Category Archives: Behind the Bar with Eddie

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.

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.

My Team.... Scratch that, My Family.

Posted by Eddie Parker on July 13, 2016

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

One thing I love about my job is the team I work with, they are the source of my influx of grey hairs and deteriorating hair line for sure. But they are also the reason I get out of bed on those days I just want to stay wrapped up in my blankets, they are the ones that make me smile and laugh when I’m not feeling at the top of my game.  And during six months of the year I spend more time with each of them than my friends or family. Actually scratch that, they are my friends and family. I guess that would make me the father. Urgh… Lets change that, how about we make Mike, the father in this family and I can be the ruggedly handsome younger uncle known for his swagger and style.

Right now we got that sorted, some Happy Facts about my team – Most of them have been part of our family for 2-3 years. All of them have a personality which is their own, although we have systems, scripts and structures they use these as a base line to shine through with their own personalities. They are all inspired to get involved in self development. They all (almost all.. it's a work in progress!) have a savings plan of 10%-30% of their weekly wages which go into a savings account that can’t touch for 90 days. That is on top of Kiwisaver contributions!

They all take part in every aspect of our business from menu and beverage list design to stock control, ordering, marketing and event planning. This business is a business of 20 leaders rather than that of 1-3 chiefs and 17 indians. No offense intended towards those that wish to just be Indians but my team is full of people who are striving towards being chiefs in their own right. We are involved in the local gym and our own company boot camps (healthy body and minds), we sit down together once a day and have a healthy meal and talk about our days events with each other. We all have learning journals with goals and a leadership team devoted to helping us all reach them. We are all humans, we make mistakes but we own up to them, we don’t blame, we admit when we are wrong . We are solution orientated rather than whiners and whingers, give us a problem and we will show you a solution. We spend a good deal of time joking & pranking as we do our learning and getting our hands dirty. We are in the business of experiences and memories and I think, well I know I have a team and family of individuals who are dedicated to this and dedicated to improving themselves so they get even better at this.

Ask me why I do this? On those really tough days what picks me up? What makes me go home and get ready to do it all again the next day? And I will answer easily without thought or hesitation and give you 20-40 names depending on the time of year or season. These are the names of my Team Members, the names of my Family. 

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