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    TRUE SPIRIT: Spirit of Punjab chefs, from left, Kamalpreet Singh Muhar or Kamal, Navjot Sharma or Jimmy, and Amrinder Singh or Amy are preparing to cook up a storm on Sunday, with all food takings to help Victorian farmers in need.

Halls Gap restaurant dishes out for drought support

Halls Gap’s Gary Singh knows all too well the stresses farmers can face in day-to-day life, let alone when disaster strikes. 

Mr Singh hails from India’s Punjab region, where his farming family struggled to make a living from a small amount of land. 

Landlords were paid with produce, rather than money, and goods were bartered. 

When Mr Singh migrated to Australia in 2005, he dreamt of living and working in rural Australia. In 2011, he made his home at Halls Gap, opening the Spirit of Punjab Indian restaurant. 

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Mr Singh said he had been deeply moved by ‘shocking headlines’ regarding Victorian farmers dealing with drought and bushfires.

To help farmers doing it tough, Mr Singh decided to donate all food takings from the restaurant on Sunday.

He will give the money to the Country Women’s Association, which has established infrastructure to directly help struggling farmers.

Spirit of Punjab customer Phil Coleman said Mr Singh was a good-hearted man who had done a lot for the Halls Gap community. 

He said he wanted to help promote Sunday’s fundraiser because it was a great cause. 

“The restaurant has become popular and typically is very busy on Sundays,” he said.

 “There is indoor seating for about 90 customers as well as outside tables.  

“Gary expects to raise a substantial amount, with all food takings donated to the CWA, including from take-away sales.”

Mr Coleman said donation boxes would be available and patrons would be treated to free entertainment by Halls Gap’s Joy Robson.

He said Spirit of Punjab had become a dining icon in the tourist town, loved by residents and visitors alike.

“Their meals are fresh, tasty and entirely prepared on the premises,” he said.

“Flavours are so critical to quality Indian cuisine that Gary still does all the spice purchasing himself on a 500km round-trip weekly day-trip to Ballarat and Melbourne.

“Spirit of Punjab is a busy restaurant, but I’d like them to be absolutely run off their feet on Sunday.”

The entire February 12, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!