Brendan, the owner and founder of BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park, has been cooking up pancakes every Sunday morning for park guests for 22 years. In 1997 he had the idea to cook pancakes for his guests as a way of building interaction between guests. Everyone is given a name tag with their first name and where they are from. It is amazing how every week, people find themselves next to someone from the same suburb or town.
Overseas guests love it too as it encourages interaction with Australians and international guests alike. Brendan custom built a trailer with a giant BBQ, enough to take 20 dinner plate size pancakes in one go. He supplies maple syrup, chocolate and caramel toppings, lemon, butter and sugar to go with the pancakes. Brendan has a secret recipe for his pancakes, which he makes up in buckets and mixes with a modified paint stirrer.
The record for the most pancakes cooked in one day is 920. On average in the June/July school holidays, they will cook 500 – 600 pancakes every Sunday. During the quiet season it is still 100 – 150 pancakes a day.
Never letting a chance go by to help local charities, Brendan collects gold coin donations at pancake breakfast for the Royal Flying Doctor – and to date has raised thousands of dollars for RFDS.
Brendan is also in big demand around town with his pancake trailer and regularly supports local community events with free pancakes; such as the Running and Walking Club Australia Day breakfast on the local council lawns (7 years running), YMCA King of the Mountain Fun Run on the top of Mt Gillen (10 years), Mental Health Awareness Day ( 3 years), Alice Springs Town Council Pets on Parade (2 years), Easter in the Alice Mountain Bike Competition (1 year).
So if you’re in the park, you’re bound to see Brendan behind his pancake trailer, in his special pancake apron, with his trademark cheery grin dishing out his pancakes. He says he never gets sick of it and loves the opportunity to have a chat with guests and see them enjoying his pancakes.
There have been many who have tried to imitate us, but none as good as the original Pancake Man – Brendan Heenan.