Restaurateur Gail Donovan from Donovan’s Restaurant in Melbourne comes from a background in fine dining, having first opened a store of fine foods and prepared gourmet products before starting her own restaurant business. Donovans Restaurant has become a Melbourne institution since its launch in 1997, with Gail named a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legend.
Umberto Mecchi is the Group Executive, Strategy, Marketing and Client Services at Hostplus, the industry superannuation fund for those in hospitality and tourism. An eye for marketing and entrepreneurship, his work has been recognised with numerous awards including the Rainmaker Superannuation Marketer of the Year, and winner of the 2008 ASFA Communications Award.
Jo-Ann Moody has a long-standing career in hospitality, having worked front of house for some of the world’s most renowned restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen in London, Michelin Star, L’ecrivain in Dublin, The Wolseley in London and Icebergs Dining Room and Bar in Sydney. She joined the Melbourne Food and Wine team in 2012, leading the Festival’s Gastronomy program and managing international chefs and winemakers.
Owner and operator of Matteo’s Restaurant in Melbourne’s north, Matteo Pignatelli is well respected in the industry having worked for some of the city’s best fine dining establishments before opening his own in 1994. He has since won several awards including 2 hats in the Age Good Food Guide, and is also the national president of Restaurant & Catering Australia.
Beat Box Kitchen, Taco Truck and All Day Donuts are the brainchildren of Rafael Rashid. Rashid is considered the forefather of the Melbourne food truck scene, having taken a leap of faith in 2009 with his first food truck – a culture that has since sprawled the streets of Australia. Rashid is also a 2014 Hostplus Trailblazer.
Fleur Studd was the first to import fresh, traceable, specialty green beans into Australia, having worked hard to build long term relationships with some of the world’s best coffee growers. Her passion has been pivotal to helping improve the quality of coffee in Australia and educate both the industry and consumer. Studd is the owner of Melbourne Coffee Merchants and the co-founder of Market Lane Coffee with four coffee shops across Melbourne.
With support from Hostplus, our scholarship supports the next generation of the Australian hospitality industry.