Wanaka restaurant Ode reopens after receiving ‘huge community support’


But after issuing a plea for help, Parkinson was delivered a lifeline to keep the restaurant running.

In December, Parkinson announced via Instagram that Ode would reopen that month thanks to “huge media and community support”.

“I sent out a cry for help and it arrived, we have some contracts to finalise but the main thing is we have a lifeline budget to open on and trial how things go,” he said.

“I know our community and guests will show up and give their full support to help us get through this rough patch and see Ode into the future.”

It’s the third time Parkinson has reopened Ode after closure caused by adversity. Fifteen months after the restaurant opened in 2017, it burnt down and had to close for a year.

Ode was again forced to close during New Zealand’s strict nationwide lockdown which began in March.

Despite a solid recovery after restrictions eased, the second lockdown in Auckland and increased restrictions across the country affected Ode to the point where Parkinson decided it was time to close the restaurant for good.

After calling for help to keep his restaurant running, Parkinson says he has gained a new perspective on business ownership.

“I’m over the moon about going into partnership and having good people to truly share this journey with and I am fortunate that my loyal kitchen team stuck by my side while I sailed us through these stormy waters,” he says.

“I’ve really changed my views on business ownership and have become more open and willing to accept help where it’s needed.

Don’t tell me it can’t be done but don’t tell me it can be done alone – I tried and it was hell, so I’m feeling really positive about our future.”

Although it’s fair to say Parkinson has had to deal with more misfortune than most in running his restaurant, the chef still counts himself lucky for being in New Zealand during the pandemic.

“I think we are fortunate here in New Zealand; we are in a bubble of safety and our industry can recover,” he said.

“It has been reassuring with the amount of interest we received about investing in Ode and we have seen a monumental shift towards locals supporting locals who support locals.

“In our case our customers are for the most part locals; our suppliers, farmers, hunters, fishermen etc are all local; so it becomes a full support circle and one that I hope will keep growing.”



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An Ode to Flight Attendants


It made me think. About the exquisite management of expectations that goes on up there, about everything that flight attendants do to convince you—in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary—that you are having a faintly classy experience. They minister, they mollify, they bring blankets, they do de-escalatory jiu-jitsu with alcoholics and exploding parents, and then they walk around with a plastic bag, collecting trash.

Have I been a good passenger, over the years? Not too needy? Thankful when appropriate? There was the flight where I burst into tears, with biological promptness, every 20 minutes. The flight where I wore a jacket that stank so vengefully of cat urine that the man next to me asked to change seats. The flight where, still dazed from a sleepless night in San Francisco, I looked out into the golden loft-space above the clouds and saw my whole life shining like the sun. At all times I was managed discreetly, treated respectfully; I hope I was respectful in return.

Ever seen a flight attendant burst into tears? Or encountered one who smelled of cat? It doesn’t happen. In a shadowy time, in a hooded time, give me the breastplate of professional cheeriness. Give me that shiny casing of industrialized hospitality and presentability—and if it’s only an inch deep, all the more heroic.

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Ode to Agony Aunts – The Atlantic


illustration of smiling conversation bubble hugging another conversation bubble filled with !!! and ???
Tim Lahan

What will it be, the thing that finally makes me write to an advice columnist?

A quandary of the heart? An out-of-control kink? A high-stakes issue involving wedding invitations? Deeply schooled as I am in the lore of the problem page, I still don’t know which of the standard cries for help I’ll end up emitting.

Because they’re all standard—that’s the point. The problems are the same, now and forever. The same dilemmas, the same misunderstandings. Is my boss a pig? Why won’t my stepdaughter say thank you? I married a frog—I thought he was a prince! They loop around, they rhythmically recur, albeit touched with the flavor of the times (“Help, My Pandemic Crush Feels So Real!”). And the problem of all problems, the old chestnut: Why am I doing what I’m doing, when it’s so obviously bad for me? Saint Paul put this one best in his letter to the Romans: “For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

Agony aunts, we call them in England, and I’ve been reading them forever. I first encountered them in my mother’s magazines: Woman’s Own, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Realm. Virginia Ironside—what a counselor. With what insight and asperity she sliced into the 200-word soap operettas laid before her, four or five to a page. Remotely, a boy at the keyhole as it were, I took it all in. I became a short-trousered expert in adulterous longing, erotic disharmony, soul-death at the kitchen table. They were an education to me, a widening of my eyes. This world of complication, this world of problems—I couldn’t get enough.



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An Ode to Small Talk


Tim Lahan

The correct answer to the question “How are you?” is Not too bad.

Why? Because it’s all-purpose. Whatever the circumstances, whatever the conditions, Not too bad will get you through. In good times it projects a decent pessimism, an Eeyore-ish reluctance to get carried away. On an average day it bespeaks a muddling-through modesty. And when things are rough, really rough, it becomes a heroic understatement. Best of all, with three equally stressed syllables, it gently forestalls further inquiry, because it is—basically—meaningless.

Small talk is rhetoric too. Americans in particular are small-talk artists. They have to be. This is a wild country. The most tenuous filaments of consensus and cooperation attach one person to the next. So the Have a nice days, the Hot enough for yous, the How ’bout those Metses—they serve a vital purpose. Without these emollient little going-nowhere phrases and the momentary social contract that they represent, the streets would be a free-for-all, a rodeo of disaster.

But that’s the negative view. Some of my most radiant interactions with other human beings have been fleeting, glancing moments of small talk. It’s an extraordinary thing. A person stands before you, unknown, a complete stranger—and the merest everyday speech-morsel can tip you headfirst into the blazing void of his or her soul.

I was out walking the other day when a UPS truck rumbled massively to the curb in front of me. As the driver leaped from his cab to make a delivery, I heard music coming out of the truck’s speakers—a familiar, weightless strain of blues-rock noodle. There was a certain spacey twinkle in the upper registers, a certain flimsiness in the rhythm section … Yes. It had to be. The Grateful Dead, in one of their zillion live recordings. And I knew the song. It’s my favorite Dead song. “ ‘China Cat Sunflower’?” I said to the UPS guy as he charged back to his truck. A huge grin: “You got it, babe!”

The exchange of energy, the perfect understanding, the freemasonry of Deadhead-ness that flashed instantaneously between us, and most of all the honorific babe—I was high as a kite for the next 10 minutes, projected skyward on a pure beam of small talk.





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