Hospo businesses win awards

December 8, 2023 BY

Serving up success: The Western Hotel assistant manager Henry Wines is one of seven local hospitality representatives to win an industry award last month after receiving two Australian Hotels Association Victorian State Awards for Excellence nods earlier this year. Photo: FILE

BALLARAT hospitality providers topped state and national awards late last month across two competitions.

Businesses were acknowledged with the Golden Plate Awards recognising Victoria’s top spots while the Australian Hotels Association National Awards spotlighted the country’s best.

The announcements for both awards were made on the same Monday evening last week with the Golden Plate event taking place in Geelong’s 1915 and the AHA nationals in Adelaide.

At the national awards Oscar’s Hotel and Cafe Bar won the Best Traditional Pub Accommodation title, and The Western Hotel’s Henry Wines was awarded the Hotel Industry Rising Star in the general division category.

Having received the same nod in the AHA’s state awards in May, as well as the Peter Burnett Scholarship for Hospitality Excellence, Mr Wines said it’s his growing leadership abilities that have led to the achievements.

“I think because it is my ambition to own my own venue one day, it’s just my passion for the industry itself and also that I’m starting to become a leader in the community,” he said.

“I’ve been teaching latte art and stuff like that to VCAL students through the Make It In Scramble program, so trying to be a leader in that aspect, I think got me well into the process to the national award.

“Thanks to that scholarship, I’ve been learning more through AHA’s hospitality courses like the hospo futures forum held in Portarlington last month. It’s definitely being put to use.”

For its 21st year, the Golden Plate Awards saw more than 100 hospitality leaders at this year’s event, with Ballarat businesses and individuals taking home five of the awards’ 17 categories.

Inglenook Dairy won the Chefs’ Choice – Regional Producer award while Buninyong’s The Shared Table received the Best Menu: Local Produce gong.

The spotlight was shone on Peasant co-founder and head chef Douglas Kerr, and 18th Amendment staff member Savannah Stevens, who were acknowledged with the Peter Watson Memorial Best Chef, and Most Outstanding Front of House awards respectively.

Marking their third consecutive win in as many years with the Golden Plate Awards, Higher Society was declared Best Licensed Cafe.

Having undertaken a hospitality TAFE course at 16 and worked in the for a decade in total, Higher Society owner Rhys Jeffrey said the number of local nods spoke to the quality of Ballarat’s hospitality offerings.

“In the time we’ve owned Higher, which is about five years, the coffee, food, and drink culture in Ballarat has just grown,” he said.

“Since COVID, there’s been so many new places opening up, new faces from out of town or people that have left businesses they’ve been with for years to pursue their own dreams of ownership.

“We are so spoiled in Ballarat with selections of whether it’s dinner, lunch, even desserts here. The food culture here is booming.”