It wasn’t so much a sea change that led Steve Tippett to buy Studio Bistro in Yallingup but an opportunity for his wife to take on an art gallery.
Tippett had been working for American washer and dryer company Maytag Commercial when the chance came up four years ago to buy the successful Studio Gallery and Bistro.
“The restaurant came with the gallery — my wife Sandy is a professional artist, she runs the gallery and I got involved in the restaurant,” he said.
“It is a whole new experience for me but, hey, I love it. It is working with people.”
Studio Bistro has about 300 wines on its list from the region and around Australia, tailored to customer tastes.
“Margaret River makes a fairly soft style shiraz, while some customers will want the bigger, heavier, gutsier loamier Adelaide shiraz and Barossa shiraz, that is a typical example,” Tippett said.
“But they still love the local chardonnay, so we carry that as well.”
Head chef Thales Franca makes seasonal changes to the menu and recently added new dishes such as gnocchi with white asparagus.
The restaurant, a Buy West Eat Best member, won three Gold Plates under its previous owners and chef and Tippett is proud to this year be one of the three finalists in licensed casual dining regional.
“We had them up for a little while but we took them down,” he said. “We needed to work for our own. We needed to prove ourselves.
“We have come back this year and are far happier with the food, the service, the presentation, the ambience. We are ready now, we want to own one ourselves.”