hostplus awards
Legend Annie Smithers, chef/owner, Du Fermier

At its recent industry awards event, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival announced the winner of the international Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, plus eight inductees to the 2019 Legends 

Following a rigorous four-month selection process, Julie Davaine, general manager of four venues (Fred’s, Charlie Parker’s, The Paddington and The Chicken Shop) in the Merivale group in Sydney, has been named the winner of the 2019 Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship.

Now in its sixth year, the Scholarship offers Davaine a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work across three countries in internationally acclaimed hospitality businesses. 

Upon her return to Australia, Davaine will continue to build on her industry experience over a year-long mentorship with a local industry leader.

Growing up in Paris, Davaine developed a passion for hospitality working at a brasserie while studying theatre and arts. Determined to push herself outside of her comfort zone, she moved to Sydney armed with just a suitcase and a few words of English. 

Ten years after joining the Merivale group as a food runner at Sushi E, Davaine is now general manager of The Paddington precinct, overseeing four celebrated hospitality venues and more than 150 employees.

This year’s runners-up were Laura Dyba, restaurant manager at The Agrarian Kitchen Eatery, just outside Hobart, and Saba Alemayoh, owner/manager at Saba’s Ethiopian Restaurant in inner-city Melbourne.

The awards event also celebrated food and wine industry leaders of longer standing as eight local identities were inducted into the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legends program. The 2019 inductees are:

  • Chef/restaurateur/hospitality professional – Con Christopoulos
  • Food producer/retailer/advocate – John Portelli, Enoteca Sileno
  • Drink producer/retailer/advocate – Nat White OAM
  • Communicator/educator – Richard Cornish
  • Local hero – Annie Smithers, chef/owner, Du Fermier
  • Hostplus Trailblazer – Mike Russell, Baker Bleu
  • Honorary Legend – John Haddad AO
  • Honorary Legend – Natalie O’Brien AM

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