Scott Webster is a renowned chef, who has successfully translated his skills within in the hospitality industry into numerous successful enterprises.
He has previously worked at leading international hotels and restaurants in Australia and abroad.
Newcastle-born, Scott returned home a decade ago, opening the award-winning Carrington Place and more recently, the emporium-style food store Throsby Street Providore.
- Tell us about the journey that led you to start your own business.
The journey started almost 40 years ago, and obviously being involved in hospitality started off as a school boy washing dishes in small restaurants in the Newcastle area. That led to an apprenticeship as a chef at the Royal Sydney Golf Cluband I finished that in 1979. I then went abroad until 2006 when I returned and set up my own businesses here, but I have had my own businesses abroad not here in Australia during that time.
- Did you always know you want to be an entrepreneur?
No, I think it is just something that has developed over time and age. As you get older the kitchen which I trained in and spent most of my life working in, and still working in today, is very much a young man’s game. So as you get older you look for other ventures and other things to do and therefore my skills in the kitchen enabled me to branch out and open a number of different outlets and units around the world.
- What has been your proudest moment in business?
I have had many proud moments working in business – but my wife is going to hate me for this – but I have two great daughters and a great wife that have put up with me in the hospitality industry for many years, and now both my daughters are working in the business.
Katelyn, my eldest daughter lives here in Newcastle and runs our Throsby Street providore operation and my youngest daughter Laura works for the Four Seasons Group in Whistler, Canada, and is on her second contract there.
So I guess my proudest moment is to be able to tell people that both my daughters are in the same business and I think hospitality is a great opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of other people, and eating and drinking, and what better way to spend your life.
- What do you attribute your success to?
I think success comes with experience. The more experience you gain, especially in the hospitality industry, can lead to success. I tell a lot of young people that work for me that you have to have knowledge, people pay you for knowledge, and knowledge gives you success. But also I guess friends and family around you and the support that I have had from my family but also my staff. I can’t operate and do what I do alone and so the success of any business is like a cog in a wheel. The staff are the success so you need to be able to build a substantial staff loyalty and success around you and if they are succeeding you’re succeeding. I had the opportunity to work alongside probably a couple of the best chefs in the world who run fantastic restaurants around the world and their secret is their staff.
- What local entrepreneur do you find inspiring?
I have been back in Newcastle now for five or six years with my own businesses. I look back at entrepreneurs who got me started and I started here in Newcastle. So if you want to talk about great restauranteurs in Newcastle, I was inspired by guys like Lloyd Moffatt, Gary Ashford, Michael Kelly who had the Villa Franca, some of the guys that ran some of the great restaurants in Newcastle back in the 70s and 80s because that was when hospitality was hospitality. These days the hospitality business in a lot of areas in Newcastle is about the business which I totally understand but we are in the hospitality business and you very rarely now have a restauranteur out the front, gregarious, talking to the customers, pouring drinks and looking after them. So my inspiration came from those guys in the very early days.