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  • Paul Foreman

The Great Lakes Hotel Redux!

4 months ago I was offered the position of part time Food Operations Manager of the Great Lakes Hotel in the Central Highlands of Tasmania.

I will sadly admit, I had never been to the Great Lakes, let alone the hotel.

So, a road trip was undertaken and I was astonished at the beauty of this place that is literally the cross rounds of Tasmania.

The hotel itself, had charm, but was in dire need of TLC.

My gut said this will be a huge challenge, but go for it!!

So, the planning begins!

The kitchen is small, impractical and lacking major hardware. Sadly this is a common sight as kitchens aren't cheap to bring together.

Kudos to the new owners as they see the importance of providing the tools to forge ahead and tick off on my requests. Dishwasher, Combi oven, plate warmer etc, etc...

Now, to design. Working within a shell of load baring beams, dodgy angles, hidden wiring and plumbing makes the process that much harder, but it's gotta be done.

While all this is going on, my job is to look for the team that will take us to the next level. This is probably the toughest area of my brief, as regional only appeals to certain people.

As luck would have it and a 'little help from my friends', a head chef was found. Now to find a couple of cracking apprentices and a second chef with passion, drive and fortitude.

3 months in and I have filled those positions, bar one - sous chef! Two great apprentices that I see going far, but they have some hard yards to get through first!

So the team is 'almost' in place, now to the menu.

The important thing with the menu, is to appeal to your demographic and the style of venue. Be respectful and true to your surroundings.

Keep the menu relatively universal and moderately sized. This allows my team to play with specials that are seasonal and exciting!

The other challenge is receiving stock to work with. Once a week deliveries are tough, and as we pride ourselves on freshness, many trips are taken to either Hobart or Deloraine. Ultimately, local produce is paramount and searching out the local producers will be high on my list.

So, here we are with a beautifully renovated dining room, bar, staff accomadation, offices and finally the beloved engine room, the kitchen!

All in all, it has come up incredibly well, but with all things new and shiny, we still have some tweaking to do.

As the saying goes - you have to break a few eggs to make the perfect omelette!!

Watch this space......


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