Nigel, he picked me up on my way hitchhiking from Brisbane to Alice Springs shortly before Mitchell, and I loaded the truck with big plastic bags, full of baby clothes and toys. He, the big and strong bushman, became grandpa a few weeks ago and received all these things for his grandson from Katie´s and Martin´s kids. There children were outgrown and too old for this toys.
The five hours travel through the bush, without proper bituminized roads, was dusty again and the landscape didn´t changed at all. No greens, no water. Just all these toasted plants and bushes everywhere and wild animals of course.
The border, South Australia / New South Wales, was just a two meters high wire fence and a shut gate. I went out of the truck to open the gate, driving into the other state. A big warning sign informed me to close the gate again. If not I could get charged of a few thousand dollars penalty. Next to the gate another sign was affixed which was saying “Dingoes Area”. Underneath on the cyclone fence hang a killed dingo. No fur, just the dried out skeleton, clamped with zip ties.
It was still very hot outside the truck and happy sitting back inside the cold driver´s cap – aircon is always running!
A couple hours later we arrived in Tibooburra, a little village. Maybe seventy-five souls living now in the middle of nowhere. Again being in nowhere. Most of the houses or let´s say the most important houses in here – petrol station, information center, accommodations, pubs, restaurants and hotels – were built on the one kilometer long main street, which is curved once. A public toilet, medical center, an unused school, swimming pool, two stores (one with internet access) and a small airport is everything a little town needs.
The airport is very important. Once a week is a flying doctor coming to check people having healthy problems, drop off medication and meet the nurses for a meeting.
I would say this is Australia. A huge country / continent with lots of space and wherever land isn´t in possession to a private person, a village was built.
We unloaded the baby stuff and stored them in the house of Nigel´s mother. When he is driving back to Quilpie, where his oldest daughter and grandson lives, he will pick up again. Everybody knows him in this village. When we drove through, along the main street, everybody cheered him.
One of his friends, owner of a restaurant as well as a cattle farm, wanted to send his chef on vacation before the busy season starts during Easter holidays. I was talking to Nigel´s friend, Will, a couple days before on phone and agreed to cover the time until his Chef ,Till, is back from holidays and helping on the farm or wherever help is needed as far as Nigel going to pick me up again to building some cattle yards and doing other work.
Once we had a quick chat and fixed a small problem on the truck bed, Will took me to his property and showed me the facilities and the room I was staying in, for the next few weeks.
For dinner service I met Till, the Chef. He showed me his operating cycles, where to find the tools and food and how to work in an outback restaurant.
For all chefs and foodies reading this, you can´t imagine. You have to see and do it to know how it is. Especially, everything is possible. From nil – fifty orders per dinner. It is not calculable at all how many meals going to be sent out per service – either lunch or dinner. The food delivery is once a week. If anything was forgotten to order, there is no opportunity to get it – as long as it is ordered for the pick up one week later. Also, the order has to get picked up 330 km away from the place the restaurant is located at.
It is a big rethinking and changes of attitude for every Chef is cosseted to work in cities, having fresh ingredients every day. Also the plating, size of the meals and the attitude to food, out in the bush, is totally different. Taste comes after bulk.
A reeducation for the next couple of weeks, but the people are easy, and in the area is lots to explore I reckon – which is great!