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    Chef splashes $5 million on famous mansion

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    Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett has spent up to $5 million to buy one of South Yarra's most famous Victorian mansions.

    The Vue de Monde restaurateur and wife, actor Madeleine West, have splashed out on the luxurious Cromwell Road property "Barwon", following a well-worn trail of rich and famous who have crossed the Yarra to flasher digs.

    In a bid to keep the deal quiet, the property was bought in Ms West's legal name, Melanie Ann Weston.

    The previous owner bought the double-storey 1881 Victorian for $2.8 million in 2005, undertaking a renovation and modern extension that has given the house four bedrooms, two studies, cellar, pool and self-contained apartment in the pool house.

    Listed in July last year with price expectations of $5 million-plus, the property passed in on a vendor bid of $5 million and has languished on the market ever since.

    Agents Kay & Burton did not respond to a request for comment.

    The couple's current home in Kensington sold over the weekend for a price believed to be $1.6 million to $1.7 million.

    A meal at Bennett's legendary restaurant, which sits on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower, runs from $150 per person for a 4-course ala carte menu to $250 per person for the gastronomes menu.

    Bennett is the latest in a series of celebrity chefs – and Masterchef alumni – to upgrade in the last year.

    George Calombaris moved from a $740,000 two-bedroom Victorian terrace in Fitzroy North to a $2.735 million 1930s-era house on Toorak's Grange Road.

    Returning home after three years in Sydney, Gary Mehigan spent $3 million to buy a four-bedroom mansion in the prestigious Gascoigne Estate in Malvern East.

    French chef Jacques Reymond is also believed to be the buyer of a $2 million modern home on Ormond Road in Elwood that recently changed hands.

    cvedelago@theage.com.au Twitter: @chrisvedelago

    55 comments so far

    • Is this the same Shannon Bennett who continually complains about the burdens of wage costs and penalty rates on a Sunday?

      Ugh.

      Commenter
      Chris
      Location
      malvern
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 4:51PM
      • Yes, that's him!
        The irony struck me like an iron bar.
        I'll bet his sweating staff are literally spitting chips.

        Commenter
        Truth to Tell
        Location
        Highton
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 5:04PM
      • Isn't there a massive asumption taking place in the first four posts?

        Who says he paid for it out of his money from restaurant earnings? He could be in debt up to his eyeballs in which case its mainly the banks and not his...so running an efficient business is kind of important. It could be his wifes money, inheritence or he could have won tatts.

        I'm not entirely sure what the intent of this article was. It seems somehow to be trying to draw a correlation on being a chef, a celebrity and nice digs. Why it does is an even more interesting question.

        My mums a pretty good cook by the way. She's a bit of a celebrity with the 11 grandkids, especially when cup cakes are on the menu. She still lives in the fourth generation family home in Camberwell. Probably worth 1-2mil if sold but someone would just doze it and erect a French McMansion anyway.

        Commenter
        MattG
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 6:03PM
      • You guys don't get it. His business can afford to pay the penalty rates himself because his clientele will pay through the nose for the experience. But he is speaking on behalf of an industry where this is in general a huge problem. I know doctors in their final years of specialty training who aren't earning as much as a waiter when they are both working on a Sunday.

        You are looking at $40 an hour with 150% penalty rates on a Sunday, and I think it would be $48/hour for a casual due to their loading.

        "Yes, he works hard, but so do the people who work in his restaurant and help maintain his reputation"

        Mate, everyone works hard and waiting tables is harder than many jobs, but there is a fundamental difference between pulling coffees for an hourly wage on the one hand, and risking everything you own including your home to start a business and employ others. At the beginning you can't even pay yourself a wage while your employees get theirs. Only business owners can work for less than the minimum wage, believe me I have been there.

        Commenter
        mike
        Location
        melbourne
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 7:09PM
      • No it is not him - you are thinking of George Calombaris.

        Commenter
        Dumped
        Location
        Stewed Cats Are Yummy
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 7:59PM
      • I was trying to work out why all the cloak and dagger stuff with the names of owners etc.
        Why would they ,and many others of similar ilk,hide behind these sorts of false entities?
        You have answered my questions.
        Hypocracy and greed.
        Thank you.

        Commenter
        nkelly
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 9:36PM
    • Gee they do it hard, these celebrity chefs. No wonder George Calombaris is whinging about his staff who dare to ask for their penalty rate entitlements for working on the weekends.
      Struggle street never looked this comfy before.

      Commenter
      Dirk Bottoms
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 4:54PM
      • They're capitalists plain and simple.

        Commenter
        Dino
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 5:03PM
      • Dino, they are Capitalists and good on em. Capitalism is the greatest invention of mankind ever. It is Capitalism which has driven the world out of poverty for the past 250 years and will continue to do so for the next 250 years. The evidence is plain and simple for everyone to see, by and large countries that have embraced it have thrived whereas those that did not, do not. Just 50 years ago 30 million Chinese people starved, today China is the largest economy in the world. It is Capitalism which is pulling 1BN people out of poverty in China, so when someone starts a business, employs people and gives the customer what they want they are part of the greatest human invention ever.

        Commenter
        CAPITALIST
        Date and time
        February 18, 2013, 7:10PM
    • Good on them. Well deserved. It's a tough industry and Shannon is world class.

      I'm sure it will get the usual comments like "yeah but he could feed Africa for that kind of money" but this country needs to start celebrating and admiring successful people. The jealous hoards should take a leaf out of his book. Work bloody hard at something you love.

      Commenter
      Hungry
      Date and time
      February 18, 2013, 4:58PM

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