Talented Ian's circle of life

SOUTH Africa's Got Talent re-starts soon, with judge Ian von Memerty promising talent aplenty on our television screens. La Femme treated him to lunch at the Palomino, the restaurant in Cooper Street formerly known as Charlie's Bistro and, before that, Nosh.

In case of confusion with the Stanley Street pizzeria, with which there is no connection at all any more, owners Gill and Kerry Repton have renamed the bistro and promise only minor tweaks to the menu, much to Von Memerty's relief. He loves its chermoulah spiced fillet steak salad with fresh greens and tomato but asks the chef to add creamy Danish feta for extra flavour.

A dessert of Eton Mess – gooey meringue with cream, ice-cream and berries – rounded off the meal with a cup of decaf coffee.

I like Charlie's Bistro – now The Palomino – because ... the atmosphere is relaxed, the decor is eclectic and intriguing, the food is always great and I have never been disappointed (and the staff never stop smiling).

The best thing about my career is ... the ORDINARY people I get to meet. I am not terribly impressed by celebrity but ordinary people fascinate me.

I'll know I've made it when ... I retire!!!

The person who has taught me the most is ... My son, Oscar, has inspired me with his resilience, my mother with her positive attitude and my mentor, Joan Brickhill, who opened doors in my mind and soul and filled them with knowledge and wisdom.

I have a soft spot for ... cuddling at night with my beautiful daughter. That silent togetherness as she goes to sleep is beautiful.

I should have studied ... architecture – I love building things. If (when) I have the money then I am always planning things.

I'd love to party with ... no one – I hate parties. Too much noise, too many people, too much drink, too much music.

I'm reading ... Lots. Douglas Kennedy, The Mistake (a dangerously addictive writer); Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (the most fascinating mind in contemporary social observation); and A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (always near the top of the Kindle list). There is enough food for thought in there for many lifetimes.

When I was 16, I wish I knew ... that other people's opinion of me is none of my concern.

My music weakness is ... anything good. I love eclecticism –opera to over the top to out there (Although I do not listen to rap voluntarily).

Nothing makes me happier than ... the three great modern privileges – space, privacy and quiet balanced with excitement, fulfillment and involvement.

My favourite item of clothing is ... anything old and not fit for social occasions. Still a farmer's son at heart.

I absolutely hate ... shopping and call centres and slow internet connection and racism and cruelty and laziness and pears.

I am saving to buy ... a holiday – we love them.

I share my life with ...one wife, one child (since one has left home), four cats, two dogs, one rabbit and miracle of miracles my extended family get on with each other – unlike so many others.

I can't go a day without ... laughing and exercise and my bipolar medication.

My favourite places in the metro are ... Maitland beach (my dogs say this is best too), my home (my soul says this is very good), our local dump (it really is superb), any one of the great coffee shops we have in town (my stomach loves these).