I think we all love to hear stories of success, of adversity that leads to triumph, and especially when they’re tales from our own backyard. Australia, and in particular our own little slice of land WA has some truly amazing local businesses and entrepreneurs. And in our true blue Aussie style, they’re always happy to share their paths, to offer advice and help lift others to find their own way. It’s this, among many other reasons, that I find myself at POPdining Impact’s Entrepreneurial Dinners over and over again.
The creation of Ai-Mei Nguyen, these series of events bring together a panel of different speakers who come from different walks of life, all ready to share their journey of entrepreneurism and spark inspiration in everyone who attends. The most recent was held at Bayside Kitchen and featured speakers:
- Caroline Khoo, Creative Director of Nectar and Stone
- Andrea Goh, Blogger at What’s The Goh and Founder, ShopGoh.com
- Victoria Carbone, Founder of Health Freak Cafes
- Jiawa Liu, Social Influencer at Beige Renegade
The view at Bayside Kitchen is just plain gorgeous. The sounds of the river lapping at the shore present throughout the entire event, with the open windows uninterrupted except for bundles of Floral State blooms and bundles. Styled with simplicity and elegance, these are the kind of events that give you a little tingle in your chest at what’s gong to be an exciting night to unfold.
I was fortunate enough to be seated with the lovely Katherine and Jess from This Little Pig Went to Market (made my night finally getting to meet them!), as well as other local business owners all ready to eat, drink and listen. With a menu prepared by Bayside Kitchen Chefs Katie Wilson and Christophe Perrotte, the food that soon came flying out to our tables sounded like the perfect meal to accompany the event.
Sun-kissed charcuterie boards were passed from hand to hand, laden with piles of prosciutto, bresaola, house terrine, fresh figs, relish and dusty bread.
Other entrees that we shared on our table included a poached salmon salad of black lentils, nectarines and fennel with a preserved lemon dressing, zucchini fritters with goats cheese and a fresh herb salad and sukkah salad, and grilled squid on chilli beetroot puree.
The fritters were definitely the most memorable of them all – light, crisp and morish. The herbs on the side injected bursts of freshness and flavour into each bite, with the creamy goats cheese the ideal companion.
Hearing each of the guest speakers take the stage, a sense of inspiration filled me with all of their stories. Having the opportunity to listen to the founder of Nectar and Stone (chocolates I’ve ordered several times to get sent over from Melbourne) was particularly special for me as I love hearing tales of where people created something for themselves and it becomes a success amongst the public.
It’s amazing how POPdining give locals the ability to connect and learn from trail blazers who are willing to share how they got started, the rough patches and provide advice for others.
We were offered a choice of main from the rack of lamb on soft polenta with roast capornate and the grilled barramundi with minted pea puree, white quinoa salad and pomegranate vinaigrette.
While lamb sounded delicious (and looked incredible when it came out to the table), I am just the biggest sucker for fish. Crispy skin paired with soft, flaky flesh was juicy and wonderful. It was a really fresh dish, popping with flavour and texture – and just the thing to enjoy with a view of the river.
We all shared a side of roast beetroot with pumpkin, pearl barley and kale which was warming, hearty and simple.
Sadly the end of night came before we knew it, with the guests all lining up panel style for audience questions while we were treated to dessert from Jersey Jack gelato. It was really interesting to hear the types of questions that were presented, and the diversity of the guests present.
I think that might actually be my favourite part about the Entrepreneur Dinners… the eclectic mix of people who attend – all with different intents and purposes. For me, I love seeking out inspiration in all kinds, looking for that beautiful spark that emanates from those who truly love what they do. For others, they’re looking for guidance on their journeys, and understanding of what it takes to succeed.
While we might not all end up like Victoria Carbone of Health Freak Cafes where she’s created a small business model that franchisees can buy into with great success, we all have our own passions and projects – and any help we can get in fine-tuning them has to be a good thing.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, make sure you keep an eye out for the next POPdining Impact dinner – for me, they’re an event that surely shouldn’t be missed.