Food vendors mark Rocky festival as must-attend event

RIVER FEST: Paella Magic's John Williams and Stuart Williams have done a roaring tradie.
RIVER FEST: Paella Magic's John Williams and Stuart Williams have done a roaring tradie. Allan Reinikka ROK160717ariverfe

EPIC was the word Stuart Williams used to describe his first experience of running his food stall, Paella Magic at the Rockhampton River Festival.

Stuart, 43, who hails from the Gold Coast, was beaming and enjoying the music playing from a nearby stage as he loaded his second last tray of Paella for the line of hungry customers.

He started out casually making paella at home before throwing in his job in marketing three-and-a-half years ago to chase a dream of running his own food catering business.

"People are really friendly and have embraced paella which is great, we weren't exactly sure how it was going to go up here, but it's gone really good,” Stuart said.

"Paella is probably one of the most famous dishes out of Spain, it's a rice, meat and vege dish. I'm doing a chicken and chorizo flavour.”

Local foodies lavished Stuart's paella with glowing reviews on social media causing the line to grow ever longer to his food stall.

Over the weekend he estimated over 900 customers looking to experience a different culinary experience had eaten their way through 33 massive trays of his tasty traditional Spanish dish.

"There's a really good vibe about Rockhampton and the river, the way the council has upgraded the facilities here, it's really nice,” he said.

He was full of praise for his experience saying he'd be back next year and he urged other interested food catering businesses to apply.

Bundaberg's Bill Prins who brought his Dutch Poffertjes House for the first time to the River Festival was impressed by the event and also planned to return next year.

He suggested a few improvements, including reducing the number of food vendors selling the same product and giving preference to those within the broader Central Queensland area.

Topics:  rockhampton river festival

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