At The Bar with Plate It Forward Founder Shaun Christie-David

A former Sydney banker turned social enterprise game changer is one way to describe the work that Shaun Christie-David does. Via his social enterprise Plate It Forward, he runs a small collection of restaurants that hire refugees with diverse backgrounds and provide training and jobs for those marginalised by society.  He is all about changing lives one meal at a time.

Shaun was recently featured on the ABC’s Australian Story highlighting the tireless work he does to make life better for the disadvantaged.

Since starting Plate It Forward in 2020, he has hired 150 staff members, paid over $2 million in wages, as well as providing over 75,000 hours of training.

Plate it Forward is able to provide meals to the needy and hospitality training via their fabulous restaurants including Colombo Social, two Kabul Socials and Kyiv Social.

Shaun Christie-David talks The Write Drop for our At The Bar series.

MY CITY 

I love the diversity, culture, and spirit of Sydney. I am proud to be from Western Sydney where multiculturalism transcends to the best food & best people.

FAVOURITE FOOD MEMORY 

The first time I had Kottu Roti in Colombo. It was a total food immersion. The clanging of the roti choppers in rhythm clanging on the hot plate, the sizzle of the onions in harmony with the melodic chopping and the smells of the curry, It was sensory and hypnotising. And then the taste. It is so good, I created an all you can experience at Colombo Social every Tuesday for only $50. Cost of living special.

FAVOURITE BAR  

The Yuzu Margarita at Ante. Honestly it is off the chain. So well balanced but the whole vibe of the balance is relaxed and calm while celebrating high produce and quality. Super knowledgeable team that makes everything approachable. Great spot.

DRINK THAT DESCRIBES YOU

The Ceylon Tea Horilika at Kyiv Social. It has taken the most traditional Ukrainian drink, mixed it with the most famous Sri Lankan export (my cultural background) and put it in an Australian classic- a shot glass. It shows the mix of cultures can result in something super strong and powerful but amazing- the essence of the Plate it Forward movement.

BEST HANGOVER CURE

Rice and curry. A lot of carbs and spice will fix everything. And a double shot macchiato after. If that doesn’t work I guess another beer.

BEST INTERSTATE BAR 

Black Pearl in Fitzroy. Classic. Icon. Great team. Great cocktails. Such an incredible vibe, And I love everything about Fitzroy.

FAVOURITE WINE 

If I could drink any wine again it would be the $4 Sunnyvale cask of wine at my Year 10 athletics carnival. My best friend, who has unfortunately passed away, and I skulled a full water bottle full of it while talking to our school principal. He knew what was going on. One of my fondest memories and I wish I could revisit that day.

FAVOURITE WINERY

I had a super special date once at Pooley Wines in Hobart. It is delicious wine but just so tranquil, picturesque and understated. The drive out there (in an uber there and back!) was so lovely to see the scenery change and then the lawn to just sit and drink was magical.

NEXT DESTINATION 

Sri Lanka. I have had a deep pull to go to Sri Lanka with Mum and set up a kitchen employing mature aged women who are often left behind. It will mean so much to her and be her legacy and I am developing how this might work and shape something magical for so many incredible Sri Lankan women.

WHAT’S NEXT

I have vowed to open no more venues- sooooo the next thing for Plate it Forward will obviously be to open another venue; While it is in the works and going through some much needed cultural conversations it will be in partnership with some incredible First Nations people in the food scene. Watch our socials for this exciting chapter.

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