‘1000% COMMITTED’: Restaurateur Jim Berardo has promised to meet his responsibilities to Noosa International Food and Wine Festival creditors.
‘1000% COMMITTED’: Restaurateur Jim Berardo has promised to meet his responsibilities to Noosa International Food and Wine Festival creditors. Geoff Potter

Berardo vows to honour Festival debts

"JONATHAN" is a supplier who said he had thousands of dollars left in limbo after Jim Berardo's Noosa Food and Wine Events Pty Ltd went into administration.

"The feedback I'm getting from many of my counterparts… is that if we are not paid back the entire amount of money we are owed there will be no ongoing food and wine festival, because no-one will support it," Jonathan said.

"For any of us to continue to support Noosa International Food and Wine Festival in any incarnation that it takes post this administration, we would need to ensure that all creditors were paid."

Jonathan said the welfare of many of the smaller business owners was at stake, particularly because many people supplied food and wine, goods and services on handshake deals.

"There are a lot of restaurants that are unsecured creditors," he said.

"They don't have a personal guarantee from the festival and directors signed to say that they personally acknowledge the debt."

A meeting between creditors and the administrator will be held on June 11.

Locals remained optimistic that the festival would continue into the future, and Mr Berardo told the Daily he was determined it would.

"I'm planning to direct the festival and I'll say this to you, Nicky, I feel very proud of what I and we have been able to accomplish in this and not just in the festival and restaurant," he said.

"I'm a person who doesn't walk away from that.

"We all make mistakes and this one we couldn't prevent. My number one goal is to... make sure that event happens because that will impact my ability to look after all of these creditors to make sure people will get paid."

Mr Berardo said he was "1,000% committed to that".

"You can hate me for putting you in this position but you will never hate me for shirking my responsibility because I don't do that," was his message to creditors.

"I'm going to give it my absolutely best shot.

"I won't promise what I can't deliver. My goal is to just do that very thing."

The Noosa business community has rallied behind the event, with tourism leaders and restaurateurs agreeing the festival must continue in some form.

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland president Sarah Fisher said the Noosa International Food and Wine Festival had put the Noosa region on the world stage and she hoped it would be up and running again very soon.

"It's a valuable asset in our tourism calendar," she said.

"It gets rave reviews both here and overseas.

"The feedback our organisation has always received from these events each year is that the festivals are fantastic.

"It is great to see how small business, council and residents unite behind the festival and want to make this a spectacle for the world to see."

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