In a country passionately dedicated to their prized fish and chips, it took one very brave American to crack the takeaway market with something wonderfully un-Australian.
Richard 'Rick' Palesh has been in Australia for eight years now, and observes with a dry wit the historical love we have for old fashioned fish'n'chips, and in more recent years, the kebab. In his new home of Cleveland, QLD, there are a staggering ten takeaway fish and chip shops alone: it's would be an understatement to say it is the Friday night food of choice.
And yet, in recent years, Rick began to notice a shift in Australian food trends, with the introduction of traditional American 'diner style' and Southern comfort food to our shores. American burger shops, smoked meat houses, and grills started popping up in the urban centres - but something was missing.
"We saw that there was now a market for this style of food - smoked BBQ - and we wanted to jump right in because smoking meats the American way was what we loved to do!"says Rick.
And that something was actual, first-hand knowledge of the American style of cooking.
Rick and Beth Palesh with baby Eli of Twelve Boar, Cleveland.
Armed with a passion for American cuisine, and a lifetime of knowledge behind his native country's food and flavours, Rick set about opening up Twelve Boar American Smoked BBQ in Cleveland.
As a former engineer, this is Rick's first foray into the world of food and hospitality. It came as a rude shock when he first approached the banks for a loan - only to be met with a resounding 'no'. Rather than agree to a loan against the hordes of expensive equipment Rick would be buying, the banks pointed out that "an oven means nothing to us!"
Unable to raise the cash needed for the banks to match the loan, Rick met with his equipment distributor, Food Strategy. For the distributor, the solution was simple: go with Silver Chef. Once Rick made that first phone call to the team at Silver Chef, he didn't look back.
With his wife and business partner Beth, Rick was able to secure all of the equipment and finance he required to get Twelve Boar up and running. As he says, Silver Chef was not like a loan, and more of a business partnership.
"Sure the banks can give you money," says Rick, "but Silver Chef is a business partnership. They bear the weight on my behalf - like, if there was something I didn't use, and had to return in, that is something Silver Chef would deal with. They're not a bank. Silver Chef is constantly enquiring if we need anything, and they really care about the business."
Not only were we able to get Rick up and running, we were able to do quickly as well. "Silver Chef was the quickest. With the banks I had to actually go in, sign papers, and wait for up to 4 weeks for a response. When I was looking for extended credit, all I had to do with Silver Chef was apply online and I had a verdict within 24 hours."
In April 13, 2015, Twelve Boar opened its doors, and has seen a prosperous and exciting year since. Cleveland is a notoriously quiet suburb of Brisbane, with its seaside location and mild weather attracting retirees and young families. Not exactly the right demographic to be trying out exotic new cuisines - however, via strength and persistence (and some damn good food), Rick has won them over and his business continues to grow.
The equipment Rick required and has subsequently hired through Silver Chef is extremely specific to his style of cooking - there are slow cookers, deep fryers, and of course, his prized American smoker ovens - well, two of them, actually.
Since opening, Rick has also upgraded and swapped out several items.
"We were recommended certain equipment, but as we started, we realised we needed something else," says Rick, who has also added on additional items - like an extra fryer - to keep up with growing demand.
Rick assures all prospective hospitality business owners that it is very difficult to know what you will actually need for your business prior to actually starting - putting emphasis on the importance of the Silver Chef flexibility to return and/or upgrade equipment.
"Each restaurant is a specific genre," says Rick, "And in time you realise there is something more you need. We spent a lot of money getting started, and there's no way we would have had the $8,000 for a new fryer when we realised that's what we needed a few months in."Rick and Beth Palesh with baby Eli of Twelve Boar, Cleveland.
Rick and Beth returned their Blue Seal 4 burner gas oven range with static oven and later got a Blue Seal 600mm single pan fryer.
"It was so easy! We literally just gave the oven back, paid a deposit for the new fryer, and got the new equipment. There is always something, as you refine your kitchen over time, you will figure out you either don't need, or is missing."
So, what's in a name? Wanting to break free of the single-word brands like 'Grilled', Rick worked to create a name that would be easy to remember, and evocative of the all-American style food he was creating. 'Twelve Boar' therefore came about from the intensive 12-hour smoking process that is used overnight to create the juicy and tasty smoked pork ribs, and beef brisket he serves.
If your mouth is watering, then make sure you get to Cleveland to sample some of his delicious menu, including pulled pork and slaw burgers, buffalo wings, and beer battered onion rings. Not just reserved for takeaway, Twelve Boar also has an outdoor alfresco area too, where you can enjoy the weather and American fare. And if you're not a local, fear not - Rick has plans in 2016 to open another branch.
Shop 70/90 Middle Street
Cleveland QLD 4163
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