2018 Bitton Wrap Up – 12 highlights in 12 months
January. We always kick off the year very proudly with official Australia Day Ambassador duties. Can you imagine? Me, a Frenchman, married to a South African Indian woman, giving Australian citizenship out on Australia Day?! This year we were lucky enough to be in the beautiful Bellingen area. After 6 years of this having the honour of being an Ambassador, I still feel so proud that this country has embraced me as it has – and the feeling is mutual.
February is the month of love and this year we celebrated it with what has a become a Bitton tradition – Dinner and Opera. This is always one of the most popular events of the year. We invite 2 very talented Sopranos to come and sing for us while you dine on a degustation menu. The atmosphere is amazing – couples (of course), groups of friends and even a few tables of Mums celebrating a night out without their husbands babysitting at home!
Easter fell at the end of March this year and we held an Easter BBQ out the front of Bitton Oatley. We love being in front of our customers in a more casual environment – burgers, champagne by the glass, Easter gifts and of course lots of chocolate for the kids! The Easter bunny even made an appearance!
In April I travelled with my team to the Hunter Valley for a very special corporate dinner. We stayed at the Hunter Valley Wine Cabins and cooked for a group of 15 couples who had all individually bought the experience from different charities. It’s an intimate event telling stories, sharing experiences and feasting on a delicious 5 course menu matched with wines from the region. These events are special as they combine three things I Iove – good food and wine, entertaining and giving back. Perfect!
The French Australian Chamber of Commerce invited me to tell my story to a group of their members in May. As you will know I self-published my Autobiography last year – a very raw and honest account of my life so far. To stand in a room of businessmen and women very similar to myself – all who have come here from France to create a new life is humbling to say the least. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has taken the time to read my story, it means a great deal to me.
We hosted our first wine dinner in a long time in June, showcasing wines from Robert Stein Vineyard in Mudgee. We were surprised at how popular this event was and promise to do more! It was interesting matching food to a particular wine as opposed to a choosing a wine to go with a certain food. Do you have a favourite vineyard you would like us to create a dinner around?
July is all about Bastille Day and celebrating my heritage. I love it and we have always celebrated with a special dinner so you can be part of it too. Seeing our staff dress up in their red berets, creating a traditional French menu and drinking champagne is what it’s all about! Without a doubt my favourite event of the year.
In August we held the 3rd of our seasonal degustation dinners in Oatley. To be honest we were nervous to do these sorts of events in our newest café but it seems Oatley love them! Watch this space for many more in 2019.
The highlight of September was my appearance on Studio Ten. I have been lucky enough to be invited a few times to cook on the Channel Ten morning show this year and it’s always great fun. Did you see it? We will continue to work on the show in 2019 and would love to hear what you would like to see me cook. Any suggestions? It’s no secret that I love a bit of publicity and I am determined to get more TV action next year! After all, who wouldn’t want a good-looking Frenchman in their show?
It’s only taken us 18 years but finally won an award! Actually TWO can you believe it? Late October was very exciting for Sohani, the team and of course for me as we won two consecutive awards – The Best Hospitality Venue Award at the Optus Business Awards and the Best Venue at the St George Business Awards. It’s no secret that I can get a little frustrated with this industry and it’s lack of recognition when it comes to businesses open longer than 2 years so this was a huge honour.
November – PARTY MONTH! Celebrating Bitton turning 18 at the same time that I turned 50 was spectacular! The whole month was about celebrating these huge milestones – from a business perspective we feel so lucky to still be here and going strong and personally, I never thought I would even make it to 50 - but here I am! I know, I know, I look good don’t I?
Finally we are in December and the silly season has officially kicked off. Bitton will be busy with end of year parties and I love seeing the restaurants filled with family and friends dining together and reconnecting. Personally I am looking forward to a decent break with my family, as much as I love what I do, it can be relentless.
I wish you all a very happy and safe Summer holiday and THANK YOU for your support and patronage throughout the year. Watch out 2019, we are coming in with new pop-ups, events, wine dinners, reinvented seasonal menus and so much more! What would YOU like to see more of next year?