MEDIA UPDATE | 3 August 2020
Today (3 August), Melbourne Food & Wine Festival announced the winners of one of the nation’s longest-standing awards for lifetime achievement in hospitality. Established in 1993 and presented by Hostplus, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival Legends program recognises the contributions made by key figures across the spectrum of food and drink.
This year eight local identities were inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame, joining the greatest leaders, groundbreakers and visionaries of Victoria’s food and drink scene. Joining this prestigious group of industry stars, the 2020 inductees are:
From Tansy’s in Carlton to Spring Street to her new home in Kyneton, chef and restaurateur Tansy Good has paved the way for so much that is admirable in the restaurants we enjoy in Victoria today. In her confidence, precision and her work to champion small growers and fine local ingredients, she has been an inspiration to cooks and diners over more than 30 years, and left an indelible impression on the people she worked with, so many of whom – Karen Martini, Andrew McConnell, Philippa Sibley, Matt McConnell, Rita Macali and Gerald Diffey among them – have gone on to do so much for Melbourne in their own right.
In Gary McBean you find the culmination of three generations of butchery. He first picked up the knife in 1970, opened his own business at Prahran Market in 1984, and today enjoys the loyalty of a legion of customers. They’re drawn to Gary’s Quality Meats for its mix of personal service and professional polish, for its ethical sourcing of animals and careful use of whole beasts, for its community spirit, and of course for the pure quality of the craft on show. “Honest and innovative, Gary McBean is the best butcher in Australia,” says his friend and long-time customer Ben Shewry. And in mentoring his daughter, Ash, McBean is ensuring all that experience and skill, that passion and integrity is passed onto a fifth generation of butchers in the family.
You may or may not know their names, but if you buy wine or beer in the state of Victoria, you’ll certainly be familiar with the brand. With Blackhearts and Sparrows, siblings Paul and Jessica Ghaie have transformed bottle shops as we know them in Australia, creating a community of stores that stretches from the 10 in Melbourne to outposts beyond the state’s borders in Hobart and Canberra. Since 2006 they’ve championed the small, the local and the diverse, been leaders in supporting producers of organic, biodynamic, lo-fi, vegan, low- and no-alcohol drinks, and – most important – they’ve managed to do this in a way that has made these drinks (wine and craft beer in particular) more approachable and inviting for the person on the street, not less.
There’s veteran food and drink communicators and then there’s Cam Smith. His Eat It program has graced the airwaves since 1987, making it the longest-running show of its kind in Australia. Over those years Smith has shared the stories of the good and the great of hospitality from across the spectrum of the trade, giving airtime to dishwashers and winemakers, gin and jaffles, cookbooks and country pubs. Tuning in for the hour on 3RRR FM at noon on Sundays, you’re as apt to catch Massimo Bottura as you are John, the Queen Vic Market stallholder, sharing his secrets to stuffing. And, all the more remarkably, Smith has done all this work over the years as a volunteer. “Cam is the most enthusiastic foodie in Victoria,” says food writer and Legend Emeritus Jill Dupleix. “And we love him because he gives everyone a voice.”
The retirement of Nino Pangrazio from Pellegrini’s in late 2019, nearly a year to the week of the tragic death of his fellow co-owner Sisto Malaspina, marked the end of an era for the Bourke Street landmark and for Melbourne’s cafe culture. The pair had worked together at Pellegrini’s since 1974, when they bought the business from Leo and Vildo Pellegrini, the migrant brothers who founded it in 1954, and over that time they set a standard for kindness and welcome, for consistency and commitment that has been recognised as a benchmark in our community. Together, Malaspina and Pangrazio are exemplars of the way hospitality is woven into the very fabric of the city.
The Hostplus Trailblazer is a special award for someone 40 years of age or younger who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the Victorian food and drink industry. And in Loretta Bolotin, the co-founder of Free to Feed, the award finds an exceptional and deserving winner. Free to Feed, which Bolotin founded with her husband, Daniel, is a social enterprise which creates job opportunities for refugees and seekers of asylum through cooking classes, catering and private events. It provides recent arrivals to Victoria with that all-important foot in the door through a 12-month employment program, showing them the ropes in a commercial kitchen, building connections in the community, and giving them an Australian reference to bolster their CV. And it enriches Melbourne with brilliant food experiences. “It’s about kindness, caring, welcome and looking after people,” says Bolotin: in other words, hospitality at its most essential.
Matt Preston calls him “the Yoda” of Victorian hospitality. To Natalie O’Brien, former MFWF CEO, he’s “the King of Brand”. It was Kevin Luscombe, says Jill Dupleix, food writer and Legend Emeritus, who brought to the table a passionate belief in Victoria’s role as “the gastronomic heart and soul of the country”. In his years as a champion of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival on and off its board, Luscombe managed to both train its focus and broaden its horizons, all the while working his magic with business and government, via the networks he developed as one of Australia’s great marketers, to bring those bold goals to reality. “Kevin sets an excellent example of someone working selflessly on behalf of the wider community and I can think of no one more deserving of being called a Legend of Victorian food and wine,” says Luscombe’s long-time friend, winemaker Garry Crittenden, “Long may his wise counsel prevail.”
The 2020 Legends inductees join more than 150 leaders from the food, drink and hospitality trade. The program recognises an individual’s contribution to the industry and celebrates their role in shaping, sustaining and celebrating Victoria’s international reputation as a centre of food, drink and hospitality excellence.
For interviews and media enquiries, please contact Melbourne Food & Wine Festival:
Pat Nourse, email@example.com | 0423 110 511
Images are available here. (Please credit photographer Kate Shanasy)
About the Legends program
MFWF Legends are people who demonstrate:
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is Australia’s premier internationally acclaimed celebration of food and drink. mfwf.com.au
Founded by the Australian Hotels Association (AHA) and United Workers Union (UWU) in 1988, Hostplus has grown to be one of Australia’s largest and best-performed superannuation funds, with over 1.2 million members, more than 210,000 contributing employers and $48.9 billion in funds under management (as at 30 June 2020). As a profit-to-member industry super fund, Hostplus puts its members first; which includes maintaining some of the lowest admin fees in the business.
With its origins proudly in the Hospitality & Tourism, Recreation and Sport sectors, Hostplus continues to evolve as the lifetime fund of choice for all Australians, contributing to the retirement income security of its members.
 Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and should never be the sole factor considered when selecting a fund.
 Admin fees comparison using SuperRatings SMART fee calculator as at 31 March 2020.
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