The Wonders of Hospitality
Matt Golinski wonders what makes eating out so tempting and tasty and why new businesses continue to open.
Someone once told me it was a good choice to become a chef because ‘people have always got to eat’.
They don’t always have to eat a $35 steak with a $10 side of chips though.
They could stay home and make themselves a sandwich to keep themselves alive or empty the liquor cabinet of all that old duty-free booze.
So why is it that despite all the current economic hardship, the increased cost of living, and the underlying fear that everything we touch is potentially a playground for viral germs, the public is still flocking to cafés, restaurants and bars across the coast instead of staying in for a stir-fry?
The fact is, most people don’t dine out because they need calories and nutrients, or that it gets them out of doing the washing up (although that is a major bonus). They pop down to their local for a latté instead of making it at home because they crave human interaction and want to feel special and looked after, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes.
The joy of sitting at a table in the sunshine or over candlelight with loved ones, being brought all the food and drink your heart desires, the theatre of waiters rushing back and forth, cutlery clanging, glassware tinkling and the voices and laughter of others around us is the magnet that draws us all in.
That insatiable appetite for dining culture across the Noosa region has clearly given operators the confidence to jump right in and start up new ventures, with a string of venues opening over the past few months, including Peter Kuruvita’s Alba, Lucio’s at Noosa Marina, Muse, Flo’s Creperie, Notch and Nudge Nudge Wink Wink – all in Noosa Junction; and the long-awaited reopening of Noosa Beach House at Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort.
Josh Smallwood has taken the leap from head chef at Rickys to providore and business owner with his range of take-home meals at Noosa Cartel; and Chris Clark, Matt Zuccaro and Ash Murn have turned their culinary talents to spoiling our fur babies with their new company Rawlly Pet Food.
Sweet tooths are delighted about one of Australia’s best pastry chefs, Adriano Zumbo, setting up at Zumbo Test kitchen in Rene St, Noosaville.
Slow Food Noosa continues to attract new members and recipients of the Snail of Approval for those producing good, clean and fair food, cementing its position as one of the biggest communities in the global network of 160 countries.
The ‘source local’ ethos that so many of our food businesses are committed to continues to spawn new ideas, with more producers choosing to value-add what they grow into ingredients suitable for the food service industry. SevGen at Galeru Farm in Cooroy and Noosa Natives at Carters Ridge are both growing and selling indigenous bush foods in their raw form and, in some cases, processed into powders or freeze-dried fruit.
Autumn is an ideal time of year for growing food in Noosa, and you can expect to see persimmons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, dragonfuit, rosellas and strawberries starring on menus over the next few months, often having been picked that morning and hitting the plate that night.
Despite the frustration of staff shortages and the stop-start operations for the industry over the past few months, it continues to stay positive and flourish with the energy of the people who live and breathe it every day.
It bears remembering that the baristas, waiters, bartenders and chefs taking care of you show up each day with the sole purpose of making everyone they’re serving happy, and if you do have to wait an extra three minutes for that coffee, there’s a good chance someone is producing the same volume as they were two years ago but with half the manpower.
Be patient. Be kind. Use the three minutes to appreciate this incredible place we get to live in.