Meat Meeting with Alex Shirazi

Alex Shirazi is a co-founder of the Cultured Meat Symposium – a Silicon Valley-based conference on lab-grown or cultured meat – he’s the Founder of Phlint, a retail analytics firm and he’s also a really nice guy.  

We first met online, in the lead-up to Global Table – where he chaired a panel on the Future of Meat. Coincidentally, one of those panelists is also coming up on an episode ahead… 

After the conversation you’re about to hear at the WeWork office in Melbourne’s CBD, Alex and I continued our discussion into the early hours of the morning – prompted by the n’th round at the The Black Pearl, to wrap up. 

If you like this episode, Alex has his own podcast called Cultured Meat and Future Food, about cellular agriculture technology.

I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did.


For more episodes, follow the program wherever you get your podcasts.

Reignite the Limelight

By James Henderson

Many great venues make the mistake of resting on their laurels.

I won’t name names but we all know some that the limelight has set on — the popular venues that have had their day and died out.

When service gets sloppy and dress codes relax, chipped corners and stained tables lose their reminiscent charm and instead turn into an ugly reminder of an impending fit-out, necessary to reinvigorate the space (visually, at least).

Ill-motivated or poorly-qualified operators become hinges on which this turn takes place. They starve the cash cow and milk it dry.

The public wonders why — what happened to the business.

As good operators, we know though.

We stopped turning up when the coffee supplier changed or the cutlery was laid out incorrectly — long before staff stopped welcoming us or the water became self-serve.

We knew the turn was coming.

But for those who are just inexperienced, they don’t know any better. So when their demographic changes or ‘All Day Breakfast’ blurs into the evening, they don’t know that a 2pm close isn’t enough.

These are the same operators who need help to breathe soul into a space, absent after a clunky restructure or when a hefty new aesthetic is bankrolled for them.

It’s these operators that make the skilled among us, look good. Despite that, it’s healthier for the future of the industry to support them — not with our wallets, but with our time — to educate, motivate and inspire.

Experienced operators are here to demonstrate how businesses can continue to reinvent themselves and still stay true to their North Star — we know how to identify and hone in on what makes a brand popular.

…and it’s not an empty smile, expensive fit-out or the latest oat milk.

Ignore the noise — there’s a lot of it.


Listening to Hospopreneurs is free, but not listening could cost a lot more.

For an occasional update on episodes, extras and listener-only invitations, join our email list below:

Is The Internet Destroying Hospitality?

By Samuel Tripet

It’s damn hard to make a name for yourself or your business without a social media strategy these days — which raises the question,

‘Is the internet making us lazy or does it push us to be better at what we do?’

Both are correct in my opinion. Although the internet can be used as a tool for deceit and evil, I know and respect that it has many uses in our beloved industry and is hands-down one of the most important sources of knowledge and inspiration.

Today, we are lucky enough to be able to closely watch what the best bars and bartenders in the world are achieving at all times. The many talented and passionate hearts of our industry beat in unison and innovation on one side of the world can become an industry standard in no time.

Our dedication to delivering the best to our guests continues to elevate that standard and I love to wonder where we’ll be, ten years from now— knowing how far we’ve come since I started working in bars, ten years ago.

But realistically, how do we determine who’s truly delivering a great experience and who just owns a smartphone and is fluent in fluffy cocktail lingo?

It’s more common than I’d like to admit, that the cool new cocktails being posted online can, in person, be underwhelming — or worse, they don’t exist at all.

If that’s the case, can we be sure that the same thing isn’t happening with bars themselves? Is it possible that we know so much about social media and marketing now that we can fluff up an entire business to appear better than it is?

How long could a business survive with a top-tier marketing strategy but average service, average drinks and no bar hooks before anyone notices?

Does genuine hospitality actually make a bar successful or has it merely become a factor of it?

I have faith that present day bar operators are still working incredibly hard to improve their bars, their service, their drinks and their aesthetics to create better drinking experiences for the masses, but I also wonder how reliant the they are on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to get numbers through the doors — and I wonder how many businesses won’t be able to back it up with what really matters.

I’m sure you’ve had experiences going to reputable venues and quietly wondered, “Is this really in the Top 50 Best Bars list?”. I definitely have — it’s the contrast that makes it obvious.

Now, I’m not saying they aren’t ‘good’. I just think that nothing on that list should be ‘good’ — they should be much better than ‘good’. I don’t think I’m alone when I imagine a memorable drinking experience to be more than just chummy handshakes and some online hustle.

Let’s let our service, our drinks and our ideas speak for themselves and not fall into the cycle of fluffing up who we are and what we do to make friends on the internet.

Leave that to the influencers and let’s just focus on hospitality for a little while.


Listening to Hospopreneurs is free, but not listening could cost a lot more.

For an occasional update on episodes, extras and listener-only invitations, join our email list below: