UCONDNETRROL

merely sus­te­nance or work, it’s a rel

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - On Sunday -

James Calom­baris is proud of his dad and wanted to take a friend to Gazi, one of his fa­ther’s Mel­bourne restau­rants, for lunch. “Have you booked?” asked Ge­orge Calom­baris, of Masterchef fame, when James re­vealed his plans over break­fast. He hadn’t.

“I said ‘James, if you don’t make a book­ing, you are not get­ting a ta­ble.’”

Calom­baris’ part­ner Natalie raised her eye­brows. James is five years old and still at pre-school. Nev­er­the­less, fol­low­ing his fa­ther’s in­struc­tions, he picked up the phone and booked. “That for me is a lit­tle les­son,” says Calom­baris. “I want him to un­der­stand the value of life like I was taught. It’s about work­ing hard. Noth­ing comes on a plat­ter for him. There is no golden spoon.”

Calom­baris, 38, is noth­ing if not a hard worker, but he is pro­pelled by some­thing more than that – a re­lent­less, rest­less en­ergy that makes him fuss over ev­ery de­tail, from the menus in his restau­rants to the tidi­ness of the serv­ing ar­eas and even the di­rec­tion of the toi­let pa­per. He doesn’t walk so much as bounce. “Peo­ple say, ‘Why do you bounce so much?’” he says. “I need to. It’s my en­ergy.”

For some­one who doesn’t read books and lim­its his staff to five emails a day – “Just pick up the phone and ring!” – Calom­baris has be­come one of the most suc­cess­ful restau­ra­teurs in the country, ex­pand­ing his em­pire as other celebrity chefs’ col­lapse. The Mel­bur­nian over­sees 12 ea­ter­ies, from the high-end Press Club to sou­vlaki chain Jimmy Grants, which re­cently ex­panded to the Gold Coast. His am­bi­tion is to em­u­late Merivale boss

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