"You can't be everything to everyone." Those words of wisdom have played a big part in chef Hadleigh Troy's commitment to cook from the heart at his award-winning Restaurant Amuse.
Troy has not forgotten the advice he was given before opening his East Perth restaurant with wife Carolynne in 2007.
Amuse opened in an unassuming building on a quiet street with no foot traffic. The Troys gave themselves six months, after which they would reassess the restaurant's viability.
"We managed to survive the first six months; it wasn't graceful," Troy, 34, said.
They did more than just survive - Amuse is among the best in Australia and The West Australian Good Food Guide's top restaurant for 2013.
In a room packed with his peers and mentors at Print Hall last night, Troy accepted the Vittoria Coffee Restaurant of the Year award.
The guide's editor, Rob Broadfield, commended the Troys for their commitment to quality dining.
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"The food of Hadleigh Troy and the service of his wife Carolynne has no equal in Perth," Broadfield said.
"They are very worthy winners."
It was a big night for Amuse, which also took out the Thermomix Young Chef of the Year award thanks to the restaurant's talented sous chef, Jake Stone.
Troy is full of praise for Stone, whose older brother Matt - head chef at Greenhouse - has won the same award for the past two years.
Broadfield said Stone, who has worked at Amuse for more than two years, had done a remarkable job and was a great chef with a bright future.
"There must be something in the Stone DNA," Broadfield said of the brothers' success.
"He's the kind of young person that all people who want to get into this industry can look up to and take note of."
Troy, who received The West Australian Good Food Guide's inaugural chef of the year award, said 2012 had been a "cracker of a year".
"It's probably the best year we've had," he said.
Diners are lining up to indulge in Amuse's $125 10-course degustation of "contemporary cuisine" - the two-star restaurant is at capacity most nights and weekends are booked out until December.
The disciplined team works hard to deliver 12 different menus a night that cater to dietary and allergy requirements, but you will not find a stressed-out kitchen. Troy prefers to work in a calm environment.
"I don't rant and rave. I don't work like that because I know you don't get the best out of people that way," he said.
Troy has worked with some of Perth's top chefs, including Neal Jackson and Alain Fabregues, who both run two-star restaurants and supported Amuse "from day one" with business advice.
"The best advice Neal gave us was you can't be everything to everyone, and that's why we ended up doing what we did with this restaurant," he said.
"This is our passion, this is our baby."
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