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TAFE restaurant goes to the top of the class

22 Mar 2013

NMIT's (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) St Georges Restaurant has been awarded the Best Restaurant in Training Institute at the Victorian state final of the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering HOSTPLUS Awards for Excellence.

The awards which took place at the Atlantic Group [V] at the Docklands on 13 August, are acknowledged as the most authoritative guide to Australia's best restaurants in the hospitality industry with more than 500 trained judges and around 2000 entrants taking part each year.

St Georges training restaurant, at NMIT's Preston campus, won the award from among five leading Victorian training restaurants including: Pantry (Academy Sofitel Academy); Culinarium (Crown Casino); Prospects (University of Ballarat) and Angliss Restaurant (William Angliss Institute).

The restaurant provides hands-on training to students undertaking an extensive range of courses within NMIT's Hospitality and Cookery program; including certificate and diploma courses in hospitality, commercial cookery, kitchen operations, patisserie and retail baking.

Mel Riel, Food and Beverage Operations Manager at NMIT's Preston campus, said that it was an accumulation of years of providing the public consistently high quality food and excellent service that had finally paid off.

“Last year we were finalists in the same category and to win the award this year has been the biggest compliment given to all the students and teachers who work very hard to provide the best possible dining experience to all our customers,” he said.

According to Mr Riel, St Georges Restaurant is considered more of a classroom in the real world by teachers and students alike. It is open to the public as an operational restaurant. The teachers and staff aim to provide a real life training environment for all the students. “We want the students to deal with real people, real food and real money. The feeling and the experience that they gain by being in such a situation is invaluable,” he said.

Mr Riel believes the reason behind the restaurant winning the award is due to the high standard of teaching. Most of the teachers keep up with current trends because they work in the restaurant industry.

“The judges visit restaurants anonymously, as members of the public. If the standard of our restaurant is not maintained throughout the year than we would have had no chance in being nominated for this prestigious award,” he said.

St Georges Restaurant will be representing Victoria to compete at the National Awards for Excellence being held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Monday 29th October 2012.

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Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.