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Friday night buffet friends

Friday night buffet friends

Slicing open the new ‘live cooking buffet’ are executive chef Kupsami Goundar and regular patrons, from left: Barbara Partridge; Sonja Graafland; Yvonne Souter and Corrie Romijn.

The women and their husbands represent a collective 40 years of Friday night buffet dining at Whitby’s at the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor.

The buffet has operated every night since the hotel opened 33 years ago. Hotel general manager, John Primmer, thought who better to open the new live cooking buffet than the Friday night regulars, the Souters of Whitby, the Partridges of Woburn, the Graaflands of Vogeltown and the Romijns of Miramar.

“They never book, we know they are coming and the tables they prefer. They let us know when they will be out of town, they’re like family,” said John Primmer.

For the last 13 years Ray and Barbara Partridge, who married and had their wedding reception at the hotel 25 years ago, have a booking for 5.30 p.m. every Friday.

Whitby residents, Dave and Yvonne Souter have been dining at table 22 every Friday night at Whitby’s for seven years, but they also dine there on one or two other nights during the week.

Peter and Corrie Romijn’s booking has been written in the book each Friday night for 13 years. Over the last six years, Sonja and Ari Graafland have joined them and have become ‘Friday night friends’dining at table 20.

So what makes the buffet such a popular dining option? The Soutars like the staff, the Partridges the view and the range of dishes, the Graaflands enjoy resident pianist Shaun Johnson in the Piano Bar; the Partridges like the fact Whitby’s is not a noisy restaurant and that car-parking is never a bother; the Romijns enjoy the buffet experience followed by an evening stroll along Lambton Quay before driving home.

Chef, Kupsami Gander, says the new buffet area is larger and enables him to provide a wider selection comprising: two soups, a salad and seafood bar; eight hot dishes; roast of the day; a steamboat; seafood, chicken or beef and vegetables cooked in front of guests to their preference and an extensive desert bar featuring a special ice-cream freezer.


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