When a familiar face says farewell and it is because they are retiring, it is the absolute best kind of farewell. Whilst recognising that you will miss that smiling face, you also know that person is heading off into an exciting new stage of their life.
Mark from Gellibrand Support Services has this exciting adventure not far in front of him now, so we thought we would catch up with him before he sails off into the Macedon Ranges sunset to his new life.
As he has been a popular visitor to Ballarat and a strong supporter of our local restaurants, we decided to ask him some questions about his time here.
Firstly, could you please tell us about Gellibrand Support Services?
“Gellibrand Support Services is a ‘not for profit’ organisation that have been providing disability support services in the Western and Northern suburbs of Melbourne for over 40 years. After receiving a number of requests for support in the Ballarat region, we decided to open an office here.”
You don’t live locally, what do you like about Ballarat?
“I live in the Macedon Ranges, an hours drive from Ballarat. The drive is relaxing, and the scenery is diverse and beautiful. I like Ballarat’s buildings, architecture and history, the shopping is great, the restaurants are very good, and everything is close at hand.”
I hear that you have been dining your way around Ballarat, sampling the local cafes and restaurants whilst working here?
“I quickly realised the need to be strategic if I was to sample all the diversity and gourmet delights on offer in Ballarat. The diversity and overall quality in Ballarat is very good, from the takeaway shops and cafes through to the full restaurants.”
Do you have a favourite cuisine?
“Possibly Asian, but sometimes it just depends on the day…”
How did you decide where to start? Was it location, cuisine, opening hours?
“I have been eating here in the daytime, specifically lunchtime, so most (but not all) of the establishments have been within a 3-4 block radius of the Platypus Coworking office. Walking can be handy after a nice lunch!”
The number and variety of food choices in Ballarat can be overwhelming for newbies. Can you make it easier and give us some recommendations?
Burgers: Boss Burger
Indian: Curry Star
Special Mention: Pot of Courage, whilst a limited menu this venue offers opportunity to local women from various ethnic backgrounds.”
For anyone following in your adventurous dining footsteps what are your hints and tips?
“For some restaurants, once was enough, others know me by name.
However none have been bad so just take a walk and see what looks inviting.”
After you have retired are there any places that you would come back just to eat at?
“In no particular order:
Saigon – their soups are outstanding, both the Pho & Laksa
Boss Burger – not only are their burgers excellent, so are the Milkshakes
Pot of Courage – the food is very good and it’s a great example of a social enterprise and what is good about us as humans!
Racers- it’s jam packed with atmosphere, wonderful locals and even a few out-of-towners.”
If you had to choose just three places ?
“Sorry, but I am not cutting out any of the above!”
We know hospitality has been struggling lately with Covid restrictions and staffing issues. How should people best support the hospitality industry now?
“For customers, just go out and dine. Support the industry or you will lose it.
For restaurants, look closely at quality of product, service and atmosphere, and know how to promote yourselves.”
Mark do you cook much at home? How does your cooking compare to eating out?
“I love to cook Italian food and I am pretty good with pasta. Yet when I dine in a good Italian restaurant the food is at a whole other level, well worth the money and experience.”
Do you think there are opportunities for the Hospitality industry to work more closely with services such as Gellibrand Support Services to provide mutually beneficial opportunities?
“It has been slow to take off, however people with disabilities can and should be able to work in hospitality if that is their goal. There are NDIS agencies who can appropriately match people with jobs.”
Home delivery is huge now, do you know of any compassionate and cost-effective options for supported living environments?
“There are a growing number of home delivery services available specifically catering to the needs of people with disability, including a start up by Dylan Alcott.”
ablefoods.com.au - Employing and providing for people with disability.
Great information from a great representative of a great organisation. Thanks so much for taking the effort to give us this information Mark. We will miss you at Platypus Coworking, but at least now we know the restaurants to visit where we might just catch you having a nostalgic lunch!
It sounds as though Gellibrand Support Services will have a bit of a new future also, with new people providing support in this region. Gellibrand provides a valuable and much needed service in Ballarat and Melbourne. Please visit their website at gellibrand.org.au for further information.