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Growing up in a sporty family Pembroke old scholar Sam Worrall-Thompson (2003) always wanted to be an AFL player. But life had other plans for the Adelaide-based chef.

24 January 2022

His latest project, Bar Lune, is the eastern suburbs newest—and busiest—wine bar and is a stone’s throw from Pembroke. Introducing some nightlife into his impressive portfolio, it builds on the existing cafes and catering businesses he already runs, including Fine & Fettle, Community and Kitchen Catering by Sam.

While opening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic is enough to make most run in the other direction, Sam thrives on a challenge. ‘Being the guy with the idea, I have the responsibility to see it work. If anything, I find it a little bit inspiring.’

It hasn’t always been expertly designed dishes and carefully crafted menus for the self-taught chef. While his brother Blake (2002) quickly ventured into personal training and eventually life coaching, Sam faced the all too frequent dilemma of not knowing what to do after school. He worked as a bricklayer in Broome before moving to the UK where he learnt the ins and outs of ‘restaurant-ing’. Upon his return to Adelaide he worked as a manager and chef in several bars and pubs, including his first business Jack Ruby.

Sam is most proud of his capacity to overcome challenges with innovation and determination. After starting Kitchen Catering by Sam in his garage with only a set of business cards and a deep fryer, he is now thriving in Adelaide’s wedding scene. He has brought his characteristic determination to his latest projects, working non-stop as Fine & Fettle temporarily switched to takeaway and delivery in 2020. He also managed the gym next door and brought Bar Lune to life in 2021.

For those who frequent his previous and existing businesses, knowing that Bar Lune is a Sam Worrall- Thompson special is enough to guarantee a booking. His knack for delivering exactly what you didn’t know you needed is evident in the mouthwatering menu. As his list of accolades grows he stays as wonderfully grounded and driven as ever.

Sam credits much of his independence to the Pembroke Boarding House where—although loving to bend the rules—he learned the life skills he would need to run his businesses. He still remembers the excitement and anticipation of finishing school, where his fondest memories are of the inseparable friendships he made and the special bond that the boarding community had within Pembroke.

His advice for the Leavers of 2021 reflects all that he has learnt throughout his life: ‘Your work ethic, and your ability to deal with the problem, is the most character-defining thing. Having had to work for every dollar, I’d say just work harder than those around you. Hard work far outweighs talent in the long term.’

He certainly doesn’t undervalue the importance of his time at Pembroke in developing the networks that would assist him in growing his business ventures. Acknowledging the support of those around him in trusting his vision and allowing him to follow his passion, Sam now has the freedom that his creativity needs to bring his ideas to life. Only a few months into Bar Lune’s tenancy in Beulah Park, he is already overflowing with ideas for his next venture. He can’t sit still on the chair in front of me and it’s clear he’s ready to get out and do what he does best—moving from strength to strength and building Adelaide’s dining scene considerably in the process.

With his finger on the eastern suburbs pulse and always looking for the next opportunity, Sam loves spotting the gaps in the Adelaide market and bringing home ideas and opportunities from interstate. ‘I think the creative thing—you like it or you don’t. You just see ideas, and in Adelaide I see them everywhere. There’s just so many things in Sydney and Melbourne that would work here.’

Sam continues to bite off more than the average person could chew; then, not only does he chew easily but he plates it up wonderfully along the way.

Gabbi Agnew
Marketing and Communications Coordinator