The Big Cheese

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Lizard Island’s Winston Fong

This week, Travel Weekly caught up with Lizard Island’s newly appointed executive chef, Winston Fong, to find out how he’s been faring since the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

What are you reading?

Atomic Habits by James Clear. It’s about how to change your habits to be one per cent better every day.

What are you watching?

Nothing really! I try to avoid TV, but every now and then I am a sucker for a travel/cooking show.

What are you listening to?

Whatever I am feeling. I am loving Rüfüs Du Sol at the moment, with a hint of Hans Zimmer thrown in there so I don’t get too distracted.

What are you cooking?

Nothing! I get cooked for every day.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

Mentally, sleep. It’s really important to rest your mind. I also enjoy decluttering my life at least once a week.

Keeping physically active is also important for your mental fitness. Getting out in the sun, gardening, going for a walk – it’s all valuable to my mental and physical health.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

Making time to talk to my partner, family and friends. It’s really important to me to stay connected and it definitely keeps me sane!

The guests we have visiting the lodge at the moment definitely also keep me sane. They remind me what an incredible life I lead living in such a remote location.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

Australians experiencing Australia and the awakening of what’s in our own backyard. Also, the boom in luxury travel – the market is insane!

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That I am okay with last-minute changes and can be extremely flexible. That, in these times it’s okay to be completely reactive and okay not to be proactive!

What’s your advice for others in the MICE industry on coping with the crisis?

Don’t try and control the crisis – go with the flow. Don’t sweat over not predicting the market or what’s going to happen next week. Continue to provide the service your guests come for and value. Be prepared for 100 per cent occupancy!