In a tough year where she has had to return to the kitchen full time after “downsizing” staff Simonn Hawke has been rewarded with yet another hat in the Good Food Guide awards.
Ms Hawke’s Lolli Redini in Sale street is now the only hatted restaurant in the region after Tonic at Millthorpe lost its one-hat status when the national awards were announced in Melbourne this week.
She said it was their 16th in a row in 18 years of operating Lolli Redini.
“Keeping the hat is really important for us,” she said.
“It is a tough environment at the moment. Mid-week trading is down.
“If everyday was like Saturday we would be laughing.”
She said she had to “downsize” staff as the impact of the drought and other factors affected the number of customers they had served this year.
“We serve classic food in a contemporary style using local produce,” she said.
“We’re fortunate we have a fantastic team.”
Keeping the hat is really important for us.Simonn Hawke, owner and chef Lolli Redini
Ms Hawke said the closure of the nearby Union Bank restaurant had affected them.
“It’s disappointing the Union Bank is closing for us. This was known as a food precinct but now it’s a bit of a ghost town when you come out here now,” she said.
She said being the owner and chef was a key to Lolli Redini’s longevity.
“Me being the chef and the owner, that’s a huge factor,” she said.
“Staff come and go, people are very quick to jump ship for a better offer.
“There is very little waste. Where chefs are just employees they are not caring, it’s not their money.”
Tonic co-owner Nicole Worland said they had dropped “half a mark” in the awards judging which had been the difference in losing their hatted status.
“[A hat] is nice as a pat on the back for staff who work really hard,” she said.
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