Restau­rants shine at awards night

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Angelique Pat­ter­son

PORT Dou­glas restau­rants and cater­ers shone at the 2013 Savour Aus­tralia Restau­rant Cater­ing HOST­PLUS Awards for Ex­cel­lence with nine fi­nal­ists and three ma­jor win­ners.

The awards were pre­sented on Mon­day night in Bris­bane and Salsa Bar and Grill, fi­nal­ists for best con­tem­po­rary bar and grill, were given an hon­ourable men­tion for best restau­rant caterer and were hon­oured with the North Queens­land Con­sumer Vote Award.

Own­ers of Salsa, Billy Con­way and Rhys Baw­den, were thrilled with be­ing given top hon­ours by their cus­tomers.

‘‘It feels fan­tas­tic to win peo­ple’s choice, it’s not an award we can nom­i­nate for, like all the other awards, and it has noth­ing to do with the judges, it’s the peo­ple vot­ing for you,’’ Rhys Baw­den said.

‘‘We hope we are do­ing the right things and we strive to keep cus­tomers happy, make them feel when they walk in our front door they are home and an ex­tended part of our fam­ily.

‘‘It’s re­ally nice to get the recog­ni­tion back for all of our staff that what we are do­ing is the best in North Queens­land, from Air­lie Beach up to here.’’

Bel Cibo’s owner Andy Gray was de­lighted at the restau­rant’s award for Best Ital­ian Restau­rant in North Qld for the sec­ond year run­ning. The zone is huge, from FNQ to the Gold Coast. ‘‘It was quite un­ex­pected,’’ Mr Gray said, ‘‘be­cause of the size of the zone.’’

‘‘Awards don’t nec­es­sar­ily make us any busier but they’re nice to re­ceive any­way for the recog­ni­tion. And it’s good for the area. It’s good a few of us in this area man­aged to score some­thing this year again.’’

Port Dou­glas Cater­ing and Events took out the high­est ac­co­lade for the cater­ing busi­ness, win­ning the best events caterer of the year and also best wed­ding caterer, which owner Cam Wal­ton said was fab­u­lous.

‘‘All my staff work hard for what we do and to have this as an achieve­ment re­ally af­firms what we do, I’m very proud of what we do and it’s nice to get the recog­ni­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘For me it’s about giv­ing peo­ple who use our ser­vices, win­ning th­ese awards gives them con­fi­dence in our abil­ity and from a mar­ket­ing point of view it’s great.’’

Other restau­rants who were fi­nal­ists in the award in­clude Lure for break­fast restau­rant and cafe restau­rant, Sassi Cucina and Bar for new restau­rant, Seafood restau­rant fi­nal­ists were Finz, 2 Fish and On The In­let, Zinc were fi­nal­ists for Con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralian Restau­rant and The Kitchen Port Dou­glas were fi­nal­ists for best fam­ily restau­rant. The win­ning busi­nesses will now com­pete in Syd­ney in Oc­to­ber.

Pic­ture: ANGELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

PEO­PLE’S CHOICE: the crew at Salsa Bar & Grill cel­e­brate their awards

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