Victoria University's training restaurant, VenU, has been named the best training restaurant in the state at the Restaurant and Catering Awards for Excellence held at the Crown Palladium on 8 August 2011.
This is the first time VU has won the prestigious award, presented annually by the peak national body representing Australia's 40,000 restaurants, cafes and catering businesses.
James Ballingall, Hospitality Operations Manager from the School of Service Industries, said the award bestows enormous professional credibility on the 120-seat restaurant, which opened at the University's Footscray Nicholson Campus last November. It brings VenU a step closer to Ballingall's aim to make the restaurant a "hatted" dining establishment by 2013.
"Aside from bragging rights, the award means that our industry has recognised we are operating better than any other training restaurant in the state, he said. "We shared the stage with the likes of Jacques Reymond and other winners in their categories."
VenU was assessed by judges posing as regular diners who marked the restaurant on a range of criteria starting with telephone booking conduct, to quality of service and food, staff professionalism, and restaurant ambience. The restaurant now has a wooden plaque and gold-rimmed plate on display to acknowledge the award.
VenU is used by about 60 TAFE hospitality students at a time studying cookery and a range of hospitality diplomas. It is open to the general public for lunch and dinner during TAFE semesters.
ISS Catering, which offers on-campus catering across the university, also won in its category.
The Restaurant and Catering Excellence Awards, now in their 13th year, are acknowledged as the most authoritative guide to Australia's best in the industry with more than 500 trained judges and 2000 entrants.
James Ballingall is available on 0435 962 508 for interview and photographs.
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer,
Marketing and Communications Department,
Ph: (03) 9919 5487 or 0403 556 001.