As the co-owner of Grey Lynn local Lilian, alongside Hugo Baird and Otis Gardner Schapiro, Willy Gresson understands the ingredients of a successful restaurant. We asked him to serve up the details of his influences and inspirations.
My personal style is: Relaxed, comfortable, neutral colours — being on your feet all day and night you want to be comfortable for sure, I like my t-shirts slightly baggy to give a bit of leeway in the winter months.
The last thing I bought and loved was: New sunnies, can never have too many pairs of shades.
On my wish list is: To buy a house.
An unforgettable place I visited was: Chamonix, France. It was a family trip when I was 16 and one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. I would love to live in France for a while, learn the language and immerse myself in their culture and lifestyle.
The next place I’d like to go to is: Melbourne and Sydney. I still have a lot of friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while living in Sydney and would love to check out the dining scene in Melbourne.
An object I would never part with is: A gold ring I was given by my grandfather. I don’t wear it all the time but it’s a special family keepsake.
The last thing I added to my wardrobe was: A pair of new pants from Commoners.
The person that inspires me: Peter Sullivan, my old boss at Chiswick Restaurant in Sydney. His leadership, passion and ethos in hospitality is something I look up to and try to pass on to my staff.
My favourite app is: Pinterest and Spotify. I love finding new things especially music.
If I had to limit my shopping to one neighbourhood it would be: Paddington, Sydney. I lived there for three years and it has pretty much everything you need from clothing, groceries, bars and restaurants.
My style icon is: Dylan Rieder, seriously slick operator. R.I.P.
The best book I’ve read in the last year is: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
I can’t miss an episode of: Don’t watch much TV but The Chase is always a good watch.
In my fridge you’ll always find: Anathoth Farm Tomato Relish and Best Foods mayo. Slap that on some Vogels with anything and you’re away laughing.
I recently discovered: During the lockdown I have been doing things I don’t usually have time for. Reading and bike rides are probably top of the list.
The people I rely on for my wellbeing are: My girlfriend, mum and dad. I also have an amazing group of tight friends and we all rely on each other in one way or another. I think surrounding yourself with people you admire and have fun with is hugely important for your wellbeing.
The one artist whose work I would collect (if price is not an issue) is: I’m not really an artsy person but I really like Ken Griffen’s work. We have one up in the cafe and people are always asking about it.
The last meal out I had that truly impressed me was: Pici, simple and delicious with great service.
The best gift I ever received was: I’d been eyeing up some shoes for a while, so a group of mates got together and bought them for my birthday. It meant more that they’d gone to the effort to work out what I’d love.
The last music I downloaded was: Mac Miller — Circles.
If I wasn’t doing what I am, I would be: I have no idea and have been doing hospo since I was still at school.