Off to Cottage by the Sea I go for a very rewarding day working in the kitchen as chef for the day. Greeted by lovely warm smiles, the smell of freshly brewed coffee and children’s laughter and happiness echoing through the hallways makes for a perfect start to the day!

After an energizing morning coffee and quick chat, it’s into preparation for all the days’ meals. Temperature checks of all the fridges and freezers are carried out first to make sure all our food is at the right temperature. Now it’s all systems go!

Our Wonderful volunteer Stella arrives and after a quick chat to set out our days’ work, it’s into preparing morning tea. Fruit is cut up for our beautiful coloured platters and always consist of the freshest in season fruits such as watermelon, apples, grapes, oranges, strawberries, pineapples and bananas just to name a few. The watermelon is always a huge favourite! A sweet treat of freshly baked muffins, biscuits or a slice will also be on offer.

As the morning ticks on we start on lunch for the day, we are making crispy chicken wraps – YUMMY! They always popular with children, staff and volunteers!

Chicken is prepared and cooked on an open grill till tender and crispy, the smell wafting in the hallways always draws those walking past to pop in and give a big thumbs-up! The salad is sliced and prepared and consists of lettuce, tomato, carrot, cheese and cucumber. Next the wraps are warmed, the mayonnaise is applied and it’s time to wrap!

In between jobs our dishes are mounting up and many of our wonderful dish fairies pop in throughout the day to turn them sparkling clean!

With wraps prepared for all children, staff and volunteers we start to organise and set the tables for lunch. Our group of children will be sitting on the decking today making the most of our spectacular ocean views over Queenscliff!

Cutlery, cups, serviettes, and chilled water jugs set the table for a yummy shared lunch together, time is ticking and the sound of hungry tummies grows stronger and stronger.

Twelve o’clock on the dot and happy hungry children are ready to make their way to the decking. Sitting down they happily enjoy their wraps and the company of each other with plenty of cheeky smiles and laughs throughout, Meanwhile the staff and volunteers find a spare seat enjoy their lunch just as much.

Fruit platters are served after lunch and then quick as a flash the children are off, excited for the rest of the day’s activities.

Time to clean up and reset the tables for dinner at 5pm. Many dishes are washed (thank goodness for our amazing dishwasher) and our wonderful dish fairies! With our kitchen sparkling clean we prepare a couple more fruit platters for afternoon tea then start to organise dinner.

Tonight’s dinner is lasagne, salad and garlic bread - another Cottage favourite! For the next three-hours dinner, brownie and ice-cream for dessert is lovingly prepared over many laughs and shared stories and if time is kind, a sneaky batch of berry and choc muffins will entice many towards the kitchen with their delicious lingering smells!

Five o’clock and dinner is read. Hungry and excited children thunder down the hall ready for another delicious meal, there are plenty of laughs and smiles all around!

Time to hang our aprons up and go home after a fabulous day in the kitchen feeding our Cottage by the Sea clan! 

- Mel (Camp Leader and Part-Time Chef)