Chaos in the kitchen as entertainment centre opens

IT'S set to throw open its doors on Tuesday, but the new Gladstone Entertainment and Convention Centre still hasn't signed a contract with a caterer.

The 11th-hour kitchen chaos follows the failure of Zilzie Bay-based Reef City Catering to come on board for the $23 million redevelopment, despite being awarded the Gladstone Regional Council contract.

Reef City owners had previously told The Observer they intended to hire about 80 hospitality staff for the contract, and last week, the company advertised for a GECC executive chef, offering up to $84,999.

But on Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the company wouldn't comment on the failed contract talks.

Then three days ago, Rydges Gladstone posted an ad on the Gumtree website, seeking four new chefs.

"(We have) recently acquired the contract to cater for... Gladstone Entertainment Centre," the ad said.

Yesterday, GRC and GECC were refusing to comment on the situation.

Earlier this month, GECC general manager Troy Everett said the new centre's $1.5 million kitchen could pump out 740 meals in 15 minutes.

The collapsed talks with Reef City follow a move by GRC to put the screws on the caterer, which previously had the GEC Marina Marquee contract.

In September, council voted to put a performance clause in the contract, following criticisms of the food.

At the time, mayor Gail Sellers said the clause aimed to ensure "an absolute rise in the standard of the meals".

The GECC's first event is scheduled for next Tuesday, with $85 tickets on sale for a two-course Melbourne Cup Day luncheon.

The venue's website is yet to reveal prices for private event catering.

WHAT'S NEW

  • Main auditorium seating for 675
  • Floor area capacity for 1500 people standing, or 700 dining
  • State-of-the-art audio-visual equipment
  • $1.5 million kitchen