I was lucky enough to spend an hour talking to Don Cameron, who over the past thirty years has owned and run five restaurants (four with his wife Mel). Their most recent endeavour is a break from the norm: they bought MUDbar at the Old Launceston Seaport earlier this year, whereas all Don’s other restaurants have been his, from the ground up.
He’s made adjustments to the majority of the menu, bringing his unique touch of Asian flavours to what was before ‘an Italian menu, without Italian chefs’. When I ask what keeps him going, he replies intriguingly that he ‘feeds off hectic-ness’ and that the restaurant industry is in his soul. If you don’t have it in your soul, he tells me, ‘you might as well buy a bookshop’.
Fundamentally, though, it’s all about the plate. When Don’s wife Mel joins us, they both agree that their happiest moments haven’t actually been receiving awards (they’ve had plenty). They honestly both derive their pleasure from seeing customers’ faces light up, when they taste their meals. I’ll tell you one thing, though, with stress levels ‘equivalent to those of air traffic controllers’, I’m happy there are people like Don & Mel in the world.