News from the Darwin Sailing Club
Sail, socalise and dine in the heart of Darwin
This past Monday night I was honoured to accept an invitation to attend the 2017 AHA Gold Plate Gala Dinner as a representative of the DSC. Each year the Golden Plate Awards seek to recognise the best of the Territory's restaurants and dining establishments in 21 different categories.
Indeed a fun night with some great food, drinks and quality entertainment all laid on by the team at Sky City. Judging by the less that spritely appearance the of some who attended the night in recent days (…), it would appear that festivities continued until well beyond Monday.
During his address, Australian Hotels Association NT President Mick Burns noted the closure of 4 well known venues in Darwin in the past year. This confronting statistic somehow underlined what has been widely acknowledged as a particularly tough year for Darwin hospitality operators.
At the start of this year, I challenged our Bar and Events Managers Lee and Ramon as well as Bistro operator Peter Lay and his chef’s Mike and Tom to rise to these challenging trading conditions. As a group we discussed at some length the underlying opportunity to leapfrog those of our competitors who might drop the ball during these tougher times. It is not possible to move in such a way in a depressed market without the hard work of a focused, committed and skilled team. Needless to say, this is not the kind of challenge one issues without confidence in those involved.
As the 2017 Golden Plates were given out, I found myself grinning broadly recalling that discussion as I watched Chef Micheal give 2 brief, but emotion filled acceptance speeches on behalf of the Waterfront Bistro team as they collected the top prize in both categories they were nominated for.
To take out the “Best Club Restaurant” category ahead of respected operators including the Palmerston Sports Club, Darwin RSL, the Katherine Country Club and last year’s winner, The Arnhem Club is recognition befitting a well-managed and consistently hard working team.
To walk away however with the Golden Plate in 2017 for “Best Casual Dining in the NT” in the most widely nominated category of the night, against 17 long established operators in Mitchell Street, the emerging Waterfront Precinct, Katherine, Alice Springs, and of course our near neighbours puts the efforts of Peter Lay, his chefs, and the entire Bistro team into a different perspective.
During a quiet moment later in the night I had the chance to reflect a little with Peter on his 23 years of serving great food at the Darwin Sailing Club. Our conversation, as they often are, was filled with humorous anecdotes and, as one might expect, Peter was in high spirits. Beyond these stories however my respect continues to grow for Peter and his team who continue to be recognised at the top of The Northern Territory's restaurant industry. Peter has been leading from the front, week in and week out for more that 2 decades at the Darwin Sailing Club and personifies the adage that the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.
I urge all DSC members and those connected to the Darwin Sailing Club to join me in congratulating the Waterfront Bistro team on a genuinely significant achievement.
John Melenewycz – General Manager
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