To be honest I’ve been in a state of shock for the last few weeks. I found having to close down the restaurant and outside catering operation extremely stressful and totally depressing. I’ve gone through so many different emotions during this lockdown and like hundreds of other chefs around the country, we are now facing the harsh realities of what our restaurants, our careers, our lives, might look like if we can even get our business up and running again.
I have to say that as the fog of doubt and fear in my mind has cleared slightly over the last few days, I’m not very optimistic about the prospects of so many restaurants and catering businesses here in Majorca. I think the whole situation has shown us that the industry is on even shakier ground than we thought. With a slow winter season, tight cash flows, high overheads, and an over-reliance on tourists, it’s a delicate balance for most of us and we are now totally adrift in uncharted waters. It’s almost like the perfect storm! Having just gone through another long, hard winter season on the Island, we were all gearing up to attack the spring and summer seasons with positivity and hope and then, boom!
Everything closed down, zero income and fixed monthly overheads that still have to be paid. All the signs point to the likelihood that restaurants as we know them aren’t coming back for a long while, and I fear there will be disruption and uncertainty for the restaurant industry until there is some sort of vaccine…2021 at best.
From speaking to a few of my colleagues, we are all uncertain what the future holds. We still have no idea when, and more importantly, how we can open. Most are of the opinion that we’ll lose less money remaining closed than trying to open right now, especially with no tourists and airports closed. Although it’s clear we will be operating in a different world than before the lockdowns began. Social distancing is here to stay for a long time, and restaurants are now being forced to open with fewer covers and more space between tables…logically meaning our turnover will be drastically reduced and we will have no choice but to reduce the size of our teams. There will probably need to be temperature checks for clients and staff and, kitchen and dining areas may have to be redesigned to accommodate staff and customer physical distancing. How’s that going to work for so many small restaurants and bars here on the Island?
It’s clear that not all of us will make it, and not all of us will perish. But I can’t easily discern the determining factors, even though thinking about which restaurants will survive and why has become an obsession for me these past weeks. When restaurants reopen, by force or by choice it definitely won’t be a return to business as usual. There will simply be no way to fit in as many guests as before and tourists and local customers will not return for some time in the numbers they used to. Restaurants will probably start another futile price war offering even cheaper menus to attract locals and everyone will offer a take out service. But the hard truth is that any existing restaurant business model is incompatible with this new social and economic reality right now, so we all have a lot of head scratching to do…
However, with all this extra time on our hands there are no excuses to get in the kitchen to prepare a few ‘immunity-boosting’ smoothies every morning to stay strong & healthy during the lockdown. Here are a couple of simple recipes to get you started. Stay healthy & stay safe!
Strawberry, banana & quinoa smoothie
· 1 large ripe banana
· 200g low-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
· 125g cooked quinoa, cooled
· 1 tbsp honey
· 300g frozen strawberries (if you have fresh, freeze them first)
· 150ml almond or soy milk
In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth.
Cranberry & granola smoothie with almond milk
· 250g fresh or frozen cranberries
· 150ml cranberry juice
· 1 banana, peeled & sliced
· 200ml almond milk
· 150g natural yoghurt
· 1tbsp granola
· Juice of one lime
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend to a smooth puree. Serve immediately.
Banana, orange and ginger smoothie
· 3 bananas
· 1tsp freshly grated ginger
· 1tbsp clear honey
· 400ml natural greek yoghurt
· Juice of 2 oranges
· Juice of 1 lime
· 8 ice cubes
Combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth. Serve ice cold in long, tall glasses.