ORANGE and Millthorpe have set a new standard as destinations of culinary excellence.
Orange restaurants Lolli Redini and Racine, and Millthorpe’s Tonic received hats in the 2014 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide awards held at Star City on Monday night.
Lolli Redini and Racine retained their single hats from 2012, while Tonic regained its hat after missing out last year.
Lolli Redini, owned and operated by Simonn Hawke and Leah Morphett, is a veteran of the prestigious awards, gaining a hat for the 12th year in a row.
However for Ms Hawke, who returned to Orange to open the restaurant in 2001, the victory of receiving a hat is still as sweet as it was the first time.
“It is still such a thrill,” she said.
Ms Hawke said she was also delighted fellow chefs Shaun Arantz [Racine] and Tony Worland [Tonic] were recognised.
“This is a wonderful thing, to think we have three restaurants so close which all have hats. It will be a great way for us to continue to promote Orange,” she said.
Even after 12 years Ms Hawke says she loves her restaurant and it is a tremendous thrill to be recognised.
“I just still really enjoy doing what I’m doing,” she said.
Ms Hawke says she has found a formula for what works and the types of food patrons enjoy.
“Over the years I have tried to take small branches in different directions, but have come back to listening to what our clients want,” she said.
Willa Arantz of Racine said as soon as she and husband Shaun received their invitation to attend Monday night’s gala event the excitement began.
This year’s hat award is the third in a row for Racine.
“This is just lovely. It is a wonderful validation in tough times,” Mrs Arantz said.
Tony Worland of Tonic Restaurant was unavailable for comment.