Episode 3- Josh Rivers

by | Mar 20, 2024

Josh Rivers recommends:

Restaurants:

Gaucho’s- 91 Gouger St, Adelaide SA

Pequod’s Pizza- 2207 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, United States

Stax Burger Co.- 98 Prospect Rd, Prospect SA 

Momofuku- 171 1st Ave, New York, United States

Doughnut World- 1/474 Payneham Rd, Glynde SA

Brown’s Barossa Donuts- 46 Murray St, Tanunda SA

Butter and Toast- 100 Melbourne St, North Adelaide SA

Cakeboy Donuts- 5 Third St, Bowden SA 

Cookbooks:

 

about Josh Rivers:

He may not be a chef, but you’ll often find Josh Rivers in the kitchen. He is heavily involved in every aspect of his FOUR South Australian venues. Cream, Remy’s, Diamond Burger and Landough’s

In this episode we discuss the mentality it takes to build a brand, the current state of the hospitality industry, and dedication to a food-loving community. Oh, and how the customer isn’t ALWAYS right.

Listen on Spotify

video transcription of Episode 3: ABB: Always Brand Building with Josh Rivers

 

Hannah: Hello everyone and welcome back to Eat With The Podcast. This is the podcast where I take chefs and food personalities out to eat at their favourite places to talk food, to talk life, to talk nonsense. If you live in Australia and you love a good coffee, or if you’re into what would have been described as dude food a few years ago, you’ll likely already know my next guest.

Josh Rivers is the owner of Cult Cafe Cream down at Brighton, Diamond Burger in Glenunga, which is award winning, Australia’s very first Chicago deep-dish pizza restaurant, Remy’s, and now the brand spanking new Landough’s Donut Shop down at Brighton as well. Safe to say, he is a busy guy, but he always has been.

Being a workaholic seems to have been built into him, and the results show. His venues regularly have a line up round the block, they’re always in the media, and often, there are celebrity appearances too. As you’ll quickly realise, Josh does not shy away from sharing his opinions, regardless of the backlash that that might have.

And he’s always open for a very frank chat. Again, a warning that there is some adult language in this one, and we do touch lightly on the topics of mental health and sexuality. We got together at the absolute institution that is Gaucho’s, down on Gooja Street, so let’s get stuck into it.

Hannah: Okay, Josh Rivers. Welcome to Eat With. 

Josh: Thank you. 

Hannah: Thank you. First point of Eat With is, uh, you take me to one of your favourite Adelaide restaurants. Yeah. So, where are we and, uh, why are we here? 

Josh: We’re at Gaucho’s. Um, and the reason I chose Gaucho’s, I want to show you, choose a restaurant that’s like, survived the times. Um, you know, because we’re in, I would say, the toughest time ever for modern hospitality in Australia. You know, the time we’re in now, like the last six months, it makes, uh, COVID look like a dream.

Hannah: Yeah, well, I’ve, uh, certainly seen that you’ve had a lot to say on that, so.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, totally, yeah, happy to do that as well. But, you know, Gaucho’s has, um, survived the times. I don’t know, how, how, how old is it? I reckon maybe 30 years? 

Hannah: Yeah, 1988, I believe, I saw. 

Josh: Yeah, exactly, so what’s that again? 1988, 2008, 2008, that’s 35 years or whatever it is. That’s a long time to be doing, um, you know, here we are. I mean, it’s changed over the times, and they haven’t really, like, you know, changed what they do. It’s still the same old stuff. Um, but you know, it’s survived off of having a good reputation and here we are. So that’s really why I wanted to choose one of the restaurants that is like still going 30 years on, um, and you know, surviving off of their like core, um, you know, ideas.

Hannah:  Yeah. And I mean, in the market that we have, particularly in Adelaide, I’m not sure Australia wide, but we like new and fresh things all the time. We like new and exciting. And, um, There aren’t too many restaurants around here that can say that they do the same thing that they did 30 years ago and they do it so well. Yes. And people love it.

Josh: Yeah, they do. Yeah. Yeah.

Hannah:  So I don’t normally go through chronologically with people what their history in hospo is. But for yourself. Yeah. Because there are quite so many venues. I think we might need to start from the start. 

Josh: Yeah, we can do that for sure. 

Hannah:  Um, so our paths crossed. Yeah, around the bartending days, uh, I was in bar work and, uh, Sunday nights were our big night out to go drinking and I feel like I just need to apologize for whatever it was that we did and whatever it was that you saw in that time. 

Josh: I can’t remember. 

Hannah: Yeah, good, okay, well that’s two of us. Yeah, so, um, bar work, where were ya?

Josh: Uh, well I think you’ve got to start at the beginning because I was like, um, which is even earlier. I started working when I was 13. So I started working at Event Cinemas, what was Greater Union back in the day.

And I was there for like 8 years or 9 years, um, so a long time. And even when I was a kid, I was like, I’m going to own my own cinema. You know, I had that drive to like, I was like, I’m going to go, I’m going to own my own cinema. Um, and that’s, you know, that’s a pretty big thing. Um, cookie. You know, so what happened, eventually I got into Gold Class when it was built. You know, it wasn’t there when I first started, but I was there for the whole transition of grading into event and including Gold Class and that whole era. Um, so I kind of got into Gold Class, started making drinks, and then I was like, um, I progressed with management as well.

Uh, and I became an Events Manager at the cinema, and I, like, helped put on, you know, sometimes they do things for certain movies, so I helped put on things like that, and then I got into the bar, and I liked that, and then I kind of just wanted to, I was just, you know, being a young, older teen, young adult, and moved into bar work.

Um, I was, like, really obsessed with, like, con men at the time. Because I did, like, a study in year 12 on, like, con men. Anyway, I had never made a drink before. But I was like, I wanted to be a bartender and back in those days, not so much now, but back in those days where there was a lot of people who wanted to be bartenders, you had to be a dishy first or a barback first and kind of make your way up or glassy and I didn’t want to do that.

So I just like completely lied on my resume and said I was like a bartender. I essentially landed this gig at The Duke and, um, had no clue, I had never made a drink before in my life. And I’m like a big observer and I like to learn, so I pretty much just kind of stood back and watched what everyone else was doing around me and picked up bartending like that.

But I remember asking, “What’s a CC in dry?” I didn’t even know what dry was. That’s actually a common misstep for a lot of amateurs. No one knows what dry is. 

Hannah: Yeah, well, it’s not, um, it’s not international either. Like, you say dry overseas and they don’t know what you’re talking about. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah. So, you know, I kind of got And then when it was like “Do you know, do you know how to, like, make drinks?” I was like, “yeah.” Anyway, you know, I made a few friends. 

Hannah: I know what a vodka sunrise is. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah. I didn’t know how to pour a beer. You know, nothing at all. You know, I was like watching people and kind of just, yeah, learnt by observing. Um, and then, you know, people found out that I had lied. And, um, people didn’t really, some people didn’t care, but the, um, glassies who were, you know, kind of in line for that bartender job were pissed.

Yeah. Um, that is what it is. Kind of, yeah. We went from there to, you know, bouncing around, um, bars, being fired for drinking. Yeah. Twice. 

Hannah: Ah. Yeah. See the bar I was at was promoting us drinking behind the bar for some, a period of time.

Josh: I got fired from Zhivvys for drinking. Okay. I was like loved by the family there. Um, because I was like, I’ve always been this incredibly, I have a big work ethic, and I’ll just work until I can’t work anymore, so they really appreciated me. But I got so wasted on my birthday, which I chose to work as well. And they were like, just go home, just go home. And um, and I got a bit aggro at the bar manager, and I made a big scene and got kicked out, like, in front of security.

You know, Zhivago’s line was like, back in the day, there’s probably about 200 people watching this employee get kicked out. Yeah, yeah. So they asked me to come in the next morning and said, you can resign. I said thanks. Awesome. No problem. I appreciate that. So that’s pretty good. So, yeah, I was like a bit of a delinquent for sure in my like early adulthood, late teens as well, so.

Hannah: Yeah, I think we all were. I mean, it was just the era of time. 

Josh: Yeah, big time, you know. And I came from a broken family too, so I have that traumatic younger childhood as well, so it kind of spilled out in my adulthood. And I lived that like full rockstar lifestyle, you know. 

Hannah: Well, that explainsthe, uh, the hospitality. I think a lot of us are those kind of human beings. I think it’s a breed of people. Um, especially if you want to do it for life, so.

Josh: Yes. Yeah. But I smartened up, you know, when I was, uh, I realised that you know, when I was in bars and I was like, I’m gonna own a bar, you know. It turned in from, it went from, um, owning a cinema and owning to a nightclub or a bar, um, and then I was like, hang on, you know, I’m working like 5pm until 9am, and I know that’s not good for me, and I started, you know, caring about my health a bit more, um, and, you know, stopped doing all the stupid things that I was doing, and then got into, uh, I got poached, um, by a restaurant that’s no longer around anymore, Pure, um, to run, um, Uh, it was kind of the first time an Adelaide restaurant had tried the amalgamation of, um, cafe, restaurant, and kind of bar in the evening were like the first ones to try and do it.

Um, and I got kind of poached to run the evening. So set up the, I set up the entire bar. I oversaw the fit-out as well to make sure the bar was cool. Um, and write all the, you know, the alcohol list and everything. And create pretty much from the ground up like that, their bar. Um, and that was cool. About six months in.

Hannah: Yeah, what year was that? Because we were, my partner and I were, um, frequents at Pure. We kind of live in that. And, um, yeah, I couldn’t pinpoint when

Josh: 20, like, 2012 to 20 uh, 14 was probably around. 

Hannah: And the coffee there was like specialty coffee as well, which wasn’t really a thing in the scene at the time.

Josh: Yeah, like Bar 9 was probably, I would attribute them to be the first. And then Pure was maybe a year or two after Bar 9 opening. Um, neither are around anymore. But, um, yeah, they were both the, you know, kind of the pioneers of like specialty coffee in Adelaide. So, yeah, kind of got poached there. Ran the nighttime section. And then, um, you know, I was still like kind of in that rockstar era of being a bit of an idiot with, and you know, didn’t really have my shit together, so I was living like week to week of money, even though I was on a salary and I was making way more money than the rest of my friends, you know, I just would blow it on, you know, booze and silly stuff still.

Um, so I couldn’t even afford a car, so I had a scooter. So I was like known as this like, you know, idiot kind of, you know, just renegade. 

Hannah: The guy. 

Josh: Riding my scooter around and stuff. I got hit by a car, essentially, in Brighton, in like peak hour traffic. 

Hannah: Jesus, okay. 

Josh: A lady like T boned me, um, and I like tore all the ligaments in my knee, and I had a concussion, and whatever, whatever. I essentially got put on light duties. Um, and the only thing I could do was make coffee. And, um, Uh, so, you know, Pure of having the bar scene and it kind of just worked well that I could like, slip in and But, at the time, uh, you know, I was a really proud bartender and I was like, I don’t want to fucking make coffee. Baristas are losers. Because, you know, baristas kind of think of themselves as the rock stars of the industry. But nobody else felt that way at the time.

Hannah: It was very hipster at the time.

Josh: It was very much like, you know, a bartender’s like, no, no, we’re the cool guys. And you guys are the wannabes. So I was like, I don’t want to be a fucking barista. I don’t want to be a barista. Anyway, I kind of had to because I had nothing else to do. I was like sitting on a stool making coffee and learning and all this stuff. And I just got, I became obsessed with it. It was like something I could learn again. And like, I could kind of I had kind of maxed out, um, being a bartender in Adelaide.

You know, I was kind of, you know, a mentor at that stage. I had, um, you know, done a few little competitions at Adelaide. It wasn’t a bartender, it is now. If I was a bartender now, I’d kind of just fall into the mid-section. But back then I was kind of, you know, like a top-tier bartender in Adelaide. 

Hannah: You were doing, correct me if I’m wrong, like flair stuff.

Josh: Yeah, I was obsessed with flair. Yeah. I was like throwing things around and practicing at home. There was only maybe like five of us in Adelaide even doing that sort of stuff.

Hannah:  Yeah, well, yeah. Zhivago, there was two of you. I can remember. 

Josh: So it was easy to stand out. Um, and then, yeah, I kind of just fell into coffee, and it was like a whole new, um, thing to learn. And I’m obsessed with learning. I was like, here we go again. I’m kind of like, you know, I can get stuck in, so. Yeah. That’s kind of how it happened, 

Hannah: And then, you started taking out latte art competitions all across the country.

Josh: Yeah, I did. I, like, pretty rapidly. Um, um, I don’t know how it, how it kind of came about.

Here we go, I think we’re getting some service, yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

Hannah: Are we doing entrees? Are we doing? 

Josh: I’m happy to just go straight into steaks.

Hannah: Yep, okay. Well, I feel like I might need you to guide me. Um, what are you going to go for?

Josh:  I’m going to have the T bone. You’re going to have the T bone. Yeah. I’ll have the T bone.

Hannah: Uh, okay.

Josh: How hungry are you?

Hannah: Well, I’m hungry always. Yeah. So, there is that. Yeah. Um, I might go The, probably, I don’t need 500 grams of steak. I have learned that lesson the hard way before.

Josh: The New York strip loin is really nice. 

Hannah: Yeah? 

Josh: Yeah, I love a New York strip.

Hannah: Okay, sounds good. New York strip loin for me.

Josh: How would you like it cooked? I’ll have medium rare please. 

Hannah: Yeah, same for me. Thank you.

Waiter: Any of the different sides to go with the steaks? 

Josh: Mmm. We’ll get the broccoli, definitely. Um, and we get the, the, the chips, the potatoes. And the, uh, salad with the, um, candied, um, cashews. Cashews, yes. That sounds good. 

Hannah: Yeah. Sounds great. 

Waiter: Are you having anything to drink? 

Josh: No, I’m sticking on, um, sparkling water.

Hannah: Yeah, I think I’m going to as well. Thank you

Josh: And, uh, can I get the blue cheese sauce, please? Blue cheese sauce. Thank you. 

Hannah: Oh, I want that one too. 

Josh: Two of those. Yes, please. Thank you, sir. I love a quick order.

Hannah: I love a recommendation as well.

Josh: I’m a big feed me guy. You know, if I go to a menu, a restaurant with a group of people, I’m like, can we not all fucking order something? Just go feed me, let’s go, come on.

Hannah: Don’t mess me around. And especially when you’re going somewhere they do offer that, the chef’s thought it through, they’ve come up with something, you know, they’ve spent time and energy in creating something and it’s usually better value.

Josh: It is usually. You do occasionally get burnt on the feed me. I’ve been burnt a couple of times.

Hannah: I have, we have as well. There’s been a couple of occasions where I’ve been like, “oh, I see, I see what game you’re playing here.” But for the most part. Uh, yeah. Okay. Latte art competition.

Josh: Yeah. So. Um, you know, I was full time working, I was obviously, like I said, on light duty, so I got to just pretty much pour coffee for like 50 hours a week, and, you know, oh, uh, 38 hours a week. 

Hannah: Um Sure, sure. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, 38 You know, I’m the type of person, I work 50 because I love working. Yeah. I love work, yeah. Um, and I think that’s pretty rare. I don’t think I’ve really met anyone, um, as obsessive as I’ve been like that before. So I would just stick around and kind of work for free, just because I like working. Yeah, and, uh,

Hannah: Well yeah. It’s paid off in the end.

Josh: Yeah, exactly. And I kind of like I’ll skip forward and then come back. But, like when I tell kids nowadays, I’m like, Hey, this is how I got where I am. Because I didn’t like, check my payslip. Which is dumb, I probably should have. I probably have lost lots of money. But I’ll never complain about staying back late. I wanted to, I wanted to stay back late. Um, and I always like, you know, I’m not telling you guys to do that, you know, because, you know, not everyone wants to do what I do now.

But that’s how I got here. Yeah. Because I worked really fucking hard. Um, and I just, I kind of just loved it and became obsessed with it. But that’s kind of how latte art picked up so quickly. I, like, self, I self-recognised that, like, I picked up way quicker than most people. And within, like, six months I was competing.

You know, most people would pour for, like, three years and be like, “Okay, I’m ready to, you know, I’m scared” but I was like competing, and I was like, just really sure of myself. I’ve always had that, like, self-confidence, like, I’m just gonna fucking go for it. Um, so yeah, I think I’ve won about, like, twenty, twenty five thousand dollars worth of prizes, all up. You know, cash, and including flights, that sort of stuff, over the years.

Hannah: Yeah, it’s not like, um, I guess you don’t, as a general punter, you don’t really think about the money side of it, you just think about like…

Josh: I was, that was my main thing, I was like, you know, I ended up being like, I’m not going to go to something if there’s not a cash prize, because I was so busy anyway, I was like, yeah.

Hannah: Well, and if you’re loving work, and you’re loving making money at work, then there’s a cap on that too, like there’s only so many hours of work you’re allowed to work. 

Josh: Or if it had like a flight, like a next stage, I’d always do those ones as well, get flying to Sydney and that sort of stuff. Um, yeah, I ended up with like my face on the side of a bottle of milk that was, you know, um, that went through all 

Hannah: Was that, um, Almond Breeze?

Josh: Yeah, Almond Breeze. Yeah. And that was like through all of, um, Australasia. So, yeah, I’ll get people in, like, the Philippines messaging me, like, “Hey, you’re here in the Philippines.” That’s pretty exciting. Yeah, and they ran my face for like, three years. Yeah, so it was ages.

Hannah: And that was like, kind of the start of people using alternative milks as well. Like, before, um, there was Bonsoy and that sort of thing. 

Josh: Bonsoy dominated the market. Yeah, which is, you know, interesting as well. Now it no longer does. Yeah, so it’s one of the bottom.

Hannah: Yeah. Well. I feel like if I have a soy milk latte, I’m, it’s like a whole meal.

Josh: You, well, you’re gonna be getting a curdled mess most of the time anyway, so.

Hannah: Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

Josh: Oat milk is the oat milk is the goat now.

Hannah: Well, well, I’m, I am gluten-free, so I’m 

Josh: Right. Yeah. 

Hannah: I’m still an almond milk gal. Yeah. That’s where I’m at. But uh, yeah, I would be on the oat milk if I could. So you’re at Pure. You are dominating that scene. The next steps are opening your own.

How do you go from, well, I mean, you’ve already said that you’re self-assured and that you were basically killing it there anyway. Um, what steps did you feel you needed to take to do Cream? And like, how did that even come about?

Josh: Like from the get go from Pure, I said, “Hey, you got me for like a couple of years, so can I go do my own thing”

Hannah: Right, okay. 

Josh: So I knew that that was going to happen. I had no money at all. And I come from a family of no money as well. I come from, you know, my parents were like 18, 19 when they had me… and we’ve like rented our whole life. Like no, you know, there’s no, there’s no money in the family at all. So there’s no, I’d never had that like, Yeah. “Hi mummy, daddy, can I have 100,000 to open a restaurant?” I say that, that’s a bit rude, but you know, everyone’s circumstances are different, and that’s great. I would love to give my son, hopefully, my son, if he was to open a restaurant, I’d be able to give him that sort of money. But it just didn’t happen for me. So, um, but I was still adamant. I was like, “Hey man, you got like two years of me, and then I’m gone.” And essentially I had started, like, my last name’s not Rivers. It is now, legally, but it wasn’t always. It was, um, Hockey, but I knew that that didn’t sound, um, marketable enough. Uh, so I changed it to Joshua Rivers because I was like I want to build my own brand here and eventually sell myself, um, so I can open up a restaurant.

So when I started winning all the awards, you know, Joshua Rivers had a pretty good reputation for bartending and then with coffee I was like I have to win these awards and I have to, you know, be focused on my Instagram and focus on my name and my brand. 

Hannah: So it’s always been brand building for you.

Josh: Yeah, pretty much. 

Hannah: That’s interesting. Yeah. 

Josh: Yep. Yep. Um, so yeah, Josh Rivers kind of came a bit of a brand, and then when I was ready to do my own thing, which was, which was Cream, um, I had a, a PowerPoint, you know, and from meeting people at Cream, uh, sorry, at Pure, I had, you know, rubbed shoulders in Glenelg and it was like a premier, uh, uh, cafe location.

In an affluent suburb. I rubbed shoulders with a lot of, uh, wealthy people and eventually, I was just like, “Hey. Um, I’ve got this presentation. Would you be interested in listening to it?” Blah, blah, blah. So I pitched about five people, six people. Okay. Um, and then yeah, went with the one that was right for me.

Hannah: Yeah, and was Brighton always the choice for you? Like, did you want to do Brighton or was that just circumstantial?

Josh: That’s, I wanted to do Brighton, uh, you know, I was looking everywhere, but the dream was Brighton because I knew how much, um, what’s the word I’m looking for? Mental blanking. Um, you know? 

Hannah: the potential?

Josh: Potential. Yeah, and you know how much potential Brighton had because it was How do I be kind about this? Yeah. It was a heap of shit.

Hannah: Yeah, oh I was gonna, that was one of the points that I was gonna make. 

Josh: That was me being kind. 

Hannah: Yeah. We lived in the area, there was nothing There wasn’t nothing else there, there were a couple of places.

Josh: Yes there was,

Hannah: yeah. But they were not 

Josh: Outside of the bakery, I love the bakery, but outside of the bakery there wasn’t a single cafe that like, I know people who lived, I know people who lived on Jetty Road Brighton, lovely people, good friends of mine, a bit older than me, and they would travel to Glenelg. Everyone would. Everyone would dodge Brighton. I mean, in the first couple of years of having cream, people were like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know there was Jetty Road in Brighton.’ It was that, you know, the restaurants down there. We’re just, you know, they weren’t doing it. They weren’t doing it. 

Hannah:No, they were not.

Josh: And no one had started that new age kind of, um, I think there’s like different stages of cafe. We look at Bar 9, we look at, um, Pure, and then, like, Cream kind of took another step again. But, you know, there wasn’t even anyone doing the standard of Pure or Bar 9 down there.

Hannah: Yeah, no, I was, it was another thing that I was wanting to talk to you about was that I can’t emphasise enough to people who weren’t around at the time, how different Cream was and how there just wasn’t anything else like that on the scene.

And it was exciting, it was full of young people, there was great music, the atmosphere was fantastic. And that area was, to be frank, grab a granny. 

Josh: Yes, it was very, 

Hannah: It was your Doris and your Bettys having their afternoon coffee. Great, but there was nothing like what you created there.

Josh: I knew geographically that being in Brighton was great because it would cut Glenelg off from a massive portion of people who live in Flagstaff Hill, Hallet Cove. Hallet Cove is the biggest suburb we have in South Australia. It’s massive.

Hannah: I didn’t know that. 

Josh: It’s huge. Uh, so I knew that there was like a lot of people who were travelling down the hill and going to Glenelg where they probably could just, you know, go to Brighton. So I knew that I would be able to sap a lot of, um, uh, client, clientele out of Glenelg by cutting them off being just a little bit further south.

Um, so that was, yeah, always gonna be good. And I just knew it had a lot of potential. I could see like, you know, even though the street was, um, dwindling, it was, you know, it’s very beautiful. Yeah. And, uh. It’s the perfect spot. It is. It’s just, yeah. I’m fanboy. I’m always like, it’s the best. 

Hannah: Well, you, uh, that is another thing. You kind of have become that guy in the community. Like, you’ve done a lot of, uh. Like speaking for that community and dealing with the council and, you know, speaking for other businesses who now are there, who weren’t there before. Um, was that always kind of your intention or do you think that’s just who you are as a person?

Josh: It was never my intention, definitely who I am. Yeah. Yeah. It was like, I knew that there was like, I knew that no one, no one really wanted to step up. I think as business owners, we’re all really, really tired. You know, we’re so burnt out in our own restaurants. I guess, like, I have ADHD, like, you know, 1990s ADHD, not like today it’s like, “I’ve lost my keys have ADHD.” It’s like, I have actual ADHD. And, uh, so I’m like, go, go, go, go, go. 

So I was like, hey, we need to start this committee. You know, I really pushed for that to happen and that kind of opened up and, you know, I was just kind of like, I’m happy to be the spokesperson here, I’m happy to do that.

Um, and I’m not shy on the camera, it’s all good, so, you know, the camera’s often shoved in my face. I was on radio, ABC often called me up for my opinion. Um, so I kind of just fell into it and I was happy to, happy to do it, so.

Hannah: Yeah, I, uh. Without trying to blow smoke up your ass. Yeah. What you created at Cream. So Yeah. Yeah. I became a regular at Cream in the mornings, kind of accidentally. Yeah. I was working a corporate job at the time, and to be very honest, yeah. Uh, it was hard to get outta the bed. Bed in the mornings. I, um, was not having a very good time. Yeah. And, uh, my partner organized that every day we were gonna get up, go for a walk on the beach to try and keep me calm at the start of the day.

And then my treat was a coffee at Cream. And you built something there that. Through, I have had some… I have cried in your cafe, I have had, yeah, like you, you built a staff and a team who were super kind and super friendly and you walked in the front door and they knew you and you felt really comfortable there and I don’t think that happened at many other places either.

How did you find the staff?

Josh: The staff kind of all followed me from Pure or other venues. Yeah, because I had always been a manager and I’d always like, you know, my emphasis was to look after my crew. Yeah. And I think like, probably coming from a broken family as well, like brought that out in me. It was like, this is my family here.

Yeah. I’ve got to care for them. Um, like, you know, no tomorrow, you know, I’ll break my back before they have to break theirs. Yeah. Type of thing. So that’s kind of how I like that.

Hannah: Brilliant crew. Um, is that where you met your wife? Or? Did you know her and then you got her into Cream? I was never sure like how that timeline

Josh: We met on Tinder 

Hannah: Beautiful.

Josh: Yeah, it’s a lame story. But yeah, 

Hannah: And then she came to work for you?

Josh: Yeah, she came to, uh, you know, it was, um, when did we meet? It was just before COVID, maybe a year or two before COVID. We met on Tinder. Um, the only like romantic part of it was like, we were both out of a long relationship.

We were both on Tinder for the first time ever. It was our first match. We had a date, we deleted Tinder. So it was like, yeah. This is not good. I’m trying to just go on. Yeah, it’s like, okay, we have a little bit of depth to that story. Yeah, yeah. But, yeah, um. 

Hannah: We met at Zhivago’s.

Josh: Well, no. Um, yeah, essentially, uh, COVID hit.

Um, she was at the cinema at the time. So, actually, we didn’t even work at the cinema ever. We just, like, it was one of the things that we were able to connect on. I think we missed each other about five years. Yeah. Um, uh, so, yeah, the cinema was like, “Hey, we’re getting smashed by COVID, we have to let people go, type of thing.”

Not let people go, but we don’t have any shifts for you. Yeah. And it was kind of like, do you just want to work at Cream? So she started working at Cream. Yeah. Um, and then she managed Cream. And then we were kind of like, oh, this is a bit shitty. Like, we’re, we don’t, we don’t have the ability to ask, “how is your day?”

Because we were together all the time. So we pulled back out of that, um, and then she got a job at Bacardi. Yeah. And she was the brand develop, um, brand rep for Bacardi. And then we got pregnant, had a baby. And then, um, uh, she became the, she works, she runs the company with me now. She does all the books, yeah.

She’s essentially the bookkeeper, um, and payroll lady, and yeah.

Hannah: Fantastic. Yeah, she is, um, actually a ray of light. 

Josh:Yeah, she is, yeah. 

Hannah: Walking through. Yeah, she’s a real, absolute star. Yeah, she is. So, um, uh, yeah, it was really great to have her and the two of you there for a little while. I can understand, uh, especially the industries that I’ve worked in, can be suffocating, yeah. When you’re with, together all the time. Yeah. You need a, you at least need to have a little bit of mystery about what goes on in their life.

Josh: We’re total, we’re absolutely fucking sooks, both of us. We’re like, we’re like together 24/7. Um, but you know, it’s good to miss each other. And it can be suffocating, hospitality, you know, intense.

You know, it’s like, yeah, we’re always together 24/7 at the same place. Like we’re always together now, but at least we’re just not always together at like in a restaurant.

Hannah: Yeah. Like with the heat turned up and a high stress environment. Yeah. And when it’s yours, it’s not like you are working somewhere and you can go home and switch off.

Like you’re always on.

Josh: Exactly. And it’s that spilling into the home life too. So, yeah.

Hannah: So yeah, let’s backtrack somewhat then. Um, COVID, you know, you were very outspoken in COVID about, you know, small businesses and supporting small businesses. Yep. Uh, I’ve got the Cream Lakers t-shirt from COVID because I was like, if these guys go down, I want a piece of this place.

Yeah. So I was wearing it this morning. I’ve still got mine. Beautifully made, by the way. You did an incredible job. 

Josh: Yeah. Fabrics on there.

Hannah: So yeah, COVID, you were gonna do Grumpy’s Fried Chicken.

Josh: I think that was before COVID. 

Hannah: Oh, was it? Okay. 

Josh: Yeah, I ran Grumpy’s from, it was just like a project and I wanted to see how, how it went.

Um, and yeah, Brighton, pumping during the day, dinner, anything beyond, in tires, just dead. Um, like there’s not the infrastructure, there’s no street lights. Yeah. Um, so even though it’s like an affluent suburb and very family friendly, It was a bit, uh, dodgy feeling at night time. We were the only ones open, so everything, all the lights were off, and it was just our lights on.

Yeah. So you kind of just didn’t, it wasn’t, it worked, but it wasn’t pumping. Yeah. It wasn’t like, I’m going to pour my time into this, it’s not worth it. So, here we go, sides coming out. 

Hannah: We have some, for those listening, we have some beautiful food arriving. Calamari. It’s exceptional. Chips who can go wrong. Yep.

Salad sounds awesome. Yeah, so you ordered that salad. What’s in that one?

Josh: Um, I think we’ve got like some sort of balsamic on there, you’ve got a bit of greens, and parmesan, and they do like candied cashews to it. It sounds like it’s such an odd combination, but it’s unreal. 

Hannah: Yep, perfect. That sounds excellent.

Josh: It is really good. 

Hannah: Chips. Chips, they’re chippy. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Once potatoes. Yeah.

Hannah: Oh, we’ve got some more on the way. 

Josh: Beautiful. That’s for me, thank you. Thanks so much. Beautiful. And two blue cheese sauce. One here, one there. Yes, thank you. Thank you.

Hannah: That t bone is looking epic. Yes. Beautiful broccoli salad has just arrived as well with all the delicious crunchy bits on board.

And there, Thanks mate. Thank you, is my sirloin. Yeah. You’re welcome.

Josh: I always have to get a photo. Yeah, well. I’m a photo guy, you know? 

Hannah: Yeah, so am I. I’m a photo gal. I’ve worked in, uh, worked in media. And, honestly, I get, all the time, is people asking me where I should be going to eat. Mostly because it’s all I really talk about.

Josh: Yeah. Thanks. Noice. 

Hannah: Um, yeah, so, you were developing a fried chicken project. Which is exciting.

Josh: Yeah. Yep, yep. I wanted to do just fried chicken because that’s what happens in the States a lot. And I always just want to do something a bit different. You know, not the same old, same old. Every single restaurant I have is always different.

Yeah. Um. And no one in Adelaide was doing like, we were a fried chicken joint, you know, other than KFC. Um, but yeah, the plan was to be as big as KFC. We were like talking about getting a drive thru and everything. 

Hannah: Oh wow, okay. 

Josh: The whole lot. Um, but this kind of never eventuated, then COVID derailed it, you know.

So Yeah, it kind of never happened, but it was always, you know, a bit of an idea 

Hannah: Right back, so. What is the um, the States thing about for you? 

Josh: What’s the what, sorry? 

Hannah: The States, like you, all of your venues have got a very Americanized focus. Obviously Cream is a cafe, but the food focus at the start really had that American style.

Yes. You could get chicken and waffles. You had the, the donut burger. Yes. Um. And, you know, basketball, hip hop music, like, there’s a whole culture there, but what

Josh: It’s just who I am, like, every restaurant is just a piece of who I am, like, Um, it is, like, a lyric in one of Macklemore’s songs, like, Um, “that’s what happens when Wu Tang raised you.” And I was like, that’s like fully me as a child. I remember, like, when I was maybe, um, 12. Or 11, had a PS1, and a family friend gave me Wu Tang Enter the Chamber, which is a PlayStation game. And he was like, don’t tell your parents. And it just had their whole soundtrack on it. So I was like thrown into hip hop at such a young age.

Most people went from like Eminem to 50 Cent and then like found Wu Tang later on. I was the other way around. It’s like Wu Tang and I was like you know, and then just going through a broken, having a broken family, I guess, as well. Um, it was just like, yeah, I just kind of fell in love with basketball and like, um, Americanism and um, It was like, you know, the 90s, right?

America was like, oh, it’s not like what it is now. It was like the good times, so, yeah. 

Hannah: Michael Jordan and, you know, all that jazz. 

Josh: Yeah, exactly, exactly, yeah. And I was totally obsessed with it, so. And it kind of just influenced, um, you know, my food taste and everything. You know, my wife’s African American too, so. It was like, um, it was like destiny.,

Hannah: Yeah, yeah all fell into place perfectly. 

Josh: Yeah, did big time, which is nice. 

Hannah: Okay, so we’ve got Cream. Yeah. We’ve been there, you opened that at 24?

Josh: Yes, 24 years old, yeah. So my thing was always, if I don’t have a restaurant by 25, then I’ll go back to uni. Um, I probably wouldn’t have.

Because I went to uni for like, one. I went to uni for one term and just the type of person I was. I was like, this is junk. I hate this. This is a fucking scam. Why are you charging me for parking? I’m like part of the lowest earning demographic in the world being a student. And you want to charge me for parking?

You want to print textbooks out on recycled paper and charge me through the nose for it. And you’re going to pay a lecturer like six figures. Who, uh, has a monotone voice, doesn’t want to fucking be here. And teach me in the oldest way known to man to teach someone. I spit something out, you write notes.

And I was like, this is dumb, I hate it. Um, and I was pretty verbal about it and I upset some people. And that’s just who I am. Yeah, no, love it.

Hannah: I mean, I feel, I think so many people felt the same way. But whether or not they, um, acted upon that is a very different thing.

Josh: I pretty much came straight out of there and started tattooing. The parts that would, like, keep me in hospitality. Yeah. I was like, I’m staying hospitality to me. I’m gonna start tattooing my neck and my ears and stuff. And I was like, that’s it, I’m done. No one even asked me if I’m going back. Yeah.

Hannah: I absolutely love that. That is so fantastic.. So, yeah. You’ve been at Cream for I’m doing the math now. 2015 its open, yeah five years before you went to open something else. Well, before you went to open Remy’s, which was the next step. 

Josh: Mm hmm. 

Hannah: Now I’m going to poke the bear a bit here and, like, we can literally switch the mics off if you. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, please. 

Hannah: Um, that article 

Josh: Which one? 

Hannah: The In Daily one. So, I’m going to recall this the way that I interpreted it at the time.

Now, I tried to, um, find that article that I’m referencing again, and obviously, um, In Daily is not what it was, so I couldn’t find it. But, it was about you opening Remy’s, but it was also about you opening, there were two parts to this article that were quite interesting, uh, it was about opening The Cloak Room, which was going to be a queer bar downstairs.

Josh: Yeah, it fucked me.

Hannah: So, The article. The article. In my mind, outs you as bisexual. I felt like, 

Josh: no, I don’t think so. 

Hannah: I felt like reading it. Yeah. At the time, yeah. It was a bit sensationalized and I wondered if you felt that way about the article. 

Josh: No, not even, not really. I’m pretty sensational guy. You know, I came out really publicly in like, I, I can’t even remember when, in 2017, I think.

Hannah: Yeah. Okay. 

Josh: Two years into opening Cream, but on my public, on my personal platform, which is very public anyway. Yeah. But I wrote a big thing, just like, oh I always do, I end up writing shit. Um, but yeah, I came out that way. I was pretty, um, vocal about it always, you know? It was like always in my bio, like, you know, proudly rainbow, whatever, emoji.

Yeah. Um, but no, that article fucked me for a different reason.

Hannah: Yeah, because you talked about opening a Cajun, uh, Low boil restaurant, right?

Josh: Uh, yeah, that, no, that wasn’t invoked me was, um, I said, I said something I shouldn’t have said. I said, like, “the nightclub’s going to be like a house party every night.”

And then the insurers picked up that article and said, we’re not insuring this place. It’s going to get out of control. And I couldn’t get insurance. And that’s kind of what killed, um, downstairs, yeah.

Hannah: I was always, I always wondered, I’m just assumed, because we had been to the bar underneath Lindes Lane, you know, it was a secret little spot, absolutely tiny, but a fantastic and cool location.

And totally fit in with what you were saying about like, it being the cloakroom, people going in and out of the closet, like, absolutely loved that. And then when it never opened I just assumed that it was that you couldn’t get the permits.

Josh: Just couldn’t get insurance so, um, it was a really weird time in Australia.

Um, I wanted to have a dance floor. Dancing was like off the cards because of COVID. My insurer, who’s been doing insurance for 30, almost 40 years, said, no problems, leave it with me. I said, I want, you know, it’s going to be a small bar with a dance floor for about 30 people. And, um, after about a month he came back and said, can’t find any insurers, um, let me keep going.

And then he came back and said, I’ve now asked every single insurer in Australia, we have no one, I’m going to start, and it wasn’t, that’s not too rare. So he said, I’m going to now start, um, Um, going through Europe. Came back about a week later, all of London said no. All of England said no. I’m going to start doing, um, America.

North America. Um, and then he came back and he said 

Hannah: You would have thought that the Americans are wild enough to just be like, yeah, sure.

Josh: We were like, what is going on? That’s super fucking weird. And then, um, we got an offer out of Texas. And it was like 88,000 for the year. Which was exuberant already.

It should be around like 20. Uh huh. Um, and then the next day they rescinded the offer. Instead of, you know, “didn’t realise you were in Australia. Sorry, can’t deal with you.” Yeah. Yeah. And they were like, what, what the fuck’s going on? Um, and then yeah, pretty much we got like absolutely no offers at all.

That’s kind of when, um, Sugar, if you remember, they were quite public about it. They got an offer from an insurer for 305,000 for their year. 

Hannah: Yes, I do remember that. 

Josh: For one year. Um, which would, you know, and people who don’t, if people aren’t too savvy how a restaurant works or 305,000 would just sink it.

That’s just, it would close the doors. You’re going to be losing money, um, on insurance. It’s fucking bananas. So, yeah, I kind of just lost my mojo. I was like, I don’t, I don’t want, I don’t want a place, I want dancing. And I don’t want, a place that doesn’t have dancing. So I’m not doing anything. So I spent like 60 grand down there and kind of just left it all down there. Which, uh. Pretty sucky.

Hannah: Yeah. It’s awful. But then, uh, you know, you flooded the other day and I watched you cart litres and litres of water upstairs, so that would have been potentially a little worse if you’d had a bar down there. 

Josh: Yeah, probably. 

Hannah: Yeah. Just trying to put a silver lining on that situation.

Josh: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That was pretty awful. Yeah. That was a couple long days.

Hannah: Yeah. So, we haven’t really gone over it. After it stopped being a Cajun boil because, uh, you couldn’t have gas, is that right? Hmm.

Josh: Not yes and no. Hmm. There’s a gas line down that lane. And then we found out, um, it was decommissioned in the 80s.

Because they were worried that it would explode. And kill everyone in Rundle Mall. And now that we know a little bit more about how gas works, it was never going to happen. So they kind of decommissioned it, um, on, um, I don’t know, false ideas, I guess. Yeah. But the nearest, um, gas station. This line was like down in Rundle Place food court, but it was going to cost like 400,000 to bring gas up to our shop.

We’re like, it’s not going to fucking happen. So electric is all we had. They didn’t really make the boil that hard because we could have just used induction cookers and got it done. But essentially I put a poll out and I said, “Hey, I was, I thinking…” It’s, I think Adelaide is so weird. It’s like, We’re a coastal city that has next to no good seafood options.

Like, what is going on? But I think a lot of Adelaideans also aren’t super keen. On seafood? So I said, “Hey, before I do like this massive, you know, seafood restaurant, maybe I should ask people what they want.” And then I had, I knew, I always knew about deep dish pizza, but I said, “do you guys prefer deep dish or do you guys prefer a seafood boil?”

And the deep dish won by like a landslide. So it was kind of like set in motion. 

Hannah: It’s throw it to the people. 

Josh: Yeah, well, you know, I like doing things, but I’m also a businessman. I’m like, you You know, I’m not here to just, like, not make money. I’m here to, like, make money and, and, you know, feed my child. 

Hannah: Yeah, who eats a lot.

Josh: Yeah, he eats a lot. He’s a big boy. He’s a big boy. He’s a monster. So, um, yeah, Deep Dish was created.

Hannah: Yeah, and had you ever made Deep Dish pizza before? 

Josh: Never. 

Hannah: How’d you go about learning that shit?

Josh: So, um, a lot of YouTube, a lot of learning tutorials. Um, There’s a, um, you know, big chains of deep dish pizza in Chicago.

This is during, um, COVID. And I just reached out to Pequod’s and I reached out to Sam, um, Yeah, I can’t remember the one. Who, who, Sam… anyway. We reached out to a few of the big guys, and Pequod’s just got back to me. And I said, “Hey, look, I’m opening up the first one, the first deep dish restaurant in Australia. Can I just, like, pick your brain?” And they were back on Facebook and said, “Yeah, what did you want to know?” 

Hannah: How good! 

Josh: Yeah, so I just asked them a whole bunch of questions. And they just got back to me. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. Here’s the brand of our pans. Here’s all this and that. And, you know, obviously, I’m not going to be in competition.

So, it’s all well and good. Um, so, yeah, I learnt heaps that way. 

Hannah: Did you struggle to source the things that you needed for it?

Josh: Yeah, for sure. 

Hannah: In South Australia? 

Josh: Yeah, big, big time. Yeah, initially, big time. So all the pans, like, imported from Chicago. The, um, the tongs imported from Chicago. And then, like, you can’t use a bagged mozzarella because it has anti caking agent on it, which stops the stretch.

So we had to find a supplier who had, um, cheese or mozzarella that had no anti caking agent on it, which was a bit of a task in itself. And then the sauce was probably the hardest thing. We were flying sauce that was going from Italy to Perth to us for the first maybe 18 months and then my big restaurant supplier found an alternative that was being developed here in Australia.

So yeah so much better and so much easier because we were getting we were getting, like, a, um, a, uh, palette of this sauce from Italy at a time, and, like, we, you know, it was getting stored at one of our houses, and then, like, when we needed some more, we’d bring it in, it was such a big, big task, so it was so nice, and we found, like, an alternative.

Hannah: That is dedication to a deep dish pizza. 

Josh: Yeah, I was like, I’m not, I’m the type of person, like, if I’m going to do something historical, I’m going to do it properly. I fucking hate people not doing it. I’m such a potty mouth. Sorry. 

Hannah: That’s hospitality, right? 

Josh: So you’re going to be, yeah, you’re like, if you, you know, hospitality, you know that we all swear our head off, but I really hate Philly cheesesteaks because I’ve been to Philadelphia and I’ve had a cheesesteak and Adelaide is notorious for putting out horrendous cheesesteaks.

And I don’t mind if you, you can just call it something else, but don’t call it a Philly cheesesteak. It literally, a Philly cheesesteak in Adelaide would probably cost about 80 bucks. Because of the cut of steak that they use, which is cheap over there and very expensive for us over here. Yeah. We can’t even, we don’t have, no one makes the bread here. You can import it and it’s like a ridiculous price. We don’t have Cheez Whiz, which is the foam cheese that they make. Um,

Hannah: Um, so. Look, I’m not going to lie, the foam cheese thing. 

Josh: It’s really good. 

Hannah: That’s where you’ll lose me. 

Josh: Nah, it’s good, you’ve got to have it. You’ve got to go, you’ve got to go to Philadelphia and, and try one. And you’ll be, you’ll be, you’ll be, you know, turned into a Cheez Whiz fan.

Hannah: Right okay. Right. Yeah, so, uh, maybe we’ll see that on the horizon for you. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, yeah, maybe. Maybe not.

Hannah: Not for 80 a sandwich. We’re getting a bit up there with sandwiches at the moment, but, uh, I don’t think we’ll… that will fly.

Which, um, I suppose kind of brings me to what you’ve been talking about lately, in that the hospitality industry is really becoming an unbelievably costly exercise, um, and what do you see the future of that looking like for us? 

Josh: Not good. We’re about to see in the next two years. It’s going to be the worst you’ll ever see in the hospitality industry. There’s going to be closures left, right and centre. I mean, what, in, how, with like 20 days? No, what’s the date today? 10 days into the year? How many have closed already? It’s going to get so, so, so much worse.

Hannah: And, um, that, you think, is the award rate that’s needing to be paid, that’s, I suppose

Josh: It’s everything. Six months ago, we had the award went up, super went up, gas went up, electricity went up, all the major food groups, cheese, eggs, meat and bread all went up. But like, a customer, a cup of coffee right now should be about 8, 8.50 for a small. It’s stuck at 5.50. And customers, um, you know, the other issue is like customers, you know, because they’re not ready for that, but they don’t have enough money to pay that either.

Like, every everyone, it’s like everyone has no money right now and it’s kind of like, um, you know, the pay rate right now is 33 during the week, or 30 during the week and 36 in the weekend, whatever it is, is too much for the cafes, but it’s not enough for them to survive either. So what’s got to give?

And, you know, we have these economists being like, oh, it’s all good, like the inflation is helping and the RBA is going to stop putting, you know, you guys have been so wrong the last two years. You’ve been wrong and wrong and wrong and wrong again. And time and time again, economists are like, “Nah, it’s going to be okay.”

You don’t really know, you’re just predicting based off of curves. And I, I get to see it in real time. Because like, being on the cafe floor, I’m seeing people go, I’m going to have one coffee, not two. I’m going to share a meal with my friend instead of buying one for myself. You know, I’m not going to have a meal at all, I’m going to have a cake instead.

So we’re seeing like a downturn in expenditure big time. And it’s only going to get worse. Uh, you know, now we’ve got Coles and Woolworths in court for price gouging. Um, and it doesn’t need to happen. So we’ve got all these like major influences. That are like crushing, um, the fuck out of the percentage line for the restaurants.

You know, we have this age old, um, uh, way to price things in restaurants. It’s 30 percent in kept cost of goods, 30 percent in wages, 30 percent in running costs, uh, like your electricity, and then 10 percent profit margin. Yeah. And that’s down to about 2/3%. Yeah. And the guys who aren’t savvy, the guys who like, uh, uh, uh, like not in their restaurant working and reducing labour, they’re going under.

And it’s happening already. Um, so, you know, really interesting time and I think that we’re about to, you know, become, come over like one of the most hardest times. Yeah. Yeah, hostility in the, in forever. Yeah. The last 200 years, yeah.

Hannah: Okay. 200 years?

Josh: Well, I’m just saying, you know, modern history.

Hannah: Yeah, great depression kind of, kind of situation. And do you think, this is me, tying back to the next venue, which is Diamond Burger, do you think that the answer for the average person is going to be that quicker, cheaper style of dining? 

Josh: Yeah, I saw this coming, so I said, um, you know, it wasn’t really like, we didn’t really need to do another restaurant, but I said to my wife, like, we have to be prepared for, you know, if another pandemic happens, you know, um, Remy’s was completely knackered.

Yeah. And Cream, like, we adopted, we, we, um, pivoted straight away. Like, a lot of cafes were like, “hey, we’re just going to do avocado smash and takeaway container.” I was like, fuck that. It’s not going to work. It looks like shit in the thing. People come into it, you know, you can make an avocado smash at home, but you’re coming in because we plated it up pretty and there’s an atmosphere.

That doesn’t translate in a takeaway container. That’s why we launched the bagel project, which went ballistic. You know, we changed our entire business model overnight. And I said to my wife, like, we need to have something ready. If, um, you know, something else like that happens again, like, we can still operate.

So Diamond Burger was kind of like born out of that and it was like counter service and we need to be able to rely on juniors. So I need to have like 14, 15 year olds with a lower pay rate in there, um, to make this viable. Like, you know, so I don’t have to work in it and be there every day to reduce and pull the labour out.

Yeah. Um, so yeah, I think like that’s definitely the, currently the way of the, yeah, smaller, smaller is better rather than like big restaurants. Are gonna struggle.

Hannah: Yeah. How, um, How did you find the location? How are you finding the location? Because it’s almost like it’s kind of on a truck route. It’s in like a giant, you know, giant car park, truck stop area around there. Are you getting a lot of truckies? Is that kind of the…

Josh: Not so much truckies. Um, the reputation for Diamond Burger blew up really, really quickly. So we get a lot of like, you know, I’m not sure if you’re in it, but like, ‘Burger Lovers Adelaide’ is a massive Facebook group. Yeah, so we get a lot of like burger aficionados come in. Yeah, we kind of you know in that top three list. 

Hannah: Well, yeah, you were was it number two? 

Josh: Yeah. Behind Stax. And Stax is a massive brand and Zane’s a good friend of mine as well. So, you know, stoked to be behind those guys. And so quickly, you know, I’m like six months in you know, I like Zane but I’d like to be number one aswell so.

But yeah, it’s been really really good. You know, I made sure the fit out was pretty over the top. It’s huge and I spent a lot of money on that signage because I knew that was kind of how I wanted it to look. Yeah. Um, so, yeah, it’s an odd suburb. It’s an odd area. Burnside of Glenunga is so affluent.

Yeah. So much money. Um, but I don’t know, I don’t think the locals come out that much. Yeah. They’re kind of stay there. 

Hannah: It’s more like specialist. 

Josh: Yep. Um, but it’s a good location. And with a whole bunch of car parking, I knew that was kind of, you know, necessary for a, for a burger shop. You know, you have a whole bunch of car parking. So, yeah, it’s been, it’s been good.

Hannah: Yeah, I must admit, um, I have to confess, I have not been. 

Josh: That’s okay. 

Hannah: Um, the only reason that I haven’t been to both of your other establishments is I’m gluten free and I don’t want to be the arsehole that comes in to where you do what you do with such a specialty and maybe like, nah, change it all. I don’t know. It doesn’t work for me. 

Josh: We have gluten free buns, but Remy’s can’t do a gluten free deep dish because the gluten free dough is not strong enough to hold the weight. Because it weighs about three kilos for a piece.

Hannah: It barely is enough to hold the weight of just a standard pizza. 

Josh: Yeah, yeah, exactly. We have like flat base, gluten free bases provided to us and, um, yeah. They’re as good as you expect.

Hannah: Yep. More than happy to come in. I just, I need the rest of the crew to be buying a deep dish pizza. Yeah. Um, and actually eating it for the experience that they’re having as opposed to, uh, cause me just coming in is not going to be the same.

Josh: Yeah, for sure. The same. I get that. 

Hannah: Patrick Mills at Remy’s.

Josh:  Pretty good. Yeah. Hell yeah. I was um, saying before off camera, you know, I always like shoot my shot on Instagram and just like message people. And I had messaged him and said, “Come in bro.” And he hadn’t like, seen it. And then I was like, you know, fuck it, I’ll put it on Instagram. I was like, if he comes in, I’ll give free beer out all night long. And he had a, he had like a, a, a meet and greet in uh, Footlocker. Which is like, you know, I don’t know, 50 metres down from Remy’s, 100 metres down from Remi’s in Rundle Mall. And it was packed, I went there, it was packed. And um, I kinda went back and I was just like chillin I was like, it’s not gonna happen.

I was about to put on my Instagram, like, if he rocks up, free pizza as well. Anyway, um, I’m like sitting down with my manager, um, at Remy’s at the time. And my door, my back’s like facing the door. And I hear a boombox going off. And like, we’re normal, right? We’re in the city. So there’s a bit of 

Hannah: There’s some colourful characters.

Josh: And I was like, who the fuck? I’m gonna have to get up and be a security guard now. And I turn around, it’s Paddy Mills. And his boy is holding his fucking boombox. And he’s like, hey, he’s like, hey! And I was like, what the fuck? And I was like, hey, he’s like, yeah! Um, he stayed in there for like three hours and he’s like, security guards blocked the door so no customers could come in.

It was like this massive thing out there, um, and I just got to like chill with him for three hours and it turns out that like no one told him about it. 

Paddy saw it on Instagram. Saw me say, like, I’ll give away a free beer all night long if he comes in. And he was like, um, he just thought it was awesome that I would do that just to meet him.

So, yeah, spent like three hours with Paddy Mills. That was pretty cool. 

Hannah: I think that’s one for the record books. 

Josh: Definitely. He said, we’ve got a dinner to go to now. I gave him a deep dish and all drinks and everything. And I was like, bro, you’re not going to be able to eat. But anyway, whatever. 

Hannah: That doesn’t matter to you.

Josh: Yeah. He’s like “What time you close?” I was like, “What time you want to party to, man? I don’t care, I’ll keep it open.” He was like, “Alright, we’ll come back afterwards.” Um, we exchanged numbers with his manager. I knew that they were gonna, they had a massive deep dish, they were going out, I was like, they’re not gonna come back.

They went home. They were like, they were knackered. So, understandable. But yeah, three hours with Paddy was pretty good. Probably cost me like, um, two grand in beer. But, you know what?

Hannah: Sometimes meet n greets costs more than that. If you fly across the country to meet Taylor Swift, I’m pretty sure it costs more than that.

Josh: This is like, three hours with just me and him. Yeah. You know, it’s not like meet n greet for like 10 minutes and bye… it…

Hannah: No, and how much more opportunity are you going to have? Never, never to have that kind of situation again. 

Josh: Totally. I kind of put it on Facebook and he kind of got a bunch of criticism for it. 

Because I like, um, because I gave him free pizza and everything. It was like, oh, you know, he didn’t pay and that sort of stuff. He could have paid, and blah blah blah, he’s got so much money, and I was like, hey man, I was just happy to have this experience, so it’s all good.

Hannah: Yeah, people will find a way to be upset about all sorts of shit.

Absolutely. It is miraculous the things that people can get upset about in this day and age.

Josh: Yeah, I’m not sure if you’ve seen either, like, I’ll clap back. 

Hannah: Oh, I have seen. 

Josh: I’m not the type of like, business owner to be like, ‘Sorry, customer’s always right.’ I’m like, no, no, no, if you’re wrong, you’re gonna know. 

Hannah: Hmm. Customers can absolutely be wrong. 

Josh: And I think that’s kind of like what helped build the atmosphere at Cream, you know, you were talking about earlier. I was like. It was just always very much who I am. I was like, I’m going to be unapologetically me. I’m going to allow my staff to do that as well, so.

Hannah: Yeah, and I think that creates an environment for staff to support them in their choices in that. Whilst, you know, it’s never encouraging being rude to customers or anything like that, it’s just.  

Josh: Yeah, stand up for yourself. 

Hannah: If you want to stand your ground, you’re more than welcome to do that in this environment and, you know, use your best judgement about whether or not you are right, or whether you’re just having a bad day. But, same goes for them.

Josh: No doubt, yeah, absolutely. 

Hannah: You know, sometimes people just need to be fucking told.

Josh: Yeah. No, I think like I came into hospitality, there’s that ‘The customer’s always right’, was dying out. You know, but I was there, I’m like, I’m going to shake this up even more. Don’t get on my bad side, dude. You know? 

Hannah: There’ll be a Facebook post, you’ll know about it. Um, so, Fatherhood. Let’s go. 

Josh: Yeah, I love it. You’re like, it’s um, changed the, you know, chemical balance in my brain, I’m sure. 

Hannah: Yeah, well, I think it might have to. 

Josh: It’s like switched off my drive a little bit to like build an empire. Yep. And now I’m like, I just want to chill and be with my family and spend time with my son.

Because it’s like, you know, that stereotypical age old story of like, hospitality owner, restaurant owner, like, never sees his kid until he’s like fucking 20 and it’s too late.. And I was like, I just don’t want that. So, I’m like, just quite chill with where things are at now. So, yeah. 

Hannah: Yeah, well, you’ve got. You know, your son’s called Lando. Uh, you’ve got Landough’s that is coming soon, right? So, yeah, uh, tell us about that one. 

Josh: So, the shop next door to Cream became available. But I was like, Diamond Burger was only like three months old. And the landlord came to me and said, “do you want it?” I was like, “fuck, not really, dude, but yeah.”

Hannah: I do it, but I don’t. 

Josh: Yeah. I don’t need someone to like, idiot, trying to open up… when I say idiot, a bit rough. But. Sometimes, um, I look at others in hospitality and I’m like, ugh, I don’t feel sorry for you because you haven’t done your numbers and you’ve done something stupid here and you’re gonna lose your money now.

And like, looking at that shop, it’s really, really small and when you have something small, it’s hard to turn over a lot of money. Yeah. And when the rent is quite high, like you’re in Brighton, it’s always gonna be a death trap. So I was, I knew that like, me taking that spot would like, you know, help me control the street a little bit more.

And it would stop someone like, trying to put a small little cafe in there that would get smashed by me and Alimentary and eventually go under in two years and maybe be a pain in my ass because it’s a shared building or whatever. So it was kind of like, it’s better for me to go in there and do something.

Um, you know, take that spot as well. So, yeah, kind of, you know, I was like, I kind of signed the paper and I was like, what should we put in here? I didn’t really have an idea. I was like, yeah. You know, I took some convincing with my wife as well, I was like, I think we should do it, you know. We just had a baby, we just opened another restaurant, and the stress is pretty high already, but.

Hannah: Yeah, but you don’t seem to want to operate with no stress.

Josh:  No. I do now, I’m getting older and I’m like, I gotta change my ways, man. 

Hannah: You’re fucking exhausted. Yeah. So, Lando’s is set to be a, uh, donut shop.

Josh:  Yeah, again, you know, quite, um, different, so, I kind of, I’ve always kind of looked at either Melbourne or America to find our, my next idea, because we’re always about five, ten years behind.

Yeah, we are. And that’s okay, you know, it’s nice that way, I think. But Melbourne’s kind of coming out the back end of their donut, um, trend. And we’re kind of just entering it. You know, we’ve kind of got Doughnut World and Browns and, um, Butter and Toast, I think it’s called, and a couple other things. So we haven’t really like 

Hannah: We’ve got Cake Boy for the vegans.

Josh: That’s a good one too. Yep. Um, so, yeah, I kind of knew And that, like, being next door to Cream, it was small, you know. Um, it just kind of made sense to do something like that. Where it’s like we can just focus on takeaway here and, and smash it out. So, my son’s name’s Lando. L A N D O. And we were like, thinking of a name.

This came up one night, I was like, Lando’s. You know, D O U G H. Uh, so, yeah, it kind of worked well. And like, my, my wife and I are like obsessed with our boy. So, it’s like, that’s, yeah, dedicated a whole shop to him. 

Hannah: Yep. And, uh, is, is he, is he yet at donut eating stage? Like, I don’t know, I don’t understand kids. How old is he? 

Josh: Yeah, he’s, he’s, uh, 

Hannah:: He’s nearly two, right? 

Josh: Yeah, he’s nearly two. He’s twenty months. Um, but he’s like five years old. It’s crazy.

Hannah: Well, yeah. Yeah. He’s giant. And you and your wife are not tall people

Josh: No. My, like I said, my wife is African American. So, I don’t know if there’s some sort of massive throwback there. Her dad’s not even that tall. Like, I’m the tallest. Across both families and I’m six foot in the dot. There’s no one else above six foot. He’s looking like he’s going to be like six six. So, he’s absolutely massive. Got put up, um, both times of daycare they put him up to the group higher because he’s too big and boisterous for the kids his age.

Um, and even with the big kids he’s like, you know, not the smallest kid in there. So. Yeah. But he’ll eat a doughnut for sure. Yeah.

Hannah: You’ve just got to get him in there every now and again as a celebrity appearance and have people flocking.

Josh:  He’s a employee of the year. There’s a photo on there, his photo, he’s in it as well.

Hannah: Oh, bless his cotton socks. 

Josh: And I’ve run the social media from his perspective. Yeah,

Hannah: Yeah, I liked that touch as well. Because you do all of that yourself as well, don’t you? You don’t have external agencies doing your… No.

Josh: No. 

Hannah: Not that there’s anything.. eally hard. I work for plenty of those agencies doing their writing. But you do it all yourself.

Josh: No, it’s really hard. Yeah, it’s extremely time consuming. No one actually understands that unless you’re in social media, like, how much time and effort goes into it. Um, but I just always knew that, like, If you engage someone to do restaurant social media, it’s very cookie cutter. Like, they’ve got more than one client, and it’s all been copy pasted between them.

And you can smell a restaurant Instagram page that’s been run by not them. Because, you know, the company doesn’t actually understand the, the dream of the restaurant, or the atmosphere of the restaurant, so it’s kind of like 

Hannah: And that voice is really hard to capture.

Josh: It is, yeah, and I’ve always been very unique in the way that I write as well, you know, way different than everyone else in how I write, you know, like quite open with things.

Hannah: Yeah, and you’re super honest, you know, there’s been posts 

Josh: Yeah, I’ll say how it is.

Hannah: Well, there’s been posts on the Landough’s page about how, you know, it’s not open yet, and the intention was for it to be open before now, but you’ve been burnt out. And like, I think it’s really important for business owners to be honest in those situations.

We are living in a burnt out society. We are. And, you know, you’re on, you’re on venue number four. Yes. You’ve got, A child to take care of. Yes. You know, trying to keep a loving relationship with your partner. Something has to give sometimes. 

Josh: It does, yeah. 

Hannah: Um, so, that being said, you did say on the socials that you were feeling re-energised. When do you think… this will likely come out afterwards… so when do you think Landough’s will be? 

Josh: Looking like January 18th. So, yeah. 

Hannah: Oh, wow. 

Josh: Not long. Like, real soon. Eight days. Yeah.

Hannah: And you decided you were coming out for dinner with me. 

Josh: Probably wrong. It’s probably wrong. No, the venue is fully done. Oh, wow. Um, I just need a little bit of help with the baking.

Like, with the deep dish, I don’t know how to make doughnut. I’m just learning as I go. Um, but I’m, like I said, I’m an obsessive person. So, like I’m just gonna chuck like 10,000 doughnuts in a bin until I get it right. Yep. You know what I mean? Take a bite out of each and like, I’m not happy, not happy, not happy. Now I’m happy. Okay, let’s go.

Hannah: That kind of comes back to, you know, something that I haven’t really touched on in this. And this has so far been a chef series and it doesn’t intend to continue being a chef series. You’re not a chef. 

Josh: No. 

Hannah: But, I do see you in the kitchen of your venues. 

Josh: Yes.

Hannah: Flippin burgers and making breakfast.

Josh: Yeah, I cook everything. Every single menu is me. Every single special is me. No. Backtrack. Take that back. 60 percent of the specials are me. I really encourage everyone else to, like, input and, um, you know, try to bring out as much creative, creativity as possible. Uh, like, if I get a special from the guys, it’s often a little bit of tweaking.

Just to get it in, in sync with our brand. Um, but yeah, I would say, you know, 50 60 percent of the specials are mine, but all the menus are mine, all the costings are me, all the ideas are me. Um, I love food as well. You know, I definitely could have, it was always like, hey, do I want to go down the route of being a cook?

But I just like people too much, so I was like, I’ll be front of house. Um, but you know, I cook in all of them as well, so.

Hannah: Yeah, and that is literally just learning on the go?

Josh: Totally, yeah. Yes. It’s the same as latte art. It’s like I’m obsessive. So, I know. Um, I have hyper focused ADHD as well so not like a lot of people, you know, there’s different types of ADHD, right?

So it’s like da da da da da. But I’m kind of like, I love this thing right here. I’m going to go a thousand miles an hour and get it right. 

Hannah: It’s gotta be useful for something. 

Josh: It does, yeah, yeah. And I go to schools and talk to kids a lot as well. And I was like, because I hate any kids that are ADHD, like, I fucking hate when people are like, I can’t do it because.

Like, that’s bullshit, dude. Like, yeah, okay, there’s some things that you’re not as good at as other things, but there’s some things that you’re great at as, and this could be a superpower too, right? It’s like, not many people, I’m going to run rings out of 9 out of 10 people in hospo. I’m going to run rings around them, on the floor.

Because I’ve got that extra boost in me that you don’t have. Um, so, you know, that’s my superpower. That’s why I went into hospo. I recognised my strengths and I recognised my weaknesses. 

Hannah: Yeah ,and you can hire out for your weaknesses. 

Josh: Exactly, yeah. Like, there’s a reason why my wife does the books. It’s because I can’t do the books. I can’t do fucking numbers. 

Hannah: Well, neither can I. 

Josh: I hate them, dude. Like, um, like, within five minutes I’m like rocking in my chair.

Hannah: I actually think that, like, I don’t know for sure, but someone said to me that there’s such a thing as, like, number dyslexia. And I think I might have that.

Like, my brain, like, instantly, if I see numbers, it just scrambles them all. Yeah. And like trying to say them out loud. I can’t even read them and say them out loud because my brain scrambles them. I genuinely think that that’s, um, that could be it. 

Josh: It could be it. I don’t have that. So you’re on your own there, but no, I, like, I, I still, I actually love, I love like numbers and the money and everything. It’s the focus that require, I’m a, I get bored really, really easy, you know? And if I’m getting bored, you lose me and I’m done. 

Hannah:So let’s. Let’s do the last part. So it’s a fast five questions. Sure. And they were developed for chefs, so that’s fine. We can Wiggle around with them… this is fucking delicious by the way.

Josh: It’s good, right? Yeah.

Hannah: Yeah, it’s so good. Um, okay. So, time to fire on the fast five

Josh: Let’s go. 

Hannah: Uh, number one. What do you cook when no one’s watching?

Josh: Burgers. Yeah, yeah. I’m obviously on a diet right now, you know, I’m bodybuilding. So, my fats are restricted, so like, we cook like, extra lean beef mince burgers, yeah.

Hannah: I was, that was a question I did not ask you before now, I have no fucking idea how you’re doing what you’re doing. Yeah. With the restaurants that you have, the food that you create at those restaurants, and the diet that you’re on.

Josh:  Yes, yes, yes, so yeah, I lost 30 kilos. Boxing and restricting calories and, um, you know, sometimes I’m like, “Get me the fuck out of the kitchen now. No one fucking…”, I’m like, it’s dead serious. Don’t fucking talk to me about food. Don’t offer me food. I gotta go. Um, and now I’m in a bulking phase. It’s actually a little bit easier. I can, like, consume and that’s okay. But I still gotta be mindful of my fats and that sort of stuff. So, you know, at home, like, right now I go to, uh, my wife’s in her cut phase.

She’s just finished her bulk phase. And she’s gonna be competing at the end of this year in, um, bodybuilding. 

Hannah: She looks great. 

Josh: Yeah, so, um, Yeah, so, um, You know, we’re having, like, extra lean beef mince, fuckin you know, cheeseburgers, real light cheese. 

Hannah: Fun times. 

Josh: Yeah, but, you know, when you’re, like, starving, it’s pretty good. Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, it’s okay. 

Hannah: Uh, number two, what’s your go to cookbook? Is there any cookbooks that you pull off the shelf?

Josh: There is. It’s called, um, it’s a soul food book, actually, out of America that my, uh, mother in law got me. Um, I can’t remember what the name is now, but I’ll have to send it to you. 

Hannah: Yeah, please do.

Josh: I’ll put it in the comments. And it’s totally awesome. It’s got so much good soul food in it. Um, and I’ve also got, uh, my mother in law has actually got a soul food book from like the 70s. And it’s like, it’s like a book of heart disease. Everything is like, add a pound of lard. 

Hannah: but like JOY at the same time

Josh: yeah, yeah. It’s like lard and sugar, and that’s the main two things in the whole book. But yeah, getting some absolute rippers out of there. 

Hannah: Perfect. Um, what is the most overrated ingredient or dish that you’ve seen on menus?

Josh: I’m pretty passionate about this. Yeah. I fucking hate, and it’s banned at every one of my menus, always has been, and I even banned it at Pure when I had the power to, rocket is a, rocket is a fucking weed.

And, and like, I would say 90 percent of chefs using rocket is like, I don’t know what to do, chuck rocket on it. I think it’s really fucking lazy and a massive trap, rocket is, because everyone thinks it’s kind of like it’s a bit fancy but it’s not it’s fucking weed and it has like a bittery shitty taste and an awful fucking texture.

It’s just like leaves in your mouth. There is time for rocket. There’s definitely time for rocket, but I would say 90 percent of rocket is overused and therefore completely banned 

Hannah: Gotcha, okay, not expecting to see that, you know, rocket pear and parmesan situation going on.

Josh: Yeah, but see, that works. Yeah. That’s the time. Yeah, but you know, you get like, you go to a pub and you go to fucking shnitty and some rocket comes out. I’m like, what the fuck is this? 

Hannah: That’s not what I’m here for. 

Josh: Yeah, that’s not it.

Hannah: Uh, what was the first dish you learned how to cook?

Josh: Can’t remember. I was cooking from a young age. Yeah, I was cooking from like eight. Yeah. Actually, there’s a picture of me and my childhood, um, best friend that we’ve made, like, bacon egg muffins, like, like, McDonald’s. 

Hannah: Like Maccas ones? Yeah. 

Josh: Yeah. I’m like holding a plate like this, so. Hey. Probably it. It’s probably it. Yeah. like nine or ten when I was making food. Yeah. Yeah, by myself. 

Hannah: Um, and is there an influential, influential chef in your life? Has there been any before?

Josh: Yeah, Dave Chang is always, yeah, always a massive one for me. 

Hannah: I had a feeling that you might like his, uh, his way of approaching life.

Josh:  Yeah. Yeah. When I, like, uh, you know, I had, I had. I had already developed who I was and I found him, I’m like, you’re like very similar to me man, like, you know, we’re both kind of like, “fuck you, this is who I am, I’m going to do my own thing” and he’s an incredible chef. I’ve been to Momofuku, uh, in New York as well, uh, yeah, so, yeah. 

Hannah: Yeah, he’s on my bucket list. Yep. Um, okay, well, things are getting really rowdy around here, so I think it might be about time to sign off. Um, Josh Rivers, thank you, this was amazing. 

Josh: Thank you, it was good. 

Hannah: So folks, that is what happens when Wu Tang raised you.

Absolutely brilliant chat today with Josh. He understands the high importance of creating a brand, even down to changing his own last name, which if that isn’t dedication to a brand, I don’t know what is. If for some reason you haven’t visited Gaucho’s on Gouger Street, in all the years that it’s been there get yourself down there for a Argentinian steak cooked to absolute perfection.

If you’d like a more casual but fun affair, you can visit Josh at any of his venues. That’s Cream, Remy’s, Diamond Burger and Landough’s.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Please visit Like, review, subscribe, follow along to the podcast.It makes a huge difference. 

If you are listening on Apple Podcasts, please leave a review on the episode. That makes a big difference too. Uh, if you’re listening on Spotify, please go ahead and answer the episode question that I’ve put there that shows the big dogs that, uh, people are engaged and they’re excited about the episode.

For everything that was recommended in this episode, that’s locations, destinations, the destination’s, cookbooks. You can find all of that over on the website. That is eatwithpod.com or you can feel free to DM me on Instagram or any of the social media platforms. We’re also eatwithpod there. Thank you for coming out to eat with me.

I’ve been your host, Hannah Pendlebury. 

My guest today was Josh Rivers of Cream, Lando’s, Remy’s, and Diamond Burger. 

We visited Gaucho’s on Gouger Street in Adelaide. 

The video recording today was done by Luke Jamieson. 

The sound processing and video processing was done by Nick Boundy of Matrix Recording Studio.

And our intro and outro music was done by the talented Lobu Music. 

That’s it. That’s all. Go forth.