Big O after big meal

Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison
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Memories of Sheffield’s legendary Fiesta Club – and its famous chicken in a basket meal – will come flooding back at a special reunion event.

Staff used to queue up to deliver Roy Orbison’s favourite meal – knowing they would be guaranteed a handsome tip from the performer nicknamed the Big O.

The legendary culinary dish, forever associated with the 1970s, became so popular at the Arundel Street cabaret club that waiting staff – better known as Fiesta Fawns – relied on them to make up their wages because they earned half a pence commission for every basket meal sold.

Gill Smith, who was mini-meals supervisor, recalls: “We only earned 25p an hour so it could make a big difference.

“We’d have the basket meals piled up high on our trays and wear big high heels – I don’t think we’d get away with it now.”

The meal is set to return to Arundel Street on the evening of Sunday, December 1, to mark the official launch of Neil Anderson’s ‘No Siesta ’Til Club Fiesta’ book about the iconic venue.

Former Fiesta Fawn Pat Bennett, who is helping organise the event at the Genting Club, said staff had to be on the ball.

She said: “I’d regularly be waiting on five different tables and would be carrying 20 drinks at a time and a jar for tips.

“You’d normally be serving in the dark so you’d regularly have to have a subtle sniff of the drinks so you didn’t get a Campari and soda given to the person that ordered the Dubonnet and lemonade.”

The evening will include an Elvis impersonators, a DJ set and book signing. Tickets are £16 including a chicken in a basket meal with vegetarian and scampi options. There will also be a complimentary £5 chip to spend in the casino.

n To buy tickets call 0114 223 3777 or visit Sheffield City Hall box office.