Business South May 2021

| 103 HOSPITALITY Gramado’s Restaurant & Bar Helping the community - Brazilian style T Kelly Deeks Saulo and the Gramado’s team started cooking at 5am to feed the multitudes; below, all ready to serve. order online 24/7 F irst for foodservice A cut above for fresh meat 03 547 5349 2/750 lower Queen St, Richmond. Dry Foods • Frozen Food • Fresh Meat Nationwide Foodservice Distributor Proud to supply Gramado’s Restaurant & Bar One-stop supply solution delivering quality fresh fruits & vegetables B lenheim restaurateur Saulo Camillo Nunes has become a nationally recog- nised food hero, as his efforts to give back to the community that supports him so well have brought the town together in a way he never dreamed of. Saulo and his wife Emma celebrated the eighth anniversary of their Brazilian fusion restaurant Gramado’s Restaurant and Bar and bar during lockdown. Reflecting on a fantastic eight years, the couple also worried about the future of their business, their staff, and the community. With his birthday approaching, Saulo decid- ed to put a spin on his usual big bash he has thrown for staff and friends for the past nine years, and instead cook a traditional Brazilian churrasco (barbecue) for 38 families who were struggling due to the effects of Covid. It was a significant time for Saulo, who was turning 38, the same age his father was when he passed away. He picked the day for the barbecue, May 24, two days before his birth- day and the anniversary of his father’s death. “Instead of feeling sad and missing my dad, I was determined to direct those feelings into doing something he could be proud of,” Saulo says. “We had a simple life in Brazil, but my dad would always put himself in the position to help someone if he could.” Calling for nominations of deserving fami- lies to attend the barbecue, Saulo was amazed by the response. 350 names were nominated, but many more hands went up offering to help. Saulo and the Gramado’s team handled the whole event, coming in on their day off to start cooking at 6am until 12.30pm. Three days later, planning was underway for a sec- ond, much larger event. Called ‘Together is Better’, the second event was a combined effort between Gramado’s, Arbour, Karaka Cuisine, Feast Merchants, BV Gourmet, and many other generous suppliers and local businesses, who on July 12, hosted a barbecue picnic for 500 people in the vine- yards behind Arbour. Saulo says from the first event, many people in need had been reluctant to be rec- ognised as such, so the second event was to cater not only for them but also for the local heroes around town. The cooking apparently was the easy part, although this time the team started at 5am and didn’t leave the premises until dark. The hardest part was the communication, the emails, the phone calls, and the organisa- tion it took to get everything picked up. The second event served 380 people in the vineyards, as well as sending 120 meals to the hospital and the police station. “It was amazing, we raised enough money to cook for 600. We had donations of meat, fruit, vegetables, desserts, wine, entertain- ment for the kids, and a band and a local dj who offered to play for free. It was fantastic, and we are now in talks for the next one.” Saulo reckons he can cook for 1000 people easy. His efforts earned him a spot in the finals of the local hero category of the 2020 NZ Food Heroes Awards. He says he could have kept doing his thing at Gramado’s, but by coming together, the region is made better for everyone. “And if everyone is feeling supported and doing well, then our entire region will be stronger for it. Times may be tough, but we can get through it better together.” “Instead of feeling sad and missing my dad, I was determined to direct those feelings into doing something he could be proud of.”