For someone who’ve spent a decent amount of time overseas, Shannon still has his Aussie accent intact. His voice is a commanding one, possibly from all the shouting in the early days. (Think Russell Hawcroft from ABC’s Gruen Transfer.)

Shannon Bennett's new bakery at Dandenong

Once the vomit issue was taken care of, Shannon went straight into chef / restauranteur / business man / dog trainer mode.

So how he trained MJ, was to wrap bits of real truffles into a wrapper (to prevent them from being eaten) and bury it somewhere while the daughter distracts the dog. The Australian shepherd then had to smell and locate it. (The signal is putting his paw down.) All very primitive. He got 1 out of 3 attempts. Considering the dog just threw up not long ago, and the $1500/kilo market price of truffles, I thought a 33% strike rate was pretty good.

Shannon Bennett Truffle Dog TrainingShannon Bennett Vue De MondeShannon Bennett Truffle Hunting with Dog

Shannon’s business partner Andrew arrived together and we had a quick tour around the mansion. Dani will surely write up a more detailed description of the place (Fairfax writers use iPads to write nowadays), but what caught my attention was the mention of John Warwicker’s involvement in the initial design of Burnham Beeches. John was one of  the founders of Tomato Design UK and also co-founded Underworld, who also creative directed the recent London Olympics opening.

Shannon Bennett and Dani Valent

I sheepishly confessed that I had John’s autograph from some design conference years ago and how he showed off his Issey Miyake watch to me.

Shannon Bennett and Andrew Garrison

Andrew said he could hook us up one day, spoken like a true investor who just bought off one of Melbourne’s iconic landmark.

Burnham Beeches Dandenong

Tim the baker arrived not too long after to go through the bakery floor plans with Shannon. Shannon’s father and son also dropped by. And then more people came to say hi.

New Bakery Burnham Beeches

Dani and I simply destroyed our Cafe Vue lunch boxes which consisted of deconstructed apple pie and gourmet hot dog.

Cafe Vue Lunch Box