ALREADY a must-see on the Queensland tourist trail, Endeavour Foundation's Kingaroy Kitchen is adding another exciting ingredient, thanks to the launch of its café.
The popular social enterprise provides employment and training opportunities for 29 people with a disability in the South Burnett region.
Working in teams to bake and cook, package and despatch, supported employees are empowered to take ownership of their roles and develop skills at their own pace and to match their own interests.
Now the tightly-knit team is unveiling its latest venture, and looking forward to showing off a host of new skills.
"Our new café will not only help us to ensure that Kingaroy Kitchen remains viable, but will also allow the team to keep learning and growing," manager Paul Lowe said.
"The team will be learning new recipes, taking on more responsibility and increasing their confidence as they interact with the general public.
"Of course our success will rely not only on having great food and top notch service, but on visitors to the area and locals alike coming out and supporting us.
"Given that inclusion is a real challenge for many people with a disability, this is also a great platform for the team to debunk myths and challenge perceptions.
"I can't wait for them to show customers how capable they are, and how much they have to offer the community."
Highlighting the importance of the business to everyone involved, Paul said that supported employment is much more than having somewhere to go for eight hours a day.
"This is a commercial kitchen with stringent standards and a business outlook like any other, but our core purpose is to provide employment that enriches people's lives," Paul said.
"That's what keeps us working and keeps us innovating - Kingaroy Kitchen is more than just a job for everybody who works here."
Nanango man Andy Simmons, a supported employee for the past seven years, agrees.
"I did a course in hospitality at TAFE and then worked different places, but I didn't like open employment and was really happy to move to Kingaroy Kitchen.
"I love learning new skills and the people that work here are great. I'm on a Line Assistant traineeship at the minute, which means I'm learning how to lead a small team.
"I'm looking forward to the additional responsibility, and I like that we get to decide what we want to achieve."
Encouraging people to drop in and sample the café's superb range of sweet and savoury foods, from freshly made salads, sandwiches and wraps, hot meals and - of course - pies, to home baked cakes, muffins and scones, Paul said that exciting times lie ahead.
"This is a new dawn for Kingaroy Kitchen.
"We've worked hard to create a fantastic, comfortable and accessible space for people to enjoy in tandem with great food. We look forward to seeing you there."
Drop in to the café at 17 Kingaroy Street, Kingaroy, open 7.30 am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, or order some of their signature jams, chutneys and biscuits at www.kingaroykitchen.com.au.
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