Port Douglas restaurant worthy of a Chef’s Hat


Karlie Brady


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Sous-Chef, Dennis Slater and Head Chef and owner of Melaleuca, Adam Ion, have dreamed winning a Chef's Hat for years. Image: Karlie Brady

Port Douglas restaurant, Melaleuca, has picked up an Australia Good Food Guide’s Chef’s Hat award.

A Chef’s Hat is awarded to exceptional chefs serving a high calibre of food and is determined by anonymous Australian Good Food Guide inspectors who dine at restaurants around the country.

Head Chef and owner of Melaleuca, Adam Ion, said he received the call on Monday to notify him he had been awarded the prestigious national award.

“It was a big surprise and a nice phone call to wake up to in the morning,” he said.

“I've always wanted to get this, so I am very proud to have achieved it and to get it just nine months after opening the restaurant is amazing.

Mr Ion said the award is a testament to his staff’s hard work.

“I have worked with my Sous-Chef, Dennis Slater, for 10-years and we have dreamed about this for a long time.

“All the boys in the Kitchen are over the moon, it's something that they all work hard for, it's why we put in the long hours and the hard work and it's definitely paid off.

“It’s a great thing for Melaleuca, when you open a new restaurant, it can be hard to get your name out there so this might encourage more people to come see what we are all about,” he said.

Mr Ion, originally from Scotland, has had training in Ireland and France before moving to Australia. He was Head Chef at 2Fish Port Douglas for many years before opening Melaleuca last year.

“I started cooking at 13-years-old, I always wanted to be in the kitchen and not at school and I just kept cooking from there.”

This award is the newest addition in a long list of awards for Mr Ion including Best New Restaurant in Queensland in 2019 for Melaleuca and Best Seafood Restaurant in Australia in 2016 while at 2Fish, as well as numerous North Queensland honours.

“I’ve had other awards but nothing quite as big as this one and this being my own venue makes it much more amazing,” Mr Ion said.

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