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Shaun Christie-David runs a restaurant empire like no other.  

While he may be Australia’s ‘most unlikely’ restaurateur – he can’t cook, fails taking food orders, swears when excited (which is often) and doesn’t care about making money – he’s found the recipe for success with an open mind and desire to help. 

“I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Trust me. You don’t have to be an angel to do good work”

says Shaun. 

In the second instalment of Australian Story’s restaurateur trilogy, Shaun invites cameras into his four bustling restaurants across Sydney, where he’s given jobs to more than 100 staff once deemed ‘unemployable’. 

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Shaun jokes he’s assembled the most experienced hospitality team in the world, with no actual hospitality experience.  

“We’ve got a pilot, we’ve got aeronautical engineers, we’ve got economists from the central Bank of Ukraine, and we have a doctor”. 

Struggling with the guilt of his privilege as the Australian-born son of Sri Lankan immigrant parents, Shaun was determined to find a way to help empower others.  

Refugees, ex-prisoners, older women who’ve never experienced paid work are also behind his hospitality success. 

When Shaun saw a problem, he looked for solutions. 

And he quickly realised the answer came from his mother’s kitchen. 

“There is no racism when you sit together and eat a meal, there is just a common bond. Four AM and you’re having a kebab, you don’t go, oh, I’m having a kebab, but I hate Lebanese people”

says Shaun. 

When restaurants were forced to shut during Covid Shaun used his staff and kitchens to cook restaurant quality meals for people without food. When Covid was over he decided to continue cooking for the community, establishing the charity ‘Plate it Forward’. 

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“There’s no blueprint that he’s following. He’s writing the script as he goes along,” Shaun’s brother Aaron Christie-David says. 

Presented by Leigh Sales and produced by Vanessa Gorman.

This episode of Australian Story airs Monday, 20 May, 8:00pm on ABC TV and ABC iview

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Know more about this or another Australian media story?

Contact the team anonymously at TV Blackbox

Kyle Laidlaw
Kyle Laidlaw
An avid media enthusiast of more than 10 years, Kyle regularly follows all things TV related, both in Australia and overseas with a particular interest in local free-to-air scheduling and new show commissions.


  1. If there were more people like Shaun, the world would be a better place.

    What a wonderful human being he is. What a wonderful story.


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