In the near two months of not knowing what day of the week it is or if there will be a restaurant industry on the other side, we are starting to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Restaurants, pubs, cafes, cellar doors are now allowed to open with 10 or less patrons at any given time.
Although the restrictions make it a mathematical nightmare for many trying to crunch the numbers to see if 10 people is an economically feasible idea, I welcome the challenge. Not just for the fact that I am unsure if I can still get wine from bottle to glass, but more of a restart for the industry.
COVID-19 has caused a serious period of reflection for the hospitality industry.
Whilst bill payers have spent the period worried about cashflow, landlords and government relief, staff have had time at home.
Long hours and days replaced with time on the couch scrolling through Netflix (never choosing anything though), stressing over TripAdvisor reviews replaced with a head clearing jog or walk whilst taking in the amazing sight autumn in Orange provides.
The concern over that customer who always complains gone, replaced with family time even if a lot of it was via Zoom, something most of us had never heard of.
So, what needs to change and can it?
Outside attitude towards the industry hopefully first up, 5.30pm Friday afternoon at the pub with friends post work-week has never been missed so much.
'Next week may be a new week but I need to dispose of this one first and that involves a cold schooner into a chicken parmigiana into Friday Night Football, it's Parramatta's year this year'.
Those who utter similar words will appreciate that friendly smile when they walk back into their local, seeking refuge, relaxation and banter to escape that boss who causes them nothing but sheer misery.
Be good to those who make your life a little more tolerable, treat them kindly they are there to make your week easier.
Stop reaching for the stars.
Now some may read this and scoff that those words could come out of my mouth.
Many restaurants are always pushing themselves to better, more inventive, more outside the box, each menu crazier and outdoing the previous.
It's the MasterChef effect hard at work, contestants staring down an incredibly complex dish, made by a chef with incredible knowledge, understand and talent.
Each season for a period saw tougher challengers, dishes in more elaborate settings with even more famous chefs with more opulence.
Customers coming through the door expect it, they find a restaurant magical on their first experience they want it to be a little more magical each time, otherwise it is suddenly stale and out of touch. Many of us have egos as well and the last thing we want to be considered is outdated, but sometimes reflecting and being content with what has been achieved is important as well.
If those outside the industry and equally those on the inside can both reshape their attitudes to it we will be much better off.
Great food is one of the most enjoyable things on the planet, sharing it with family and friends is even better, this time around however let's respect it a bit more and remember what it was like when we didn't have it.
- David Collins is the restaurant manager and sommelier at Charred, he has been studying wine and the wine industry for several years and will write a wine column for the CWD every second Saturday
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