Blue bus serves ‘good food rather than sexy food’ to showbiz stars

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By Gabrielle Hall

He’s served dinner to Tom Cruise, Mick Jagger, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving, but caterer to the stars, Steve Marcus is more star-struck by many of his remote and beautiful work locations than any of the big name stars he’s fed.

Steve and his ‘big, blue catering bus’ have been travelling around Australia for 30 years, feeding hungry actors, film crews and big name performers as part of his film catering business.

Born and bred in Adelaide, Steve went jackarooing around Broken Hill as a 17-year-old before eventually moving to Kangaroo Island where he developed an insight into the hospitality industry.

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Steve Marcus inside the “Blue Bus”

He studied two years full-time Hotel and Restaurant Management at Regency Park, finishing dux of the course, and it wasn’t long before Broken Hill came calling again and he opened a fine dining restaurant there.

During this time, Steve bought a delicenced two-storey hotel with the intention of turning it into fine accommodation – which he eventually did 19-years-ago with wife, Robbie – but also to use as a base for a film catering business.

Since 2006, Steve has been based in Clare – about 130 kilometres north of Adelaide – from where he and his converted passenger bus travel out to film and music concert locations.

With three commercial ovens, a cool room, a 1400 litre water tank and grey water storage, plus a big generator to keep things moving, Steve Marcus Film Catering’s blue bus is like an oasis in some of Australia’s most remote and beautiful countryside.

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Pit stop on the way to next ‘assignment’ thousands of kilometres down the track

Steve has driven numerous times the 10,000km round trip to the Kimberleys, the length of the Birdsville Track, Perth, Broken Hill, Darwin, the Flinders Ranges, Fleurieu Peninsula – you name it, Steve and his bus have been there.

“This is my fifth bus now, they get better every time, but it will probably be my last,” he says.

Catering in such remote locations takes a huge amount of organisation, and there are plenty of challenges along the way – from flies, to sand and heat.

“You have to be well-organised and there’s a contingency plan for everything,” Steve says.

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Hugo Weaving one of many stars to be served by ‘Blue Bus’

He has catered for Hollywood blockbusters, Day on the Green concerts, ads and television series, but undoubtedly, one of Steve’s biggest jobs – and also one of the most remote – was catering for the four Outback Cattle Drives …. Birdsville to Marree, William Creek to Marree and on the world’s largest cattle station, Anna Creek Station.

“The cattle drive was seven days a week, three meals a day for 150 people,” Steve says.

“We had a refrigerated semi-trailer come in once a week with fresh supplies.

“That was 41 days straight and that’s probably the biggest body of work I’ve ever done.”

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Steve’s reputation for film catering has been cemented by word of mouth over the years, but he says his approach is simple.

“Someone told me years ago, the trick to film catering is to make food simple, recognisable and easy to eat,” he says.

“I guess I do bloody good food, rather than sexy and pretty food.”

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