Two Point Cook chefs are making the best of a bad situation – with doughnuts.
Alex Lam Cheung and James Huynh, who moved from New Zealand to further their culinary careers, were among the thousands of workers stood down and laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than a million workers face losing their jobs as the federal government forces business closures to stop the spread of the virus.
Outside Werribee Centrelink last week, hundreds of newly unemployed people lined up in a queue that snaked from Synnot Street to Watton Street.
Alex and James, both permanent employees, were stood down from Oh Happy Day Cafe last Friday, along with eight of their co-workers.
The duo immediately launched an online business, Crucial Dough, selling doughnuts for pick up from pop up locations in Point Cook and Melbourne CBD.
Alex said it was the “Kiwi” thing to do.
“We knew the day was going to come that [Oh Happy Day Cafe] would close and we can’t get any government help,” he said.
“But we can’t sit here crying about it. We’ve gotta get up and do something.
“Being Kiwis, we always find a way to get over a sticky situation.
“We’re not going to let fear make decisions for us.”
The 25 year-old mates started their careers together in New Zealand eight years ago.
Alex relocated to Australia in 2015 and James joined him just nine months ago.
They said the name of their popup business, Crucial Dough, reflected their needs and current situation.
James and his two housemates all lost their jobs within the past week.
“We’ve all lost our jobs and the rent needs to be paid,” he said.
“Because of the situation we’re in, we’ve got to look after ourselves before we can look after anybody else.
“We’ve already had a lot of orders come in, and provided the government doesn’t close takeaway food vendors, then we will keep going.”