Canberra local Ben Willis from Aubergine has been named the ACT’s Lifetime Achiever at the 2016 ACT Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Hostplus Awards for Excellence held in Canberra.

The awards recognise the achievements of those operators that provide great food, exceptional service and value for money.

The winners of the major award categories include:

  • Tu Do, O’Connor – Consumer Vote Award
  • QT Canberra, Canberra – Caterer of the Year
  • Bookplate Caf, National Library of Australia, Parkes – Caf of the Year
  • Black Fire Restaurant, Braddon – Restaurant of the Year
  • Ben Willis – Lifetime Achiever

Restaurant & Catering (R&CA) CEO Hart recognised the ongoing contribution of Willis to the industry and the development of the dining scene in Canberra. Having started his career in the ACT, Willis worked overseas before taking over Aubergine in 2008 and launching new venue, Temporada.

“Ben is a local success story – he brings fresh and innovative thinking to the way we dine. From contemporary to casual dining, Ben has certainly left his mark,” Hart said.

For the first time this year, R&CA has established the Caf of the Year award which has been won by Bookplate Caf at the National Library of Australia, Parkes. Hart said the award provides due recognition of the contribution these operators make to the dining experience.

“Casual dining has seen a resurgence in the ACT, with double digit growth recorded in the month of July. It’s timely that we recognise caf operators through their own major award,” Hart said.

Hart also paid tribute to the team at Black Fire Restaurant, Braddon, who have secured the Restaurant of the Year Award, “Paolo Milanesi and his team should be proud of their achievements. He is the owner and creator of some fantastic dishes.”

Other winners include Wild Duck, Kingston Foreshore who have won Best Asian Restaurant two consecutive years in a row. Wild Duck Function Centre also secured the award for Best New Caterer. QT Canberra, which took out Caterer of the Year, also won Best Function/Convention Centre Caterer two years in a row.

Many of tonight’s winners will go on to represent the ACT at the National Awards for Excellence to be held in Sydney on 24 October 2016.

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