Australian Culinary Federation restaurant of the year awards have never been short of entrants with previous winners, like Tamarind and C'est Bon entering the local lexicon as bywords for exquisite dining. This year however the usual favourites were beaten to the punch by The Reef House Restaurant in Palm Cove, when it took the title 2019 Cairns restaurant of the year. Under the leadership of executive chef Ben Canham, The Reef House saw off some strong competition, with organisers saying the overall standard was excellent with a tight point spread across the finalists.
Eleven restaurants competed for the title – C’est Bon, Ochre, The Reef House, Paperbark Restaurant at Kewarra Beach, The Backyard, Piato Restaurant. Vivaldis Restaurant, Piccolo Cucina, Temple of Taste Restaurant in Palm Cove, Fusion Bar and Tapas and The Chambers Restaurant. All entrants have to prepare a special lunch for the judges. Points are then awarded for the entree, main course, dessert and overall ambience.
Ben Canham is no stranger to accolades in the kitchen with this his 4th prestigious award in a decade. Including two with former brigades at Rydges and one from his time at The Hotel Cairns.
"Everyone here is super stoked, and we are very proud to have come first against some top competition." Said Ben. On what was next after tucking away another award "I think I can retire now!" he laughed.
Last year’s winner, Ce’st Bon, scored highly for second place, with Arron Hapgood's The Backyard coming third.
For more information and to book a table at the Reef House visit www.reefhouse.com.au