Be Generous - We chat with Julien Moussi from Only Hospitality Group

We’ve interviewed some of our favourites in the hospitality world to find out how they’re celebrating the Christmas season and what gift-giving means to them. Julien Moussi - the founder and owner of the Only Hospitality Group - is the brain behind Juliette Coffee and Bread, Inglewood Coffee Roasters and Bentwood Fitzroy, just to name a few of the amazing restaurants and cafes he has opened up throughout the years.

From starting a coffee cart on the weekends to now owning and operating multiple award-winning cafes across Melbourne, Julien Moussi knows what makes the perfect brew. From opening up Juliette Coffee & Bread most recently, as well as the known Nelson in Box Hill, Glovers Station in Elsternwick, Winter in Malvern and Bentwood in Fitzroy all under the Only Hospitality Group, there is no stopping Moussi. We chatted to him about how he is spending his summer in Melbourne and what makes him grateful for our time this year. 

How have your last 6 months been?

Like most people, we’ve had an interesting last six months but thankfully we've been able to be a bit crafty, pivoted and gotten through (the pandemic) quite well. I originally started working in hospitality through running my coffee cart on the weekends back in 2012, and now we have grown to opening 25 venues and started our coffee roastery - including some during the pandemic. It’s one of the best gifts I've received. 

What is the best gift you’ve received? What do you think is the best gift you’ve given?

Kristy-Lea, my wife, is very sentimental, so she often commissions photos of our family as gifts. For example, as a post-wedding present, she got the photo of the stars on the night of our wedding framed, which is beautiful. She also often does a photo album of a venue that we open from start to finish - she's always very creative. 

In terms of the favourite gift I have given, we recently celebrated our 10th anniversary as a couple (we’ve been married for three). I compiled our favourite photos taken over the years as a placemat for breakfast. So, that morning, I made her breakfast and we looked at all the photos. She was very happy with me for that, because I'm not normally great with that sort of stuff.

What do you think was the most important thing about keeping your spirits up in 2020? How did you connect with friends and family, even when you couldn’t see them?

I've been fortunate as far as my position in hospitality, that I was able to go to work every day. I ended up being back on the machine and making coffee, which was fun! All my friends, locals and my parents would come in and grab their takeaway coffee or a takeaway meal, so I was able to see them as they came in. 

I feel like we're getting back to some sort of normality now, but I think (the pandemic) has brought a different perspective. It has helped reset a lot of people's ideas of what is important. Having many things (like seeing family and friends) being taken away from us over those lockdown months – just being able to see everyone again, that's a great gift. Now, so many people are so grateful to be able to spend the festive season with their family and friends. 

Have you started planning for the silly season yet? 

I'll be catching up with my friends and family, of course, as well as playing a bit of golf. My family are planning to head to Sorrento Beach with the kids - they’re super excited about it. Now we can finally travel around Melbourne, we'll probably do that a lot over December and January. 

If someone could give you any gift in the world, what would it be? 

I wish we could go overseas, so having a gift of being able to travel again will be fantastic. We have got some friends overseas that I try to see every year in the UK, and we’ve been visiting them for the last six or seven years, so I’ll be looking forward to catching up with them when I can. And hypothetically, I would love it if we could all live forever, so we’d be able to spend more time together as family and friends - creating more memories. 

What is something that you will take from this year into 2021?

Being grateful. This year was very stressful before we knew what was happening and what the pandemic plan was - it was pretty frightening at one point, but we got through it. For me, the greatest gift is being around family and friends, spending time with my kids, my wife and my teams - it’s the most important thing right now. 

To check out the wonderful openings from the Only Hospitality Group, check out their Instagram.

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