Everyone likes a pat on the back and to be told they have done well. There are many ways by which that can happen including the boss saying to you how well done you’re doing your job. Maybe you’ve just left a school where you excelled and were awarded a prize for excelling. So, you know that feeling.
So, for me to receive an honour in the last Australia Day Honours Awards was an extremely large pat on my back. As such, I was awarded the AM (Australian Medal) for my significant service to the food and wine tourism sector as a commentator, TV presenter and author and to the hospitality sector. What an honour to be granted such an award. Was I surprised? Yes, indeed and still pinch myself.
I am left to think what did I do get the ‘gong’ as it sometimes referred to in our larrikin Aussie way. I do know that what I did do for near on 50 years (49 years and 10 months) as I worked in an industry that used to be called the Service Industry and is now Hospitality. I always loved it. It was the basis of all I ever did regardless of the lofty jobs I got from it.
Like everyone, I didn’t know the purpose of being told how to wash pots and pans (in the Army where I was for 2 years it is called Dixie bashing) or learning how to chop parsley forever, cleaning out after service in the restaurant dining area and of course, in the kitchen. From being able to cook on top equipment and also on make-do barbies in the bush, gas to wood-fired, or catering for two to two thousand. When I represented my country as I did countless times, I was always proud and sometimes not completely prepared. When I was cooking Australian lamb in the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago, the big day out of the 6 days was Sunday where I and the team had were to have 6000 samples ready for the crowd to come by and taste. I did that promotion for the ALMC (now MLA) for 5 years both in Chicago and LA or San Francisco.
Trying to tell you of what I think I did to be able to be rewarded with an AM would take forever and would be a little self-congratulatory – but to sum up, I can say that just about all I ever did in those years of working in so many aspects of the Hospitality Industry, I totally enjoyed. Sure it was hard work and the mates I formed in those years are still my mates. Accolades are nothing without being able to say Thank You to an industry I love and thanks to HTN for letting me be their Patron.
Now that’s an honour!
– By Peter Howard AM