A Queensland celebrity chef has been given just 24 hours to shut the doors on his popular Noosa restaurant after it fell to financial pressures.
On Friday, investors pulled the pin on Alba by Kuruvita, the Noosa restaurant headed by chef and media personality Peter Kuruvita, just two years after it opened.
The ritzy restaurant was credited with putting Noosa on the foodie map, having won chefs hats and been named one of Queensland’s top 100 restaurants.
But on Friday, the shock decision was made to close the restaurant and its affiliated businesses — including a cafe, pizzeria, cooking school, shop and function venue, all on the same property — with just 24 hours’ notice.
Alba’s directors and shareholders, led by Rod McCready of Altum Property Group, were behind the unexpected shutdown, having commissioned Mr Kuruvita for a two-year collaboration at the Noosa Heads site.
“I found out on Friday, and then we closed after Saturday night’s service,” said Mr Kuruvita, per the Courier Mail.
“They engaged me, we created this beautiful place and the collaboration has come to an end. The decision to close was not mine, it was theirs and I feel like we were successful in what we set out to do.”
The property, which is just outside Noosa golf course, will be transformed into a full-time functions business for weddings, parties and events.
Existing functions bookings will be honoured until a final decision on what to do with the property is made.
“Forever increasing regulatory burdens and inflationary pressures have made it a challenge,” Mr McCready said of the decision to close.
“We’ve really enjoyed our time working there with staff and customers and made a lot of lifelong friends and Alba is looking forward to its new redesigned future.”
The surprise closure left Mr Kuruvita scrambling to find new employment for his staff at nearby Noosa restaurants. He said all workers and suppliers will be paid their full entitlements.
People with gift certificates to the restaurant or cooking school would also be refunded.
But the closure clearly came as a shock, with Mr Kuruvita saying he’s unlikely ever to return to the restaurant business.
“I’m not leaving town. I’m definitely hanging around, but you probably won’t see me in another restaurant again,” he said.
“This year is 45 years in the kitchen and I’m just looking forward to being in and around Noosa and working with Sunshine Coast Tourism and maybe an ambassador role.”
Mr Kuruvita is behind several iconic Aussie and international restaurants, including Flying Fish at Sydney’s Star casino and two restaurants in Fiji.
He has starred in food documentaries for SBS, including My Sri Lanka with Peter Kuruvita and Peter Kuruvita’s Coastal Kitchen.
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