Cooking up new ideas for kitchen

A DUBBO kitchen available for hire could feed theatre enthusiasts and contribute more to city coffers after its million-dollar refurbishment.

The imminent facelift would make the cooking amenities at the theatre suitable for a la carte dining and a range of uses, Dubbo City Council's David Dwyer said.

As the council prepared to let a tender for the works, Mr Dwyer said the Hilton Hotel-style update of the kitchen could result in more use of the entire venue.

With loan repayments and other expenditure outstripping revenue at the Dubbo Regional Theatre and Convention Centre (DRTCC), such a bright outlook may relieve ratepayers.

The council has called for tenders to refurbish the centre's kitchen and function room after securing a $1.2 million federal grant.

The windfall has allowed a complete re-think of the 1960s-era facility at what was once called Dubbo Civic Centre.

The council had planned the kitchen to have better efficiency, its community services director said.

"Caterers will now be able to cater for larger crowds more efficiently and more reliably," Mr Dwyer said.

The works would transform a kitchen currently geared for large sit-down dinners like the city's annual business awards, where hundreds of people were served at the same time, he said.

After refurbishment it would also adapt to dining in the individual order or a la carte style.

While the DRTCC kitchen would continue to be available for hire rather than have a contracted restaurateur like Western Plains Cultural Centre, the council was looking at potentially profitable opportunities.

It recently attempted to gauge interest in pre-show dinners among thousands of theatre subscribers through a survey.

Mr Dwyer said if someone approached with an idea to book out the kitchen and be the entrepreneur, promoting pre-theatre dinners for a set of shows, the offer would be considered.

"They could take the risk and see how it goes," he said.

The council collected $64,043 for convention centre hire and $5505 for kitchen hire in 2011/2012.

DRTCC's expenditure exceeds its revenue by more than $2.3 million but the figure includes loan repayments of more than $1.08 million among other factors.

Overall DRTCC was used for 278 days in the previous financial year.

Business and community-related events accounted for 150 of those days and 128 days were for performing arts-related events.

faye.wheeler@ruralpress.com

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