While some can't hide their disdain for airline food, Cyrus Platon proudly says that serving meals in-flight inspired him to transition into the food business.
For Queenslander Cyrus Platon, shifting careers from being a flight attendant to running his own restaurant wasn't that big of a jump.
"When my wife and I were working as flight attendants, we learned the importance of customer service," he shares, adding, "Even if I'm in charge of the kitchen, I make sure to go outside and engage with our customers. Our business is small right now, but we aim to provide first-class service."
He now runs Cycho's Buffalo Wings on the Gold Coast - but his journey had very humble beginnings.
Cyrus, who worked for both Cebu Pacific and Qatar Airways, is certainly well-acquainted with first-class service.
"I loved working in the galley when I was a flight attendant. Being there exposed me to different dishes being served to business and first-class clients," he shares.
After a good few years of flying everywhere, Cyrus and Hanzel decided it was time to finally settle in one place.
The two chose Australia and Cyrus decided to put his love for good food to use.
"When we moved 12 years ago, commercial cookery was in demand in Australia. The pathway to permanent residency was easy for chefs at that time so I decided to study again; then from there, after my schooling, I got lucky. I got sponsored by a restaurant to be a teppanyaki chef."
Cycho's with a silent 'p'
While creating a business from scratch may seem like madness to some, Cyrus sought to integrate the "crazy" into his venture.
After years of working for someone else, Cyrus decided to establish his first Cycho's [pronounced as Psycho's] food stall.
"When I was in college, my friends called me 'psycho' because I was a bit mad, they said," he laughs.
Cyrus shares that a trip to the market inspired him to create his own food stall, adding, "I wanted to sell a dish that was easy and popular, so I thought of buffalo wings".
Several attempts later, Cyrus perfected the taste of his wings and spent each fortnight salary buying equipment.
"First we bought a tent, then a deep fryer. We did it little by little until we had everything we needed," Cyrus says, adding, "Our first day selling, we sold out two hours before the market closed. Because we did so well, the market agreed to take us on as regular sellers right away."
After finding success selling in the market, Cyrus and Hanzel decided to operate a food truck and open a restaurant.
"We expanded our operations and our menu. The food truck is still available for catering and other big events," he says, adding, "But people really sought us out when they were craving for wings; so when we found the right location here in central Gold Coast, we decided to jump on the opportunity."
The opportunity has placed them on a steep learning curve though, with Cyrus admitting, "When you're the boss, you have to think of so many things - salaries, marketing, accounting. My wife is now learning [to do] accounting from our accountant."
What has come easy for the couple, however, is working side-by-side on a daily basis.
"We were together during most of our flights for Cebu Pacific," he says, adding, "We're not just business partners, we're family."
And for this family, it has also been important for them to add dishes to the Cycho's menu which are inspired by their Filipino heritage.
Among Cycho's top sellers are Filipino adobo wings and pandesal sliders.
"Our Aussie customers love the adobo wings. With the pandesal sliders, they can't quite figure out how it's different from the usual brioche bun. They've never had it before," Cyrus says, adding, "They think the sliders are delicious."
While Cyrus isn't focused on straightforward, traditional Filipino food, he plans on continuing to introduce Filipino flavours to his customers.
"I wanted to sell food that was relatable, but I also wanted to introduce my Filipino heritage to others, so I make sure that Filipino flavours are always part of the menu."