It was certainly an affair to remember, celebrating fresh faces and established leaders who have risen to top of Australia’s restaurant and catering industry. With the announcement of this year’s award winners, we salute the country’s most innovative and hardworking restaurateurs.
They’re a funny thing, awards. Particularly so when the subject at hand—in this case, food—is such a subjective matter. How can a mere few people decide? And, indeed, can there really be just one winner? It’s not a running race, after all. But as this year’s Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence ably demonstrated, an awards portfolio such as this is about much more than simply handing over a trophy.
Certainly, it’s nice to take one home to hang on the wall of your restaurant, but the spirit in the room at the Brisbane Convention Centre was one of a tightknit, supportive community. As the president of the Restaurant & Catering Association Matteo Pignatelli said in his speech, “I asked myself what was important to me, and what I wanted to be doing every day, and I came back to this every time. To be making people happy each day is heart-warming.” And it’s not just about food. As Pignatelli pointed out, restaurants, cafes and caterers are businesses that actively contribute to community initiatives, environmental sustainability and continuing education on a regular basis.
“Your achievements in providing great food and great service are themselves a great contribution.”—Matteo Pignatelli,President, Restaurant & Catering Association
The national awards, the largest consumer-led restaurant awards in Australia, celebrate the vibrant restaurant and catering industry around Australia, and as in previous years, the calibre of finalists was extremely high. Over hors d’oeuvres of Queensland seafood and racks of lamb from Darling Downs, more than 400 guests celebrated this year’s event. Sydney’s Quay took home the coveted Restaurant of the Year award for the second consecutive year. Blond Catering, also from Sydney, was anointed Caterer of the Year. In addition to their major awards, Blond Catering also won best Venue Caterer and Quay took out the Fine Dining Restaurant category.
“Special congratulations must go to the team at Quay,” said John Hart, the R&CA’s chief executive officer. “It is a testament to their hard work in delivering exceptional dining experiences year after year, and it is quite fitting Quay is awarded this accolade in Brisbane, which will become the home of a flagship Fink Group restaurant in 2016. The Brisbane dining scene will be richer with the addition of this restaurateur’s passion and skill.”
Other key category winners included the National Wine Centre (Adelaide) for the George Mure Memorial Professional Development Award, Compass Group (Melbourne) for the Green Table Award for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability, and the Sofitel (Brisbane) for Innovative Workplace Training Award. “Your achievements in providing great food and great service are themselves a great contribution,” said Matteo. “These fine restaurants and caterers will now be the benchmark of industry excellence in Australia and will set a very high standard for next year’s program.”