From fruit picker to striking it lucky with an incredible landlord, Sammy Jeon's journey to respected restaurant owner took plenty of unexpected pit stops along the way.
He first arrived in Australia from South Korea as a backpacker and tourist. Living in Sydney, he bought a dodgy '95 Jeep Cherokee that soon broke down and left him stranded.
A friend from Griffith suggested he become a fruit picker in Orange to make some money and extend his visa.
So, in 2009 he started picking grapes for Philip Shaw's winery and became immersed in the world of food and wine.
Mr Jeon soon recognised a gap in Orange's restaurant offerings, a need for more diverse and sophisticated Asian cuisine, so he opened his first restaurant, Mr Sushi King in 2012.
"I think the market was ready and I chose a very good town to start up," Mr Jeon said.
"If I started in Dubbo or Bathurst I don't think I would've had the same success."
His latest restaurant is called Diana, and it's located in Potts Point, Sydney. It's a Korean restaurant and karaoke bar named after winemaker and Philip Shaw's wife, Diana.
Mr Jeon said the Orange community is "very supportive" and he'll always be grateful for the help he's received along the way, particularly from his first landlord, Linda.
"I had a wonderful landlord," Mr Jeon said.
"I didn't have enough money, but I knew her tenant moved out and I told her what I wanted to do in Orange.
"She gave me the opportunity and she didn't ask me for rent for three years, can you believe it?"
After eventually paying back Linda, Mr Jeon vowed to "never forget where he came from".
He grew up in a big family in South Korea, where a variety of different dishes were served during meal times.
Popular festivals like Korean New Year and Korean Thanksgiving introduced him to cooking and taught him how to cook for large groups of people, but he never received any formal chef training.
"I'm not ashamed to say this, but most of my cooking I learned from YouTube," he said.
He doesn't think formal training is necessary, and he attributes much of his success to the relaxed and approachable environment he tries to create at his restaurants, otherwise "people will only go once or twice a year".
"I never want to be a fancy restaurant. I don't want to pressure people to drink sparkling water and all that fancy-dancy stuff."
That's why Mr Jeon once hosted karoke nights before the pandemic at Mr Lim, his Korean fusion restaurant on Summer Street. Mr Jeon indicated he was hoping to bring back karaoke nights to Orange and he's on the lookout for a host.
"People in the restaurant ... they don't know each other, but as soon as the music plays they're singing and dancing together and start talking," he said.
"Anyone, young or old, can sing and just have fun.
"That's what I what I want to bring to my restaurants."