Creative cooking put to the COVID-19 test
PAUL Redpath thought he'd seen it all in his 27-year hospitality career but when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down pubs and clubs in March, his creativity was put to the test.
"I had to think outside the square to serve our restaurant quality meals in small takeaway containers at our drive-through bottle shop," the Carriers Arms Hotel catering manager said.
"The 'Grab and Go' meals we've been doing have been so popular; they've been going 10-fold!
"We have eight different varieties of meat dishes and salads and to date we've moved in excess of 1000 tubs of food. The people of Maryborough have really supported us."
Mr Redpath, a graduate of Maryborough's West primary and Aldridge high schools, has catered for defence services, mining companies and privately-owned restaurants but COVID-19 presented new challenges.
"It was terrible to see the hospitality industry falling into the unknown. It's a big industry and it's the only thing I known in my working life.
"Like everyone, we were all new to this type of pandemic and our reactions were new."
As COVID-19 restrictions now start to lift across the country, Mr Redpath is looking forward to when the Carriers Arms Hotel is fully operational again.
"I just want all the pubs and clubs to open back up; we miss the camaraderie among staff and patrons.
"Some of the staff we had to let go will come back to the Carriers, but some have gone back to their previous lines of work, such as nursing, so we may be looking for more staff soon.
"Because there's been such a good response to our takeaways, we'll continue with them.
"A lot of builders and other tradesmen come through the drive-through early in the morning to pick up their meals for lunch.
"It's been a struggle with COVID-19 but we couldn't give up. It'd be good to see our loyal supporters come back and support us once again."
When asked if he had a signature dish, Mr Redpath said that while all foods enthused him, he probably favoured pasta.
"That's because it's my background from when I worked at one of the Gold Coast's leading Italian restaurants.
"But I put so much love and creation into every one of our meals, I really can't say I have just one signature dish."