Homecomers buy Raupo Cafe

01:05, Jul 02 2014
NEW OWNERS: Raupo Cafe owners Helen, left, and Marcel Rood, foreground, have sold their business to former employee Taryn Gilbert, 26, and her partner Stephane Ughetto, 30

After building Raupo Cafe from the ground up six years ago, owners Helen and Marcel Rood have sold their business.

The Roods will hand over the keys to ex-employee Taryn Gilbert and her partner Stephane Ughetto on August 1.

Helen Rood said the decision to sell the restaurant had come "really quickly", but had been on their minds for a while.

"We've been thinking about it for about a year but we never really did anything about it . . . we knew Taryn and Stephane were looking."

They did not put the restaurant on the market, it just happened, she said.

The Roods told their staff the news on Monday.


"It was a little bit emotional, because you are so close to everyone," Marcel Rood said. "It's always hard to let your baby go, but I'm pleased it's gone to them."

The Roods opened the restaurant, on the banks of the Taylor River in Blenheim's CBD, in May 2008.

"We built this restaurant, from the ground up and it's just time for a change, but we don't know what yet," he said.

Helen Rood said they wanted to spend some time with Marcel's family in the Netherlands.

The handover process was "very easy, so it's meant to be", she said.

Twenty-six year old Gilbert, who was "born and bred" in Blenheim, had worked for the Roods since she was 16.

"They were a big driving force for my hospitality career," Gilbert said.

"When I first started in hospitality I didn't see it as a career . . . [but] I got a bit of a shove in the right direction."

For the past 3 years she had been overseas, managing restaurants in Britain, where she met her partner Stephane.

They decided to move to Blenheim to bring up their 4-month-old son Kaiden Ughetto.

Gilbert had not thought about owning her own restaurant but when the opportunity arose, they took it, she said.

"We knew that they [Marcel and Helen Rood] were looking and they knew that we were looking."

Ughetto said moving to Marlborough was perfect for him - as a Frenchman, he said wine and food were important to him.

"It's always been a dream of mine to have my own restaurant and then I came to this place - wine, food, everything comes together here."

The Roods would still be involved with the restaurant - Marcel Rood would remain the head chef and Helen Rood would keep the gardens in shape and babysit Kaiden when needed.

The Marlborough Express