top tips (restaurateur)

Being a restaurateur is not an easy business. Our judges know that and we know that. If we could say just one thing about being involved in the program it’s that our young restaurateurs appreciate being able to network with one another, swap ideas and look to one another for providing solutions to common issues. But we asked some of our past Young Restaurateur winners and finalists to share their top tips about the application process for you:


Allow plenty of time

The application form is your chance to make an impression on some of the industry’s most influential people, so don’t leave it to the last minute. ‘Take your time with the application, it’s not something that can be achieved in one sitting,” Kelvin Shaw Altair Restaurant 

Do a draft

Don’t try to complete the application in one go. Write a first draft, mull it over and chat to your friends and colleagues about your answers. “Write your application and continue to go back and re-read, get others to proof read, but enjoy the process of the reflection,” says Bianca Welsh, Stillwater Restaurant; Black Cow Bistro

Be concise

Your business is your baby, so it’s easy to get carried away on your application form. It’s important to be clear and concise when explaining your vision for your business. “Answer the questions honestly and from the heart, you may even surprise yourself at your own self evaluations,” says Chris Thornton, Restaurant Mason

Show your personality

The application form should help the judges get a feel for you as a person and as a restaurateur, so don’t just write what you think they want to read. “Make sure you and your company have a clear vision.  The judges want to know how you started, maintained and progressed your restaurant.  But they also want to know who you are, what dives you and your passion for the industry.” Says Troy Rhoades-Brown, Muse Restaurant & Muse Kitchen 

Use spell check

Spelling errors and bad grammar look sloppy, so make sure you check your application form thoroughly. Get someone else to read it, too. Chances are, if they don’t know what you’re talking about, neither will our judges. “Read and answer questions thoroughly,” says Kim Galea, Pitchfork Restaurant

Be confident

If you make it to the national finals, you’ll be interviewed by our judging panel of top restaurateurs. “Whatever the outcome,” says Cam Candsdell, Bombini “the process is just as important. You will learn incredible things about yourself and your business along the way. Be confident in your vision and brand”

Ask questions

Appetite for Excellence puts you in touch with the industry’s key players, producers and like-minded peers, so make the most of it! Network, ask questions and share ideas and experiences. “This is a fantastic opportunity to get advice from some of the greatest restaurateurs in Australia,” says Julia Paussa, Coast 

Go on the produce tour

National finalists from all three categories go on a five-day tour of an Australian food and wine region. Taking time out from your business is tough, but you’ll get to meet and learn from passionate farmers, producers, harvesters and winemakers. “Take part in the produce tour – it’s an amazing experience,” recommends Kim Galea,

Learn, collaborate, discover

You get out of it what you put in, but most importantly it’s about giving support and recognition to those whose career and profession is in hospitality. “It’s a lot of fun and a really good community of people, get involved recommendDave Parker, San Telmo & Pastuso.

James Viles, Biota Dining also says, “Appetite for Excellence, a program meaning exactly that. It’s a wonderful initiative that not only gave me more confidence in what I do, but more importantly allowed me to learn, discover, collaborate, teach and push boundaries with a collective, a bunch of people”.