For more than a decade Ian Curley has been the executive chef at the European Group.

But despite an extremely successful run, Curley has decided it’s time to move on.

“I don’t want to do service anymore, essentially. It’s not fun for the people at the European if I’m not enjoying myself enough to be doing that,” Curley tells Broadsheet.

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During his tenure the group grew from The European and The Supper Club to include City Wine Shop, Siglo, Spring Street Grocer and Spring Cheese Cave.

With three kids under the age of 10, family has played a big part in Curley’s decision to step away from his demanding role.

“It’s heading into Christmas now and I want to spend more time with my kids rather than having to do service and do what I’ve got to do as an employee at the European. I just don’t have that love anymore. It’s disingenuous to them to just take the money because it’s not about money when you’re at my level,” says Curley.

But he’s not leaving the hospitality industry altogether. He will remain business partners with European Group’s Con Christopoulos and Josh Brisbane with whom he co-owns the French Saloon, Kirk’s and Kirk’s Wine Bar. It’s a friendship that spurs a healthy dose of in-house competition.

Curley will continue to run EXEC CHEF, his hospitality consultancy company that counts among its clients the Melbourne Racing Club, Caulfield Racecourse and Craig’s Royal Hotel in Ballarat.

As for the future, Curley says he’ll be happy just carrying on what he’s already doing; seeing his kids, playing a bit of golf and helping people with their hospitality businesses.

As for the European, it’s been left in good hands. “I’m leaving it in a good space. They’ll continue to grow and be successful, it’ll be great.”

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