Meet the ‘Quarantine Karen’ transforming her ‘inedible’ hotel meals into VERY impressive restaurant-quality creations
- Sarra Costello came up with a genius use of her spare time in hotel quarantine
- While she awaited her 14-day sanction to be cleared Sarra turned to food prep
- She is using Instagram to show ‘before and after’ photos of her ‘inedible’ meals
- By using sauces to decorate the plate and cutting food up, they look delicious
- She has transformed spring rolls, a Weetbix breakfast and vanilla mousse
A self-described ‘quarantine Karen’ serving out her mandatory 14-day hotel lockdown in Australia has transformed her ‘inedible’ hotel meals into restaurant-quality creations.
Sarra Costello flew from Bali to Sydney at the end of July and was bunkered down with her husband at The Sheraton Grand in Hyde Park.
She created an Instagram account called The Forged Foodie with the purpose of keeping herself busy three times a day turning her plastic wrapped breakfast, lunch and dinners into spectacular works of art.
‘It was also a way to keep the spirits up of other quarantine people. They responded quite well and it gave them something to look forward to daily,’ Sarra told FEMAIL.
On one evening her plain banana mousse became a ‘smooth and creamy vanilla and banana sweet mousse’ topped with English breakfast tea granules and a cut up pear
One day she was given Weetbix, a banana, milk and croissant for breakfast (pictured)
So she turned it into ‘breakfast wheat crumbles, strawberry organic yoghurt, Indonesian banana served with a mini French pastry’ (pictured)
There are 27 meals on the social media website, with dishes ranging from ‘wheat loaf served with organic raspberry purée’ – or Weetbix and berry yoghurt – to ‘organic cheddar served with coco wafers and a trimmed pear tower – or cheese and crackers with a pear and Tim Tam biscuit.
‘It was a nice platform for all of the quarantine team members to share their stories and questions, funny moments and even have a little whinge,’ she said.
‘It was humorous to me being in a five-star hotel and getting served meals that looked like they had been blended on the way up to get dropped off.’
Some of her best designs have incorporated wine glasses and fancy cutlery she asked for from reception before taking the professional-looking photos.
Dinner was a ‘pan seared free range chicken served with a beetroot mash, roasted yams, roasted beets and a seven layer potato au gratin’, which originally came in a takeaway container with a side of bottled water
For lunch during the week she was given a Kasoundi quinoa with roasted eggplant (pictured)
And it quickly became an ‘organic quinoa salad served in freshly baked sourdough cups, roasted eggplant, green olives and organic locally sourced red capsicums’ (pictured)
One day she turned Weetbix, a banana, milk and croissant into ‘breakfast wheat crumbles, strawberry organic yoghurt, Indonesian banana served with a mini French pastry’.
And on another evening Sarra’s plain banana mousse became a ‘smooth and creamy vanilla and banana sweet mousse’ topped with English breakfast tea granules and a cut up pear.
‘This is a bloody work of art. I love how you interpreted the banana mousse literally,’ one person said.
Dinner was a ‘pan seared free range chicken served with a beetroot mash, roasted yams, roasted beets and a seven layer potato au gratin’, which originally came in a takeaway container with a side of bottled water.
One of her most inventive ideas was to turn a salmon into a type of ‘polenta’ and serve it in a bread roll (right)
A messy range of potatoes and vegetables with spring rolls was served one dinner (pictured)
But before long it became a fantastic Asian-inspired dish with a side of apple juice (pictured)
For lunch during the week she snacked on an ‘organic quinoa salad served in freshly baked sourdough cups, roasted eggplant, green olives and organic locally sourced red capsicums’ which began its life as a Kasoundi quinoa salad.
‘I am loving your page! We just got into quarantine yesterday and I’m tempted to give this a go. I don’t think they will turn out quite as good though,’ said another.
In a separate Instagram Story Sarra said because she was given a really nice room that she was super grateful for, she wasn’t about to complain about the ‘s*** food’.
‘I’m happy to make it pretty because most of it goes in the trash,’ she said.
She does have a problem with the amount of plastic wrapping being used to serve the food, and has encouraged other ‘quarantine Karens’ to raise this with the ‘people in charge of this program’.
Sarra’s meat pie and cheese became an ornate meal one lunchtime (pictured)
While she didn’t actually eat a lot of the meals she prepared, she had fun in the process (pictured)
Sarra has been in the food and beverage business her whole adult career, owning restaurants in California and Bali.
‘I wanted to poke fun at the food getting served because you can dress up practically anything. The plates were made to look like proper gourmet dishes and also more desirable,’ she said.
She was released from quarantine on August 5 but is continuing to post content she had leftover.
‘I’ll be going on the road soon and taking over the quarantine Karen’s guide to servo and road side food plating,’ she said.