Isa Hotel's Rodeo Bar & Grill wins double at QLD hotel awards

QLD'S BEST: Nicole Neucom, Nadeesh Wickranasekara, Sampath Munasighe, Head Chef Gayan Amarasighe, Thisara Mallawaarachchi.

QLD'S BEST: Nicole Neucom, Nadeesh Wickranasekara, Sampath Munasighe, Head Chef Gayan Amarasighe, Thisara Mallawaarachchi.

Mount Isa can be proud of its local hotel restaurant this week as Isa Hotel’s ever popular Rodeo Bar and Grill wins two awards at Queensland Hotels Association Awards.

It confirms what everyone, including visitors, already knew – the Isa has some of the best food in town.

Chef Thisara Mallawaarachchi was also one of three finalists for Best Chef, a great achievement considering the size of Queensland.

New Isa Hotel manager, Stephen Searles, said the team is very proud of chef Thisara Mallawaarachchi, who excels in the kitchen.

“It’s a state wide award, and we are so proud of him,” Stephen said.

Thisara has been cheffing for eight years now, and arrived in Mount Isa direct from Sri Lanka. He attended the awards with head office management.

“It was the biggest event of the hospitality industry in Queensland. We are so proud to win two awards for the Harkfoort Group,” Thisara said.

"For me it’s the biggest thing I’ve ever got. I used to work in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) too and attended awards in Abu Dhabi, but this is bigger.

Thisara’s favourite dish to cook is the pasta carbonara, which is on their new menu.

The restaurant entered four categories in total, including Best Liquor Warehouse and Best Admin, which it won for its work in the Isa Hotel and Red Earth head office.

The Isa’s succulent steak cabinet displays a wide range of beautiful cuts, lovingly grilled by a team of proficient chefs led by Head Chef, Gayan Amarasighe.

“Steaks dancing on the grill, that’s my favourite,” Gayan said.

Gayan has done wonderful things for the Isa Hotel’s Rodeo Bar and Grill in his four years as Head Chef.

Coming straight from London, Gayan said the remoteness of Mount Isa took a bit of getting used to, but he is now proud to see the many tables of the Isa fill up each night.

“This grill has been my life for the four years almost,” Gayan said.

It’s amazing to service this town and its people.

"You can get paid, but when someone comes over and says ‘well done, chef’, that gives me the extra courage and determination to work harder," he said.

The team is 16 chefs strong, with six or seven working in the kitchen at any time.

“We also have the Thai restaurant next door, and we also do breakfast and all the room service as well,” Stephen said.

Isa Hotel is open for business 

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