HAILING from Béziers, a small town in the south of France, Eric Pages found his way to Leeton thanks in part to his love of food.
One of his earliest memories of his childhood was when he was outside riding his bike and his older brother bumped a glass bottle off a second story window ledge that resulted in a trip to the hospital and several stitches.
Mr Pages found himself drawn to his grandfather, having served in the military and fought in several wars, he set a strong example and was a positive role model to those around him. As with all children, Mr Pages looked toward his future with wonder, initially thinking of growing up to become a train engineer.
Growing up hefound himself cooking for his three siblings and lending a hand to his family wherever he could.
“I was interested in cooking,” Mr Pages said.
“My grandmother on my father’s side was a good cook and I always used to watch her and so I said ‘well why not’?”
He joined a cooking school not far from where he grew up and the passion for food grew from there. Before long Mr Pages found himself working in London where he spent close to 10 years before moving to Australia in 1998.
Starting in Surfers Paradise, he soon received an invitation to visit Griffith to discuss opening up a restaurant. His arrival in the MIA came as a shock as he had lived most of his life within easy reach of the ocean.
He has since set down roots in Leeton where he and his wife Vanessa opened their own restaurant and have lived happily for 14 years, raising their two children.
Mr Pages feels that Leeton has a special feel.
“Every place is unique in its own right,” he said.
While Leeton is in many ways a typical Australian country town, he loves the friendly, down-to-earth feel of the community and the acceptance he has felt from the day he arrived.
Happily working side-by-side with his wife, he strives to serve food with love and skill with every plate. He embodies the skills he’s learned along the way, through time in five star restaurants, culinary schools and the heart-warming feel of a home-cooked meal.
“I put all my love in the food,” Mr Pages said.