Cactus Kangaroo Island opened at Kingscote, the island’s biggest township, in early November.
The café is the brainchild of ICHM graduate Yen Aun Leow and business partner Louis Lark.
The pair met four years ago while working in the kitchen at Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island.
Yen worked at the lodge for five years after an initial industry placement of six months, becoming Assistant Lodge Manager.
‘Louis and I share a passion for good food, and stayed in touch after we left.
‘We even made a “foodie trip” to Malaysia together, which brought us lots of ideas for new ventures and to conversations about working together again someday.
‘When this opportunity came up we took it’, says Yen.
Yen came to South Australia and ICHM from partner school in Malaysia, YTL. Under the arrangement, students undertake the first two years of the ICHM program in Malaysia and can choose to come to South Australia to complete third and fourth years.
Chief Executive Gerald Lipmans says it’s not easy to get young people, let alone those from elsewhere, to leave capital cities, but for Yen the decision is really paying off.
‘Six years after finishing ICHM’s degree he is taking the entrepreneurial risk to open a restaurant in the region that gave him his start.
‘He is an impressive example of an international student making it happen in South Australia’, says Gerald Lipman.
Yen was previously restaurant manager at Maxwell Wines in McLaren Vale.
Cactus Kangaroo Island opens for breakfast and lunch five days a week Thursday through to Monday.
Yen and Louis are hoping to get final approval for a liquor license and are in the planning phase to open dinner for dinner as well in coming months.
Caption: L. Yen Aun Leow and Louis Lark