A well-known and respected hospitality identity has pulled the plug this week on her pasta business and Italian eatery.
A well-known and respected hospitality identity has pulled the plug this week on her pasta business and Italian eatery.

Hospitality identity pulls plug on foodie venture

She put up a mighty fight but, in the end, COVID-19 proved too tough of an adversary.

Well-known and respected Brisbane hospitality identity Claire Parviz this week pulled the plug on her pasta business and Italian eatery in the West End.

Parviz wound up her CJ's Pasta and Cafe Pty Ltd business, appointing Steve Dixon from bean counting firm Hamilton Murphy to act as liquidator.

She is still operating her popular Spaghetti House Trattoria at South Bank.

Claire Parviz with Rydges GM Dominic Rose at the height of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP
Claire Parviz with Rydges GM Dominic Rose at the height of the coronavirus crisis. Picture: Richard Gosling/AAP

Parviz, a hardworking single mum from the UK, operated CJ's as both a wholesale and retail operation selling pasta.

Just last year she and her daughter, Leila, converted a small kitchen in the complex into a tiny Italian restaurant dubbed "CJ's Secret Pasta Club''. It had just 14 seats.

Their involvement with CJ's came about almost by accident.

The business, originally launched in 1996, was the main supplier of gourmet-quality pasta to Spaghetti House, which threw open its doors seven years ago.

When the previous owners of CJ's decided to call it quits, Parviz snapped up the business two years ago and relocated it to its present Hoogley St location, previously home to a catering outfit.

As recently as May the eatery's Facebook page said it was "doing a bit of winter hibernating'' and that customers should "stay tuned for #PastaClub 2.0''.

A HELPING HAND

It seems grimly ironic that CJ's has now fallen victim to the hammer blow of coronavirus restrictions since Parviz was supremely generous to others affected by the lockdown.

Back in April she donated loads of lasagnes from the Spaghetti House to help feed guests staying at Rydges South Bank. Those folks were travellers stuck in self-isolation after returning to Australia.

A month earlier Parviz had been personally delivering lasagnes to loyal customers as she battled to keep her businesses afloat.

She was also feeding casual staff who had been let go, many of whom were from overseas and struggling to pay rent.

Claire Parviz, with daughter Leila.
Claire Parviz, with daughter Leila.

"I have worked so hard for so long - it is absolutely heartbreaking," Parviz said at the time. "We are staying open for as long as we can. My family is working for nothing to help out, and I'm still feeding staff I've had to lay off."

In case this wasn't enough, she oversaw a fundraiser in January to raise funds for bushfire relief. That seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it?

Parviz's troubles were compounded this week by the untimely death of her good mate Michael Falzon, the actor who starred in We Will Rock You. He was just 48 when he succumbed to cancer.

Neither Parviz nor Dixon returned calls seeking comment on Thursday.

SETTING UP SHOP

A seasoned executive at the Queensland Resources Council has quietly exited and set up shop on his own.

Kirby Anderson quit the peak coal lobby in March after a two-year stint as a policy director and has since launched PolicyWonks, a marketing and communications outfit.

He's also taken on a non-executive director's job this month on the board of the RSPCA.

Anderson's latest pivot follows a long career in government jobs, including a two-year posting as a senior media adviser and deputy chief of staff for Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

In an odd twist of fate, he also once worked as a senior adviser for the Premier's father, former MP Henry Palaszczuk.

BIG ISSUE RETURNS

In another sign that some semblance of normalcy is returning to Brisbane's CBD, those fluoro vest-wearing floggers of The Big Issue will be back on the streets starting Monday after a three-month absence.

It will all be coronavirus-safe, of course, with plenty of hand sanitiser and digital payment options.

This month marks the 24th anniversary of the magazine, launched to help the homeless and disadvantaged.

Since its humble start in Melbourne, more than 13 million copies of the magazine have been sold. That's put in excess of $31 million into vendors' pockets.

 

Originally published as Hospitality identity pulls plug on foodie venture