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FEATURE // Shutdown activities

Hospo at home Here are some ideas to keep you busy if you’ve been forced to take a break from life as a hospitality professional.

Melanie Day, head pastry chef, Sofitel Gold Coast What have you been doing to stay motivated during shutdown? Being motivated hasn’t really been the issue — it’s more so planning and preparing to make sure I actually complete all the jobs at home I’ve pushed aside for so long. I write myself a daily task list (same as I would in the kitchen) to get things done, such as sorting out all my recipes that are scribbled onto pieces of paper and writing them into my index books. I’ve sorted through and loaded almost 10,000 dessert photos onto my computer. These are things I rarely get the time to sit down and work on.

HOSPITALITY FINDS OUT what industry professionals have been doing

How has going through recipe books helped? Any other resources that have been useful?

to stay motivated and upbeat during an otherwise trying time. Even as

Going through recipes has been so good for me. Not only

restrictions begin to lift, things will remain different for many hospitality

have I found some of my favourite recipes that I thought I

workers; maintaining connections with peers and skills is important, but so

lost, but it’s nice to sit back and see how far I’ve come in this

is cutting yourself some slack.

industry — something I don’t usually take time to reflect on. A lot of my recipe resources are from chefs and pastry chefs I’ve worked with over the years or recipes I’ve developed myself. I subscribe to Savour School for online classes and to learn new skills. Kirsten Tibballs and her professional team are the best.  

What are your thoughts on staying ‘productive’ versus taking a break from the kitchen? Obviously, you want to continue working to get ahead, but looking at online courses, nothing really struck me as information that would ‘add value’ to my career. A lot of chefs have jumped online and social platforms have been flooded because everyone at home was cooking. As someone who has posted regularly on social media platforms for quite a few years now, it was just too much. I needed a bit of a break from the overload of cooking videos. I did a few basics from home, but it soon became apparent that everyone was doing the same — hot cross buns, cinnamon scrolls, choc chip cookies, banana cake, etcetera. I decided I would just use the time to take a break from the kitchen and work on myself and my health — baking sweet things at home all day is not good for my health.

How have you stayed connected to other chefs, suppliers and diners? I have been keeping in touch with my previous colleagues; we’ve had several phone calls to discuss each other’s circumstances. It has definitely been helpful to talk to other professionals in the industry to see how they are going. I have also reached out on social media and had several discussions with other pastry chefs internationally, just to see how they are going and what their situations are like. I have found pastry chefs in general have a sense of sincerity. They generally hope for the best and wish everyone well under the circumstances. 34 | Hospitality

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Hospitality June 2020  

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