Community

Chef cooks up big BBQ idea

Gramado’s owner Saulo Camillo is organising a huge community picnic and BBQ. Photo: Matt Brown.

A group of big-hearted restauranteurs are banding together to give people a boost – with a huge community barbecue.

Some of Marlborough’s finest chefs have joined forces to organise a community picnic and BBQ to help bring people back together after lockdown.

The brainchild of Gramado’s owner Saulo Camillo, the idea has been inspired by his father who died at just 38 years old.

“He was the inspiration for my whole life, he was a big-hearted man.

“During lockdown I knew that it was going to be tough, so I had to find something to do that I love.

“For me, that’s Brazilian BBQ; It reminds me of my family.

“Our idea is in these desperate times to bring to families that have been having financial problems, that haven’t been able to take the kids out in a while,” he says.

The Gramado’s team dishing up BBQ at their first event following the lockdown. Photo: Supplied.
The Gramado’s team dishing up BBQ at their first event following the lockdown. Photo: Supplied.

Straight after lockdown, Saulo donated food to 38 families who had been nominated for a culinary treat.

Nominations flooded in and Saulo was encouraged to organise a larger event for 500 people.

It grew so large he reached out to fellow foodies to help. Karaka Cuisine, Arbor and Feast Merchants are all on board.

“I couldn’t cater 500 people by myself, so I asked for help,” he says.

Suppliers jumped on board too, Saulo says.

Westmeat, Te Mana, Bidfood and Meaters are providing ingredients.

“I had to ask for help, and it’s ok to ask for help; That’s why we have a community.

“We have a region that looks after each other.”

He says the event is for families and individuals that could have had it rough during these “desperate” times.

“It could be people that are lonely or couldn’t see their family during quarantine.

“Our idea is to have fun.

“We’re going to have fun with whoever is coming.”

He says he understands some families don’t want to show that they are in need, and so plans to have a central pick up area in town for takeaways.

“A lot of families probably won’t come, they don’t want to seem in need,” Saulo says.

“But it’s better to be together with someone who can lift you up.”

He says he hopes the event will continue and get bigger.

“In the last three weeks I’ve had more emails from people wanting to help than to join.

“If you can give a little – not even money, but time, you’re going to inspire more people to help.

“Together we can make Marlborough better.”

To nominate, email family name, contact number, address and the reason why they’re deserving to [email protected]

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