TOPICS: Schnitzel giveaway a clucking success

SCHNITZEL, it’s so hot right now.

Following in the footsteps of the Newcastle Herald’s gut-busting schnitzel challenge, the CBD Hotel on Hunter Street was yesterday throwing down its own crumbed-chicken gauntlet, aiming to set a record for the number of the most eaten in a day by giving them away for free.

In truth, it was kind of an informal record, since no one has ever actually counted the statistic, but who cares, by 12.30pm they’d dispatched 1000, and the line-up for schnitzels was getting outrageous.

The schnitty giveaway was all about promoting the club’s recent $300,000 makeover, and despite the rate they were churning them out, owner Stephen Hunt also stood by the quality of his poultry.

‘‘There’s no point serving shitty schnitty,’’ he actually said.

‘‘We never cut corners on the size or quality.’’

All up, the club catered for 1400, a figure we’re told they reached easily.

‘‘Poor chickens,’’ Mr Hunt quipped.

THOSE closely following the ICAC investigations in Sydney may have spotted a familiar face among the crowd on Thursday.

Former Newcastle state MP Bryce Gaudry was in the public gallery to hear former premier Kristina Keneally describe how she ‘‘drove a stake through the heart’’  of attempts at corruption within her government.

Among a bunch of things, the ICAC is investigating whether corrupt former minister Eddie Obeid had a secret 30per cent shareholding in a private water enterprise called Australian Water Holdings, and tried to lobby his Labor colleagues to favour the company.

Rumours abounded after the hearing that Mr Gaudry received an air kiss from the former premier, rumours Mr Gaudry was only too happy to embellish.

‘‘Oh, it was quite an embrace,’’ he said.   

Video evidence of the encounter is inconclusive, but Mr Gaudry, a serial ICAC watcher, did describe Ms Keneally’s performance as ‘‘stellar’’.

‘‘I didn’t know she would be giving evidence but I used to sit next to Kristina when she first entered Parliament, I thought she was an outstanding witness,’’ he said.

‘‘She was very impressive.’’

Also giving evidence on Thursday was former Labor minister Michael Costa, who said he felt like Winston Wolfe, the well-dressed clean-up specialist in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, as he attempted to tidy up the company’s affairs.

Staunch members of different factions within the Labor party [Gaudry to the left, Costa to the right], it’s probably fair to say there were no embraces shared between the two after the hearing.

Pic: Dean Osland

Pic: Dean Osland

Pic: Simone De Peak

Pic: Simone De Peak

FOR months now, artist Kate Wilkins has been getting about with a big green chair, drawing and interviewing Newcastle residents.

It’s an art project called, funnily enough Big Green Chair, and ‘‘aims to get inside Newcastle’s head a little’’.

Wilkins was in King Street cafe Saluna yesterday, and among those getting the treatment was former Newcastle Herald general manager Julie Ainsworth.

The Big Green Chair project has been going since October  and is about to wrap up, but it’s a fascinating idea that a lot of people have gotten excited about.

You can check out an in-depth feature on Wilkins and her project in next week’s H2.