Shane Delia: My car is my office.

25 August 2020

COVID-19 has forced chef Shane Delia to rethink his entire business operation. Turns out, it’s also changed the location of his office.


Shane Delia: My car is my office.

25 August 2020

COVID-19 has forced chef Shane Delia to rethink his entire business operation. Turns out, it’s also changed the location of his office.

A man in front of the Mercedes-Benz logo

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced chef Shane Delia to rethink his operation, he’s found his CLS 53 has become more than just his car – it’s his portable office. Image: Karon Photography.

When Shane Delia hosted Mercedes-Benz Ladies’ Day at the Australian Grand Prix in March, he was in his element – the star turn at the salubrious Star Lounge.

Clad in chef’s whites, the effervescent Melburnian flitted easily from the kitchen – where the lunch preparations he was overseeing were in full swing – to holding court beneath blue skies on the outdoor deck, as well-dressed women sipped bubbly and feasted on canapes inspired by Shane’s Middle Eastern restaurant, Maha.

Outside in the carpark, a Selenite Grey Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 Coupé waited to whisk Shane back to his office, from which he has assembled his empire of restaurants, cafes and catering operations.

Yet 24 hours later, the Formula 1 Grand Prix had been cancelled without a wheel turned, and a global pandemic was declared. Within days, “everything changed” in Shane’s world – with one notable exception.

A man serving food

Shane Delia serving lunch at Mercedes-Benz Ladies’ Day hours before the Australian Grand Prix was cancelled due to COVID-19. Image: Simon Shiff.

The world I knew stopped, and it has put into play a whole new way of thinking on every level – personally, professionally, financially, spiritually, emotionally, physically. Everything,” he says.

“In one sense it’s been really good – it’s been an unbelievable time of clarity, because there’s less noise, in a business sense.

“Obviously with the pandemic, people have died, businesses are failing, and the economy is in a bad state. But it’s also been a time where personally I could remove all the noise and refocus.

“I’m trying to focus now on things that have meaning, things that bring happiness and sustainability, where I don’t have to worry about them nearly so much.”

Throughout this tumultuous time of change and constant reinvention, the Mercedes-AMG CLS 53 Coupé that had provided a suitably opulent drive for the long-time Mercedes-Benz ‘Friend of the Brand’ morphed into something more – a vital business tool, even a refuge.

“At the moment I’m working from one of our restaurants and not my real office,” Shane says. “When I need to have a confidential conversation, I go and sit in the car and connect my Bluetooth. I’ll even do Zoom calls there, because there’s no noise and no fuss.

“It’s effectively become my little office where I’ve got everything I need, I can just put my phone down on the recharging mat, no worries. Everything has its place.”

Shane describes the CLS 53 as “a bit luxurious, a bit regal”, but a key benefit of its long, low-slung stance is the cavernous boot space and hands-free boot-lid release.

“I carry a lot of stuff. I’m not just doing media interviews all the time and creating dishes for the restaurant. I’m doing out-caters, we’ve got (food delivery business) Providoor, I’ll be walking to the car with my hands full. Releasing the boot by just swinging your foot is a big help,” he says.

Although he enjoys the benefits of a formal alliance with Mercedes-Benz, Shane’s history with the brand began almost a decade ago as a customer, when he purchased his first Mercedes-Benz. 

: A man in front of the Mercedes-Benz logo

Although Shane now enjoys a formal alliance with Mercedes-Benz, his relationship with the brand began a decade ago as a customer. Image: Supplied.

“My daughter was quite young and I wanted a car that we would feel safe in. That ML 250 was a great car, I felt like a rock star!”

Since that moment, Shane and his family have been unabashed fans of the three-pointed star. “It’s an easy experience, everything is just so intuitive. It’s easy to navigate through the operating system, things happen the way they should happen.

“The safety aspect has saved me a few times. In my wife’s GLE Coupe, we’re talking, the kids are in the back seat, there’s a lot going on, something darts out in front of you and the car will warn you, or in a couple of scenarios it has stopped.

“I always feel in a Mercedes-Benz, whether it’s an A 180 or a CLS 53, you always have that level of ease and security around you, but they’re also so much more, the way they fit into your life.”

By Steve Colquhoun