GLEBE: Fan (pronounced “fun”) Zheng is a much-loved café owner and chef at Le Petit Tarte. The café is open seven days from 7.30am to 6pm, and Fan, also known as Mark, is the consummate host. Regular patrons and staff express appreciation for one who treats them with unfailing kindness and respect.
“Mark’s qualities strike you from the moment you enter the café,” says regular patron Tom. “He always sees the good side of people and is keen to support the needy with a free meal or a kind word. He has driven me to my home, helped me move, even made a small table for my TV. Mark is prepared to put his intelligence and diligence to work for others.”
“Earlier this year, I was knocked over while riding a bicycle and suffered a serious leg injury. Mark made me feel I was valued by organising a group of fellow customers to phone me while I was in hospital. Mark has the power to lift fallen spirits,” says Jethro.
Deborah states: “Fan would have to be one of the nicest humans I’ve met in many years. He has a big heart and he’s a kind man.”
“As a single person, I often feel lonely,” says artist Sonia. “The café is somewhere I know I’ll be greeted with kindness and friendliness.”
Barbara reflects: “He seems to pick up immediately whether or not we feel like talking. If we do, he listens and keeps track of where we’re up to in our thinking. Not only that, he introduces like-minded people to each other. What also attracts customers to visit the café, even after moving away from Glebe, is Fan’s awareness of politics, sport and local news as well as his strong sense of humour, general wellbeing (he’s super fit!), and, of course, his excellent cooking. His staff love him.”
“I started working at Le Petit Tarte seven months ago,” says barista Shreeya. “Working under Mark’s guidance has been transformative. Mark’s kindness extends to the kitchen where he has shared his culinary expertise with me – and cooked lunch for me every day. His dedication to creating a friendly café zone – a second home – has had a profound impact on everyone.”
“Given the hours he works, and his family commitments, one wonders when he sleeps,” says Oleh. “He provides a welcoming cocoon where we meet and feel safe to be ourselves.”
“I come to Mark’s café almost daily, not just for the coffee,” says Pat. “I love the environment. It is such a friendly place. Mark and the staff are all so obliging and they are like family. There’s no place like home!”
Printed copies of the SSH are available from Le Petit Tarte (219 Glebe Point Road). See our website for a full list of print locations: www.southsydneyherald.com.au/distribution