Unveiling the Australian Restaurant & Cafe Association

Neil Perry, Chris Lucas and other high-profile restaurateurs unveiled their Australian Restaurant & Cafe Association

Last Friday marked a significant moment in the culinary landscape as renowned restaurateurs, including Neil Perry and Chris Lucas, unveiled the Australian Restaurant & Cafe Association (ARCA).

While the creation of this new industry body drew attention, equally notable was what remained unspoken. Today, the public witnessed the official launch of the ARCA, with prominent restaurant groups nationwide joining forces to advocate for change.

Leading the charge is former Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) CEO Wes Lambert, who assumes the role of CEO for ARCA, accompanied by Neil Perry AM (Margaret) as Chair and Chris Lucas (Lucas Restaurants) as Deputy Chair.

Addressing the motives behind the association's formation, Lambert emphasized that it was not a reactionary move to perceived inaction but rather a proactive stance on key issues identified during a morning board meeting.

"We recognize the thriving nature of the restaurant and cafe segment," Lambert affirmed. "Our aim is to ensure the continued prosperity of these establishments, which is why we've united some of the industry's foremost players. We believe that through collective action, we can amplify our voice and drive meaningful change."

About Greek Australian Restraunter Chris Lucas

Chris Lucas's journey is one of transformation and resilience, deeply rooted in his family's immigrant heritage. Despite familial aspirations for him to pursue a university education, Chris harboured dreams of taking over a pub or pursuing acting, aspirations incongruent with his family's vision. Following his father's untimely passing in 1975, Chris felt compelled to fulfil his father's wish for a better future, leading him to commence studies in pharmacology and chemistry in 1979.

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Unveiling the Australian Restaurant & Cafe Association 1

However, Chris's path took an unexpected turn when he joined IBM in 1982, embarking on a twelve-year journey within the IT industry. Despite his success and exposure to a world of glamour during the high-flying '80s, Chris felt a persistent pull towards hospitality, a realm where he had always felt a sense of belonging.

In 1996, a fortuitous opportunity presented itself when Chris found himself as the unexpected owner of a restaurant mere weeks before its scheduled opening. This serendipitous event marked the beginning of Chris's foray into the world of restaurants, a world he found irresistibly captivating. His subsequent ventures, including the transformation of The Botanical Hotel and the inception of Baby and Chin Chin, cemented his reputation as a visionary in the culinary landscape.

Chris's philosophy of inclusivity and accessibility, exemplified by the no-booking policy at Chin Chin, reflects his commitment to creating spaces where everyone feels welcome. This ethos, born from a formative experience in 1983 when he was turned away from a fancy restaurant, underscores his dedication to democratizing dining experiences.

Chris Lucas has set his sights on the Capital, with a new venue set to open at the Scott’s Crossing precinct in the Canberra Centre. Named Carlotta, the Mediterranean-inspired venue promises to elevate the city’s nighttime offerings.

With Carlotta, Lucas continues his legacy of creating innovative dining experiences that captivate and inspire. The addition of this Mediterranean-inspired gem to Canberra's culinary landscape is sure to be met with excitement and anticipation as residents and visitors alike eagerly await the opportunity to indulge in Lucas's culinary creations.

Through perseverance and a steadfast commitment to his vision, Chris Lucas, with his Greek heritage as a foundational element, has not only carved a niche for himself in the hospitality industry but has also revolutionized Australia's dining scene, leaving an indelible mark on the culinary landscape.

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