Full house for gourmet class

Winning team... Brooke Whitmore, Ashton Boaden, Sharon Gould, Shannon Whitmore, Kirsty Locke and Vanessa Phillipson. d417740
Winning team... Brooke Whitmore, Ashton Boaden, Sharon Gould, Shannon Whitmore, Kirsty Locke and Vanessa Phillipson. d417740

Kent St Deli and Rustico Tapas & Bar were both announced last week as winners in the Lifestyle Food Channel’s I Love FOOD awards, with Kent St Deli being named Australia’s favourite cafe and Rustico the nation’s favourite Spanish/Tapas restaurant.

Rustico has won a number of state industry awards in the past, including Gold Plates in 2010 and 2012, and won a state award in the 2012 I Love FOOD awards for favourite Spanish restaurant.

However, these awards ” voted for by the public ” are the first time either establishment has received recognition at a national level, and is vindication for owner Vanessa Phillipson and head chef Shannon Whitmore that they have created a community around both venues.

‘I think it’s proof that the strength of our efforts in this market to make people feel good about what we’ve created is pretty unique and the support is a reflection of that,’ Mrs Phillipson said.

The most rewarding aspect of the wins, said Mr Whitmore, was it being publicly voted on and that every food establishment wanted to win and actively encouraged patrons to vote.

‘We’re just as good as any restaurant in Perth and this proves it,’ he said.

‘I was in Leederville the other day and everyone has the I Love FOOD (advertising up) and everyone does it, it’s not just us, everyone wants to win.’

The awards attracted more than 99,000 votes nationwide, and as part of their win both venues could feature on the Lifestyle Food Channel as part of an on-air media campaign, which would undoubtedly open doors for further opportunities for the owners and also put Rockingham food on the map.

The pair said they were in discussions to expand the outdoor dining section at Kent St Deli and, starting from tomorrow night, will be opening for Saturday night trading for the first time.

‘We’re given opportunities every day of the week, but we have to be smart,’ Mrs Phillipson said.

‘We’re well aware of the fact we’ve put Rockingham on the map and while we’re still young and healthy, if there are ways of progressing we’ll be the first to put out hands up,’ Mr Whitmore added.

‘The main aim is to make sure both businesses are kept to the highest standard, and we’re not going to walk away from that (to take on another venture) yet.’