Two restaurants have been awarded a coveted Chef Hat in the 2021 Australian Good Food Guide awards.
The Schoolhouse Restaurant in the CBD and Charred Kitchen & Bar in East Orange were the recipients.
Head chef at The Schoolhouse Restaurant, Dom Aboud, became aware of the venue's success after fellow head chef Liam O'Brien, from Charred, messaged him with the good news.
"If anybody recognises you're doing a good job, it's pretty nice, especially after COVID and having to shut down," said Mr Aboud, shortly before lunch service on Friday.
"It means a lot to us, as we've been working so hard, and it means people are appreciating what we're doing.
"We're here to cook for people and make sure they have a good time, so it's just a little nod that we're doing the right thing."
Mr Aboud said the team at The Schoolhouse Restaurant focused on giving diners an unforgettable experience.
"It's not just about the food, it's about the full service, about creating memories - the social aspect of dining," he said.
"We want to deliver a great whole experience - we just want people to have a great time and walk away happy."
He said the restaurant was not about egos or "trying to do the most you can on a plate".
"It's about really good produce, cooked well, and focus on your guests."
Despite a difficult December due to the limitations on party bookings, Mr Aboud said the restaurant had seen "a pretty constant tick along in business.
"I think people were champing to be able to get back out again."
Australian Good Food Guide hats are awarded for the food alone.
The Schoolhouse Restaurant scored 12 out 20, while Charred scored 13.
A score of 12 or 13 equates to "a good restaurant in its category - commended".
Since the guide's inception in 1977, a score of 20 has never been awarded.
Few restaurants are ever awarded a score of 19.
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