Upon entering the BP Cluden Roadhouse in north Queensland, you might be lucky enough to hear songs coming from the kitchen, courtesy of 43-year-old Adam Jerri – the roadhouse’s very own singing chef.
The BP Cluden Roadhouse is located on the outskirts of Townsville across from the racecourse. It is one of the biggest roadhouses in the far north – and most days, more than 100 truckies pull up there, coming in from all over the country.
Here, they can fuel up, have a hot shower, enjoy a meal in the eatery or or purchase a takeaway before retiring to their sleeper box.
And they may just hear Jerri belting out a Tom Jones hit such as “The Green, Green Grass of Home” or perhaps a tune from Jimmy Barnes, Alan Jackson or Luke Holmes.
Jerri has also earned a reputation for being a very courteous worker. He is also a qualified baker, making him a big asset to the roadhouse.
I asked why he sings whilst at work. “It is something different and the customers seem to like it. I am known as the singing chef now. I also enjoy talking to customers as I like the yarn and dribble,” he said.
Often you will see Jerri walking to a table with a meal in hand for a hungry truckie. So I asked what some of their favourite dishes were.
“The three most popular are steak, parmigiana and hamburgers and we serve up big helpings at a reasonable price here. Five days out of seven the huge parking area here is full of trucks,” he said.
Born in Cessnock, NSW, Jerri started doing his apprenticeship as a chef in Charters Towers and finished it in Cairns.
“I have been a chef for 10 years and before that had always worked around food,” he said.
Along the way he found time to qualify as a baker and now tantalises the tastebuds of customers with a variety of dishes and pastries.
Jerri started working full-time at the BP Cluden 10 months ago, and is especially vocal with his songs when on night shift.
“I just like singing at work and people out in the eatery can hear me. Before starting here I used to come out and enjoy a meal,” he said.
Jerri’s long beard has become his trademark of Jerri, so I asked if anybody has ever told him he resembles Australian bushranger Ned Kelly.
“No but I get told all the time my beard in great,” he said.
Some of the staff at the roadhouse also reckon Jerri is “not a bad singer”.
During holidays, Jerri tries to get back to Cessnock to see his mother. And of course cook her plenty of delicious meals.