People Watch: November – December 2012

Australians in the F&B sector in China, dominate this issue’s People Watch.

Adelaide chef Steve Baker has opened his newest Shanghai venture, Larder Bar & Grill in Shanghai’s Taikang Terraces art hub in the French Concession. Larder’s focus is on whole flavours and grilled dishes paired with an understated yet chic décor.
Steve has been based in Shanghai for 11 years, working at the helm of a number of successful Shanghai eateries, beginning with T8 in Xintiandi and then rising to greater prominence with Mesa | Manifesto.
“I do a lot of entertaining at home, and I wanted to recreate that experience at the restaurant,” Steve says. “People are really responding to the concept as well – it’s been great to see how well the restaurant has been received, and we’re already seeing lots of repeat customers and getting great feedback.”
Lex Hauser, former Executive Sous Chef at M on the Bund, and former chef of the PurpleOnion, is Larder’s new chef. Lex’s focus is on simple food and original flavours. Lex is originally from Sydney.
pw_susan_corbisiero_thumbSusan Corbisiero (pictured left) is the new Australian Trade Commission’s Trade Commissioner, Beijing where she will oversea Austrade China’s FBAC (Food, Beverages, Agribusiness, and Consumer) Team, as well as a range of Beijing Post responsibilities.
Susan comes to the role with a broad range of experience having worked between 1996 to 2005 in the Automotive and Household Appliance industry for TI Automotive (formerly Bundy and Walbro) in a variety of roles including program management, production and business development in China, Australia and the US.
In 2006 Susan took on completely different roles working with Aboriginal communities in South Australia, and later the Northern Territory, Victoria and Tasmania.  In 2010 she joined the University of South Australia as Institute Manager of the Barbara Hardy Institute, a multi-disciplinary research institute into sustainability.
pw_nigel_goode_matthew_bahen_mic_mittasch_sh_2012_thumbNigel Goode has recently returned to China from Adelaide as China Operations Manager for Big Dutchman – a privately owned German Agriculture company – and is based in Beijing.
The Big Dutchman is the recognised market leader in modern poultry and pig production equipment with over 70 years experience across five continents and in more than 100 countries. Big Dutchman has had a presence in China for over 15 years and is currently experiencing rapid expansion in line with China’s focus on food security in it’s latest five-year plan.
Nigel’s previous roles in China include General Manager China and CEO of Group Operations China with Michell Pty Ltd. between 2006 to 2009 and Shanghai Richina Leather (SRL) Operations Manager in 2005.
*Pictured above: Nigel Goode with long-time Beijing Bombers players Matthew Bahen and Mic Mittasch.

Matthew Bahen
has been appointed the new Marketing Director for Chinese-Australian wine company HandPicked. In the role, Matt leads a team overseeing the marketing activities of the HandPicked Group which has diverse interests across the industry spectrum and represents a new generation of wine companies in China.
Founded by brothers Kevin and William Dong, HandPicked is a brand in itself sourcing wine from the worlds best regions, including boutique Australian wines from the Barossa Valley, Coonawarra, Margaret River, Eden Valley, Clare Valley and Yarra Valley wine regions and exporting them, primarily to China but also to a growing number of other markets.
The group also imports and represents a growing stable of brands including Australians; Dominique Portet, St. Halletts and Rolf Binder.  The business also owns BaasWood chain wine stores and the newly launched Love My Wines website which aims to compete with market leader Yes My Wine in the Chinese online wine retail sphere.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity,” says Matt. “The group is really only a decade old and has experienced very rapid growth. The concept of the wine brand in itself is quite unique and our scope for growth almost without ceiling.”
Matt’s wine experience in China is extensive spanning eight years, including 3.5 years with ASC as a Brand Manager in Shanghai and most recently, as the Deputy General Manager of The Wine Republic where he was responsible for north China operations and the supervision of the national sales team.
Matthew recently relocated from Beijing to Shenzhen to take up the position. Matt is originally from Bendigo in Victoria and speaks fluent Mandarin.
pw_mellisa_gillies_2012_thumbMellisa Gillies (pictured left) has been appointed McCann Worldgroup/UM Cathay Pacific Central Team’s new Global Managing Partner to the global Cathay Pacific account.
Mellisa takes up the role in Hong Kong, having relocated from Shanghai where she was OMD’s China Managing Partner, Global Accounts and Business Development and worked on Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and Tourism Australia. Prior to her role at OMD, Mellisa served as the Vice President, Sales and Marketing at Metan Development Group, a multi-platform media company developing and distributing branded entertainment content in China across television and digital channels.
Mellisa has worked in a range of roles including Associate Director, Licensing and Brand Services at ACP Magazines and Director of Marketing at Twentieth Century Fox Film Distributors. Mellisa is originally from Melbourne.
Tom Shugg is the Co-Founder and CEO of My Chinese Tutor. – an online language service that provides students of Chinese with convenient and affordable access to bilingual Chinese tutors based in Beijing.
Students can select a tutor of their choice and conduct lessons in a video-conference format using Skype or similar technologies. The idea stemmed from Tom’s own Chinese learning experience, as he sought out ways to continue to improve his spoken Chinese while finishing his studies in Melbourne.
Previously, Tom worked for the Australian Trade Commission in Beijing, consulting in Australia and China across several industry sectors including Clean Energy, Mining and Dairy.
pw_craig_willis_thumbSydney Chef Craig Willis (pictured left) has opened his latest venture in Shanghai – Henkes Trattoria, Henkes Café & Wine Bar and Sushi Raku at Reel Department Store in Jing’an.
Craig’s experience in Australia includes work in a number of high profile Sydney restaurants: Bilson’s, Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House (as Gay Bilson’s head chef) and The Summit with Anders Ousback; as well as bistros: Onde & Buzo.
Craig’s Shanghai experience over the past decade includes chef at M on the Bund and an instrumental role with Wagas, Shanghai’s favourite café. Under the Wagas umbrella, Craig has worked on Magnolia, roomtwentyeight & Bistrow by Wagas, before setting up Mr Willis Restaurant and La Strada in Shanghai’s Anfu Lu.
Craig’s passion is for simple well-cooked food, creating an Australian mix of influences from Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and Asia. 
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