Wayne Puddepha is expecting the Tweed to eat 10 tonnes of prawns this Christmas.
Wayne Puddepha is expecting the Tweed to eat 10 tonnes of prawns this Christmas. Felicia Kosegi

Prawns on the menu

WHEN Wayne Puddepha arrived in Australia from the UK 14-years-ago he had never seen a decent sized prawn, let alone eaten a big one on Christmas Day.

But since buying the wholesale section of Warren Markwell Seafood eight-years-ago, he has begun to understand the Australian tradition of the Christmas day prawn.

The business sells about five tonnes of prawns in the Christmas week alone and 10 tonnes throughout the Christmas holidays.

More than 30-tonnes in total is expected to pass through the doors of Warren Markwell Seafood operation.

“I think it will be a big year this year, even on the fish side,” Mr Puddepha said yesterday.

Mr Puddepha said most of the time prawns make up less than one-third of sales, but Christmas is the exception.

“Predominantly we sell more fish than prawns, but at this time of year the roles are reversed.”

Last year was a bit of an eye-opener for Mr Puddepha and he admitted he underestimated the Tweed’s appetite for prawns.

By midday Christmas Eve he had run out and had to frantically order more supplies.

Customers waited three hours as the line stretched up Chinderah Bay Drive.

But this year pre-order have doubled to more than 1000 and Mr Puddepha is offering home deliveries to local customers for the first time.

However, the reaction to the service by some customers has left Mr Puddepha surprised.

He said four or five customers have turned down home delivery because they consider visiting the seafood shop on Christmas Eve a tradition that they enjoy – even if it means waiting in line.

According to Mr Puddepha the reason’s for the love of prawns and seafood are obvious – they are a cool meal on what is always a hot day.

Mr Puddepha said his prawns are sourced from the ocean around Tweed, Mooloolaba, Hervey Bay and as far north as Cape York, where he sources Endeavour prawns.

He said the Endeavours were a cheaper option for a quality prawn and he will be selling them for about $20-a-kilo.

Traditional favourites such as Kings and Tigers are around the $29-a-kilo mark.

Mr Puddepha started working at the business as a freezer boy at Southport and when the opportunity came up to buy the wholesale section, he jumped at the opportunity.

And at the Puddepha Christmas party a big platter of seafood will replace the roast this year.

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