Fleur Caulton’s philosophy is all about finding the right ingredients to match career and lifestyle and with the opening of Rata she has achieved the ultimate balance.
“Rata is more than just a restaurant business, it is a lifestyle choice. We want our customers to be inspired by what inspires us and have deliberately chosen the catchline ‘Uniquely Southern’ to reflect our absolute love and passion for the south and its environment and what it has to offer.”
Fleur opened her own restaurant in Queenstown at the young age of 21, later establishing a high profile as general manager of Amisfield Wine Company, where she is credited with spearheading the successful international brand.
Her new venture has given her fresh opportunity to pursue a different lifestyle which involves her family, husband Daz and son Max as much as it does her business partner Josh Emett and staff.
“Daz is a brilliant photographer and his images which appear in the restaurant and on the Rata website highlight what we are all about as a family. Max can often be found in the kitchen with an apron on and Josh’s family are just as involved when they are in town.”
Fleur loves foraging in the hills and the forest for herbs and other produce for Rata. “There’s nothing more exhilarating than being out in the native bush hunting for goodies we can use. It’s definitely hands on for us and we try to get into the outdoors as much as possible.”
Fleur and Josh and their families spent hours searching for river bank stones which have been transformed into quirky salt pots for the Rata dining tables while the restaurant’s trolleys were once found in a morgue and now have a “second life” in their restaurant setting.
“We are always on the lookout for something different, always thinking outside the square. “
Fleur is confident about Rata’s appeal to a wide audience.
“Rata is a family affair and its vitality is drawn from the personalities driving it. It is everything we envisaged it would be when we wrote the original script but there is much more to come. We have a huge vision and we are set on fulfilling it.”