Richard Frank: a tribute

On Tuesday, 2 January, I lost a very dear friend and mentor.

I met Richard Frank over 30 years ago when we were judges for the American Express Chinatown Food Festival.

Our pleasant task was to dine at various restaurants in Chinatown and award them with points for quality of food, presentation and service.

Richard was a veteran restaurateur himself and also the President of the Restaurant and Catering Association of Australia.

He was a fount of knowledge and expertise on everything to do with the hospitality industry and I often asked him for advice when I was in charge of the Taste section of Leader Newspapers.

Over time we became great friends, sharing not only our love of good food, but also an irreverent sense of humour.

I worked with him briefly, helping to promote his bayside restaurant Windows on the Bay in Mordialloc.

He was easy to talk to, to share news and events in my life, both good and bad, always supportive when I embarked on a new venture and a strong shoulder to cry on when I needed one.

He pointed me in the right direction when I asked him which seafood restaurant was the best in Melbourne and also sent me to his mechanic when my car needed repairs.

When he retired as President of the Restaurant and Catering Association, another friend and I organised a surprise dinner party for him at his favourite Chinese restaurant.

I also commissioned an artist to do this caricature of Richard and he was so touched that there were tears in his eyes.

I shall miss the chats, the meals and the cups of coffee we shared and most of all, his witty and calming presence.

Thank you for all the wise words, the fun times and for teaching me how to drink vodka.

Shalom, my friend. I'll miss you forever.