I first visited Australia in 1985, just after graduating from the Francisco Josephinum Agricultural College in Austria, when I was 19. My first introduction to a kitchen was in Perth as a kitchen hand and when I moved to Sydney later, I would do the same job at the Old Vienna Inn in Sydney.
Fred, the Austrian owner gave me a chance to start learning how to cook, which I did! I loved cooking and eating, and Fred used to say, “He’ll eat a lot!”
Later, after visiting Darwin and the Northern Territory, I settled in Cairns where I worked as a second chef in numerous hotels including the Novotel, Intercontinental and the Radisson Plaza as well as a number of restaurants including the Watersedge Restaurant, La Mamas and the Schwarzwald Inn. I also worked as a sous chef for a catering company which supplied Qantas and Ansett Airlines with foods including omelets. I remember making about 900 omelets per day including cracking all the eggs. The heat was incredible, 35 Degrees and 90% humidity and to this day, not many people can crack eggs faster than I do!
At the same time, our daughter was born and after a while, we decided to go back to Europe. I started working as a Sous Chef in Germany for the Ratskeller and building the Theatre Cafe up into one of the most popular food and bar venues in Muenster, North Germany.
Almost 7 years later, I was back in Australia and this time I wanted to go back into agriculture. Bernie, who owned the catering company, got involved in building up a teak plantation and a Barramundi and Eel farm in Silkwood, Queensland. We started to experiment with adding value to the product and eventually started selling cured and smoked Barramundi and Eel filets to the Sydney markets.
Cairns proved too hot so I started to be a ‘Chef on the Run’ before moving to St.George in south-west Queensland where I had an offer to cook for the staff on the movie set “The Paperback Hero” with Hugh Jackman and Claudia Karvan. It was an exciting time! I got to know Hugh and his wife Deborah personally. Deb would cook in my kitchen and Hugh would sing for all the staff at night, it was amazing!
I ended up staying for a number of years after the movie was finished, working and building up the Merino Motor Inn where I got into contact with the cotton industry.
Always the entrepreneur, I bought a cotton harvesting business to see if I could make a fortune in farming. Five seasons after being the only cotton picking chef in Australia, I realised that in order to make a small fortune in farming you had to start with a very large fortune indeed, so I decided it was time for the big smoke again and I moved to Sydney.
Back in Sydney, I went right back to being in the kitchen so I started at the Bridgeview Hotel in Willoughby and a number of venues including the Bar Sirocco in Annandale, Sopranos in Mosman and the Lakes Hotel in Gardners Road.
In 2002, I finally decided to change direction in my cooking career, so I did a sales and business course to learn how to be a business owner. As luck will have it, I became acquainted with the Commercial Equipment business and started as a sales consultant and business developer with the Bevwizz group.
After initial struggles, I became best salesman of the year but I then wanted to get into my own business so 3 years later, I partnered with an engineer who owned Protech Commercial Kitchens to learn the trade installing catering equipment, stainless steel and project managing shop-fitouts.
In 2008, I took over the business and Protech Hospitality Fitouts was born. A few years later, we developed into the Protech Hospitality Hub to include Kreativ Design and Protech Commercial Kitchens with the mission to provide a variety of services to the restaurant industry including design and construct, the supply of equipment and full turnkey fitout and building services!
My experience working as a kitchen hand, chef and manager in restaurants and hotels, and the hands-on experience in agriculture and in installing shop fit-outs and the passion for creating the ultimate kitchen with the best layout and workflow, reflect in the way we now do business @Protech!
We have a simple philosophy:
We look for win-win outcomes and we build long-lasting, high- trust relationships with our clients!
Protech Hospitality Hub is a collaboration of Designers, Hospitality fit-out and Equipment specialists with decades of experience. Getting started on a new project can be a daunting task, but with Oliver and the friendly team at protech, your project will be a breeze.