Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Skills mix in recipe for business success

Image of Minjerribah Holiday Camp from http://www.stradbroke.com/. You’ll get lots of references to the camp on a Google search.

TAKE the discipline of university degrees in marine science and computing technology, mix them with the culinary skills of a chef, add a generous dash of entrepreneurial nous and you have the recipe for an impressive business enterprise.
But still a lot more ingredients are going into the achievements of Redlands couple Laetitia and Stephen St Baker, who head a team of about 70 working in their businesses, Minjerribah Holiday Camp and Catering With Flair.
The success story spreads over beautiful Moreton Bay, from the holiday camp they established in former miner’s quarters on North Stradbroke 16 years ago, to the mainland ‘high society’ at premier social occasions that they cater for.

NEXT week will be particularly busy for Laetitia, catering for two of the highlights of the Christmas social calendar at Redlands Cultural Centre.
She says mayor Don Seccombe will host about 200 members of the business community on Wednesday and about 300 guests the next day at a party for the shire’s volunteers.
The St Bakers must look forward to a Christmas break themselves after a big year in which Catering With Flair featured at major functions including the shire’s chamber of commerce, retail, tourism and fashion awards.
The caterers themselves have had lots of award success, including in 2007 the firm’s second Australian Bridal Industry Award for best independent caterer and Laetitia’s award for meat and poultry in the Olivado Australian Chef Quest.

WHILE the catering business has impressed the Redlands movers and shakers, Minjerribah has continued its service to school communities from afar.
Laetitia says the camp, benefiting from the wide environmental diversity of North Stradbroke, hosts between 300 and 350 camps a year for primary school groups.
"The island has it all – surf and calm water, freshwater lakes, bush and heath, whale watching, kayaking and lots of activities," she says.
"It is so close to so many diverse habitats."
Marine science camps were a ‘must’. Laetitia qualified as a marine biologist before she became a chef. Stephen was a computer programmer before he became an entrepreneur.
Laetitia says geography camps have been a big success, partly because of the rehabilitation after sand mining.

THE couple has some exact criteria for operating one of the State’s most popular camps.
"The main things in a good school camp are: Plenty of good fresh food; everything most be clean and tidy; plenty of hot water; and exciting fun activities," she says.
Sharing just one aspect of the youngsters’ joy in discovery gives her probably the biggest kick.
The faces of the country kids who have never seen the ocean make all the work worthwhile, she says.
THANKS for joining me to meet the people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

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