Griffith's Luke Piccolo has been recognised as the nation's top young restaurateur after taking out a highly coveted national award.
Mr Piccolo claimed the competitive 2019 Appetite for Excellence's Young Restaurateur of the Year award last week, taking the prize amidst tough competition from fellow owners across the country.
Mr Piccolo said the award was recognition not only for the restaurant and the staff, but also for the wider region.
"It's been a big goal for us from day one to be one of the leading regional restaurants," he said.
"To get recognition for that, it means for me that we are on the right track.
"We've got a really great region, we've got great producers, so it's our job to show that off and motivate the other people around to make sure we are all doing our best for the region."
Mr Piccolo claimed the award for his work at Limone, which was constructed using entirely local products and recycled material, with the restaurant sourcing its produce from local producers and the Piccolo Family Farm.
It had been a whirlwind week for the winner, with Mr Piccolo joining the other finalists in a four-day produce tour of the Southern Highlands and South Coast last week before the award presentation in Sydney.
Mr Piccolo said the tour helped further refine his own ideas regarding the future of his restaurant.
"It was a great program to keep advancing what we are doing and I definitely got a lot of ideas and inspiration from seeing what the producers and what the other people are doing," he said.
"To stay connected with the industry by doing these things and to stay connected with the people that are really pushing and driving the industry forward, for me, was just a real motivation."
Mr Piccolo received five thousand dollars to invest as part of the achievement and he said he intends to direct the funds right back into the restaurant to further enrich the customer's experience.
"We've got massive plans still for the restaurant," he said.
"We're a small family and we were quite a lean startup, we've had to work really hard to get to where we are.
"That means we are always continually investing the business and continually growing.
"The wheel never stops turning."
Mr Piccolo said the likely target for the investment will be the upgrading of Limone's chairs, which originally were cafeteria seats refurbished for use in the restaurant.
The young restaurateur of the year award has been running since 2005 and was judged on how well the restaurateur demonstrated a clear vision, innovation, community engagement and strong leadership regarding their restaurant.