one that I face each day.

Once I make this tough decision, do you know, going to go straight for a coffee. I need that first coffee in the morning as soon as I can get it. I'd put it through an IV if I could. The coffee at Alongside is done by Toasted Espresso. All roasted on site in Auckland. You can always guarantee that they're always going to take home a decent stash of medals from all the barista & coffee awards.

Back to another decision, my coffee could be a latte, could be a flat white. The selection is just all there. The only thing we don't do is decaf coffee. Unfortunately, that's just due to the number of coffees we put out there, we try to keep it as simple as possible to get your coffee to you as quickly as possible, we all know how important that caffeine hit is in the morning. You like your long blacks, you like your espressos, you want a flat white, cappuccinos, hot chocolates? All on offer.

Now I've had that boost I am then awake and we get to the main decision, breakfast. What am I going to have? Looking over the menu, it's designed by Martin Bosley . You got choices all the way from just simple toast, jam on toast, marmalade on toast, to eggs, bacon and eggs, some waffles, granola, paleo granola, for you paleo fans out there, smoked fish and potato hash. Again, the first to use fresh sustainable [inaudible 00:03:05], or maybe even that's devil-may-care attitude and going for a North African Shakshouka.

Tough decision number 2. We've got all the sides here that you could want: fresh avocado, haloumi, pork sausage, bacon, mushrooms, salmon; all your favorites and all locally found. What more could you ask for in the morning, so next time you're around the Bay of Islands, [pop on down 00:03:38] 8 AM, you'll see us. We're the only place doing breakfast over the water. Come and join me, I'll be there that person there just awakening from my slumber, probably a latte in front of me. Come and join me down for breakfast.

Sticks and Stones

Posted by Eddie Parker on August 04, 2016

There are always exceptions to the rules. “I before E except after a C” for example. Even the old adages “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. Feedback is key to any good business wanting to be great. You can’t fix what you don’t know is broken and you can’t celebrate your successes if you don’t know you are winning. A great business will encourage you to offer feedback, will welcome the challenge to take it on board and use it to improve. Or celebrate their Teams & Systems.

But in the world of Master Chef and Gordon Ramsay I think it’s fair to say we all feel we have all become food critics. After working in the Hospitality Business for a number of years (which I won’t mention how many as it reminds me of my losing race with age), I try to follow simple rules when dining out. If asked for feedback I always give it freely, Great restaurants want your feedback good or bad so that they can monitor, review and improve. Facts are Facts, I know I’m not going to like every meal in every restaurant I dine in. If I have something I don’t like and I’m asked how my meal is I will let the waiter know.

There will be a system in place for this and the restaurant will put things in motion to rectify, might be a replacement meal or reheat, but a good restaurant will always try to fix a problem. Keep in mind that whether I like or dislike my meal a lot of time and effort has gone into it, there is or are people who are working as hard as they can to produce what’s on my plate. Adn they can only fix this if you let them know at the time.

What I never do is when asked about my meal, is dress down the waiter about the food. Raising my voice or getting abusive isn’t going to fix anything, Not raising an issue with any staff and then using my keyboard as a weapon to write my thoughts throughout social media definitely won’t help me or the restaurant. The waiter didn’t make my food, and there is always the chance that it could be just be my personal preference and 99% of all other diners love that same dish.

I never argue price with the floor staff either, for several reasons but the main ones are: 

1. They probably didn’t price the menu themselves. 

2. No one held a gun to my head and made me enter the restaurant or eat the food, they generally will have the prices listed on the menu and if it looks too expensive for me I will dine elsewhere.

3. I understand pricing and its simple math. 15% of the price GST, 28%-35% is just the cost of the companents itself, 28%-34% is the wages of the team members so already that’s anywhere between 60%-70% of the cost before we even take into account rent, power or water.

In all my years’ experience I am yet to find a restaurant that is purposely out there on a clandestine mission to rip people off.

I guess what I’m saying is always offer feedback, They need it, we need it and want it. But be mindful of how you do it, where you do it and who too. It's a very fine line between constructive feedback and just plain mean.

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