The battle lines have been drawn for the first ever Australian Café of the Year competition supported by Café Culture Magazine, calling for the country’s best bean grinders and egg poachers to throw in a spoon full of creativity, a grande cup of passion and a good splash of competitive spirit.
Currently in its third year in New Zealand, the Café of the Year concept is crossing the ditch to offer Aussie cafés the chance to prove we’re home to the best café culture in the world. Supported by Café Culture Magazine, it’s set to be a fiercely- fought foodie fight – with state vs state, city vs city and hipster vs chic.
Andrew Nalder, Café of the Year spokesperson, said, “The plan for Australian Café of the Year is not for it to be a one-hit wonder. In our maiden year, we want to see what our Aussie neighbours have to offer in this competition of true culinary heart and passion.”
“Entering the competition is a great way to shake up your establishment, with past entrants finding that by simply being a part of the competition, their businesses improved – with staff becoming more attentive, proud and focused,” said Mr Nalder.
Entries for Australian Café of the Year are open from now through to 18 August, and the team behind the competition are calling for big, medium and artisanal players to throw their hat in the ring and compete for the glory of being crowned number one in the country.
Entry is free and simple:
Competing cafés simply need to register, then create a dish on their menu featuring ingredients from the Heinz and Don ranges – options include pulled pork, bacon, chipolatas, chorizo, baked beans and the new Heinz condiments range (chefs can be as creative in the kitchen as they like – one past entry included Heinz Baked Beanz broken down and transformed into gnocchi!).
What’s on offer?
- 21 regional finalists (three from each of the seven competition regions) will be selected via public voting, which will run between 1 September and 9 October. Café patrons will be encouraged to vote for their favourite café with ‘lucky dip’ cash prizes on offer for participation.
- A panel of expert judges will decide the regional winners and Supreme Winner based on a variety of criteria including customer service, café atmosphere, and the quality of the signature dish entered.
- The seven regional winners from around the country will receive $1,000 each along with a Heinz prize pack.
- The Supreme Winner will claim the title of Australian Café of the Year, taking home bragging rights and a Renault Clio RS200 Sport.
- The Café of the Year competition launched in New Zealand in 2012, attracting hundreds of votes and establishing itself as a title to be fought for. Last year, close to 700 cafes entered in hopes of winning the much sought after award, and over 46,000 consumer votes were cast.
After an intense campaign, the title of New Zealand Café of the Year was awarded to Mairangi Bay café Paper Moon. The café shot to fame for its Paper Moon Mairangi Bay Bean and Bacon Stack, with café goers queuing throughout the competition to get their taste of the acclaimed competition dish. Two years later, it is still on the menu and still a hot favourite.
Following the hype created around their win, the owners opened a second establishment – Black Cottage which placed a close second in the 2013 competition.
2013 winners Jester House won the top spot with their Spiced Hot Pot creation, delivering a unique dining experience for their customers. Co-owner of Jester House, Steve Richards said, “When we travel, we go to the top rated places to benchmark ourselves against, so I think the award gives customers something to pin their decision on.”
If you think your café has the right ingredients to be named Australian Café of the Year, visit Cafe of the Year to register.