Kathy Birkinshaw manages the Chambers Cafe at the Ipswich Court House.
Kathy Birkinshaw manages the Chambers Cafe at the Ipswich Court House. Claudia Baxter

Cafe pioneer looking forward

YOU will find Jason Davidson and his team in the kitchen at parties, events or even one of his eateries.

He has established a strong following in the city over the years and if he is not familiar to you, then trading names like Fig Jam, Razor Sharp Catering Pty Ltd (now Fig Jam Catering), The Chambers cafe and the Ipswich Club will most likely connect.

He is passionate about his work and is always looking to today and the future as he, like so many business operators, navigate the way forward.

He is celebrating a milestone with The Chambers cafe at the Ipswich courthouse celebrating its first year.

"It has gone well. The Chambers is a sandwich bar and coffee shop, we do have some hot dishes but it is about quick takeaway food," Mr Davidson said.

This venue is heavily driven by the courts themselves in that he experiences days that are very busy and others not.

It is open from 7.15am to 3pm Monday to Friday and managed by Kathy Birkinshaw.

"We also do the catering for the watchhouse for Ipswich Police. We provide three meals a day every day of the year," he said.

This aspect of his business was not something he imagined doing, but it provides regular cashflow and work, not something you typically associate with the food industry.

Jason and wife Michelle keep very busy these days.

Although they finished operating Fig Jam in Limestone St last year - after seven years - they have several enterprises on the go.

It was catering that got there name out there into the local market.

"I started out working through the Karana Downs Golf Club in 1995 and that was how I started out doing catering jobs," Mr Davidson said.

Fig Jam catering is now a major player in catering services for a range of clients and functions.

Like all aspects of Jason's work, it is about quality and he strives to serve that up in every situation.

"This year has been tough following the floods, catering is down across the city but people are still recovering," he said.

The Davidson's have been managing the Ipswich Club as a facility for four years.

The restaurant did not fire as they hoped but the functions, corporate events and conferences are going very well.

"We have the range of facilities that clients need like internet access, whiteboards, a projector and the like."

The stately old manor provides a quiet and yet central venue with excellent catering provided under the watchful eye of Jason Davidson.

Mr Davidson has his finger on the pulse. For him closing Fig Jam was sad but he knew he needed to look to the future.

It is not new news that 2011 has been tough year with disasters affecting everyone.

"We have had weddings cancelled and other corporate events have also been cancelled or postponed.

"We have had brides who have lost everything so they just have to hold off the wedding, it is sad but it is just how it is at the moment," Mr Davidson said.

But with 16 years of hospitality under his belt, Jason Davidson and wife Michelle remain enthusiastic about the future and are confident that Ipswich will bounce back.

"It is hard for everyone at the moment but if we support each other, keep it local then we will make things just that much easier," he said.

The Chambers can be contacted on 3812 7088, Ipswich Club on 3281 4822.

For catering enquires call 3281 3865, or check them out on Facebook.

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