Jim Berardo says paying businesses directly on the night of the festival will avoid future issues.
Jim Berardo says paying businesses directly on the night of the festival will avoid future issues. Geoff Potter

Berardo to run Noosa Food and Wine Festival again

JIM Berardo is back at the helm of the Noosa Food and Wine Festival only three months after the company went into voluntary administration.

Mr Berardo has confirmed he won the bid to buy the premier food festival's Intellectual Property to run the event once again.

The passionate restaurateur said he was hoping to pay his outstanding creditors the $300,000 he said was still outstanding within two years.

He is already planning next year's event, to be held from May 19 to 22.

And he has promised he would do it differently next year to avoid another financial disaster.

"For next year, so it never happens again, we will change the way it operates," Mr Berardo said.

"Everyone will be paid on the night and paid directly from the J (Noosa's entertainment venue), not coming through the business.

"This will prevent it happening again to local people."

WE SAY: Festival revival no easy task for Jim Berardo 

Mr Berardo's parent company, Noosa Food & Wine Events Pty Ltd, went into voluntary administration on May 29.

Berardo's Restaurant, a Noosa icon for more than 16 years, was under the Noosa Food & Wine Events umbrella and was placed in the hands of an administrator.

The company was wound up in July with an estimated $800,000 in debt.

Worrells' administrator John Cunningham told creditors in a report on June 29 that the parent company had an inadequate record-keeping process.

"The lack of accurate and timely financial reports is, in our opinion, a significant reason for the company's current financial position," he said.

Are you happy Jim Berardo is running the Noosa food and wine festival again?

This poll ended on 09 September 2015.

Current Results

Yes, everyone makes mistakes and running a festival is really complicated

8%

No, he should have to pay back the creditors first

82%

Yes, but it shouldn't be just one person at the helm

9%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Six businesses had expressed interest in the Noosa Food and Wine Festival's Intellectual Property (IP) rights.

Mr Berardo said he had signed the agreement for this last week and was "in the process of planning for next year's event".

"It's something I have never stopped doing," he said.

"I am talking with our sponsors and working out payment plans for those people I have been involved with.

"I will make good, but it will have to be over time."

Mr Berardo blamed two years of rain and the financial constraints of Berardo's Restaurant - part of the parent company that went into voluntary administration - for the financial collapse.

"We had two years of rain and we lost hundreds of thousands of dollars we couldn't recoup," he said.

"Our gate sales were really bad. One of our fine dining restaurants also wasn't doing well and was churning up a lot of money.

"We had no choice but to get rid of Berardo's Restaurant and Bar and call in a voluntary administrator and regroup."

Mr Berardo said many creditors had already been paid back.

RELATED: Berardo may face lawsuit after Noosa Food and Wine failure

"It was not a pleasant position to be in (administration) and I'm not happy about it or proud of it," he said.

"People who sit and throw stones are not involved in the situation and are not very helpful to the community.

"It would have been easy to walk away and they get nothing."

The Noosa Food and Wine Festival, started by Mr Berardo 12 years ago, has grown into Australia's premier food and dining festival.

Mr Berardo said he "didn't want to lose all the resources and money" he had put into 12 years of work.

"This was a branding event for the community on the Sunshine Coast."

He said he was in negotiations with sponsors, including the State Government, to support next year's event.

"The festival gets a fraction of funding others get from the State Government, but we work on it every year.

"Our state loves sport, other than sport it has a difficult time."

Mr Berardo had looked at offering creditors a Deed of Company agreement prior to the company winding up in July, but withdrew it before the creditors' meeting.

He had offered to pay creditors 75 cents for the dollar on condition he be allowed to run the festival again and repay funds over two years.

Mr Cunningham did not return the Daily's calls for comment yesterday.

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