One of Australia’s great restaurateurs, R&CA Lifetime Achiever Beppi Polese, has died at age 90 after a brief illness.
“Beppi was one of the true masters of our industry. Unpretentious and passionate, his food was always from the heart. You went for a meal but you stayed for the hospitality. This is a legacy that will live on through his family and his restaurant,” said R&CA CEO John Hart.
Beppi’s is the oldest continuously owned restaurant in Sydney, and probably in Australia.
Since opening in 1956, the landmark has evolved carefully, favouring incremental rather than noticeable change. The atmosphere is intimate and, like the cuisine, understated.
In a profile in Restaurant & Catering magazine in 2013, we said, “Beppi’s likes to make it look easy, perhaps even nonchalant, but a restaurant doesn’t stay so dependable for so long without making a point of it.”
“A pragmatic and thoughtful leader, I enjoyed Beppi’s counsel over the years,” Mr Hart added. “Our industry is tough, yet this never swayed his passion for great food or great service. He will be sadly missed by all those he touched over the years,”
Beppi Polese joined R&CA in the early 70s and was awarded the R&CA Lifetime Achiever Award in 2006. Talking to R&C in 2007 after his Lifetime Achievement award, Polese explained the secret of his restaurant’s enduring success, which also revealed why he will be so missed by this industry: “Why has this place been such a success? It has to do with being born in the game, being dedicated and loving it.”