Announcing Your Favourite Traders!

Queen Victoria Market has announced the winners of the 2018 Queen Victoria Market Trader Awards! Over six weeks from 1 September – 14 October, market shoppers cast 7,773 votes, choosing from a total of 124 nominees across 10 award categories. From the lively fishmongers in the Meat & Fish Hall, to the passionate cheese gurus in the Dairy Produce Hall, online public voting allowed customers to support and acknowledge their favourite traders. Thank you to everyone who voted and we’re pleased to announce that the 2018 winners are:

Bongiorno Brothers – Winner – Favourite Fruit & Vegetables
Stalls 96-99, B Shed, Queen Victoria Market

Bongiorno brothers Joe and Anthony have worked in the fruit and vegetable business since they were children. Ten years ago, they started working at Queen Vic Market as workers for another fruit & vegetable trader, but in December 2015 they realised their dream of owning their own stall at the Market. They pride themselves on sharing quality fresh fruit and vegetables at great prices with unbeatable customer service. They also love seasonal and unique ingredients and giving advice on their favourite recipes.

The Chicken Pantry – Winner – Favourite Poultry &  Game
Shop 85, Dairy Produce Hall, Queen Victoria Market

Janine and Gary Hunt specialise in poultry and game sourced from small Australian farmers intent on raising the absolute best quality produce. Their cabinets are stocked with a fascinating range of poultry and game products including chicken, kangaroo, turkey, goose, duck, venison, quail, wallaby and crocodile. Their ongoing success can be attributed to their wonderful customer service and the fact that they have had a relationship with the same suppliers for the 17 years they have been in the business. They know the farms where the animals are reared and their environment, and they count some of Australia’s finest chefs as regular customers.

Gazza’s Gourmet Seafood – Winner – Favourite Seafood
Shop 31, Meat & Fish Hall, Queen Victoria Market

Gary Rapley has been at the Market since 1990. Growing up in New Zealand, fishing and seafood have been a huge part of his life for as long as he can remember. Gazza’s Gourmet Seafood has a broad selection of fresh Australian and New Zealand whole fish varieties, boasts the Market’s largest range of Australian prawns, sources the country’s best Rock Lobster directly from the fishermen, and has a wide range of shellfish including oysters, local mussels, periwinkles and abalone. Gary is highly regarded for his filleting skills and specialises in the cuts of fish that you would expect at Melbourne’s best restaurants such as skinless and boneless Blue Eye Trevella, Hapuka and Tasmanian Striped Trumpeter.

The Borek Shop – Winner – Favourite Eatery
Shop 95, Dairy Produce Hall, Queen Victoria Market

Still going strong after more than 20 years, the famous borek stall in Queen Vic Market creates a variety of crowd-pleasing boreks, gozleme and fresh wraps that fly over the counter almost as quickly as they can make them. Run by Nancy Turan and her family, they pride themselves on offering simple, authentic Turkish sweet and savoury pastries that have become a Market favourite.

Thompson Meats – Winner – Favourite Meat
Shop 12-13, Meat & Fish Hall, Queen Victoria Market

Butcher Max Thompson began working at the Market more than 50 years ago. The stall that he runs in partnership with his wife Lorna is famous for the best range of sausages (and even the biggest display of offal in the Market). Max generously gives up his time to countless groups of primary and secondary school students who visit his stall every week to learn about where meat comes.

Bill’s Farm – Winner – Favourite Delicatessen
Shop 17-20, Dairy Produce Hall, Queen Victoria Market

Featuring one of the best ranges of Australian and European cheeses in Melbourne, Bill’s Farm prides itself on selling high quality cheese, from boutique French wash rinds to their house tasty.
Original owner Bill Tzimas, one of Melbourne’s best cheesemongers and member of La Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, still works alongside new owners Malcolm McCullough and Mark Scott to select the best local and international cheese.

Joe Leuzzi Flowers – Winner – Favourite Nursery & Flowers
Kiosk, Therry Street, Queen Victoria Market

Joe Leuzzi Flowers opened at the Market in 1986 and moved to their current Therry Street location in 1999. Dolly began working as a florist after marrying Joe and has been trading at the Market for more than 20 years. Joe and Dolly are proud to support the local flower industry and strive to source most of their cut flowers and plants from Victorian nurseries and growers. In addition to being experts in native and traditional cut flowers, they can offer top advice on looking after the most demanding of indoor plants.

Geloso Gelateria – Winner – Favourite Specialty Food & Drink
Shop 5, F Shed, Queen Victoria Market

Sam Navagero is a fourth-generation gelato maker who, together with his wife Ranj, opened Geloso Gelateria in 2017. Proudly using seasonal produce from the Market – and thereby supporting fellow traders – Sam and Ranj make all the gelati in their kitchen behind the shop in F Shed. Following Market tradition, their three sons also work in the shop on weekends and during school holidays. Sam says that with gelato it’s important to stick to the basics and keep things simple. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are the most popular flavours and lemon is also a standout favourite. Their menu also includes affogatos, gelato shakes, vegan friendly sorbets, coffee, and waffles made to order using Sam’s mum’s recipe.

American Doughnut Kitchen – Runner Up – Favourite Specialty Food & Drink
Queen Street, Queen Victoria Market

The American Doughnut Kitchen has operated at the Market since 1950 serving hot jam doughnuts to thousands of customers every week from their vintage van. The family-run business uses a treasured unchanged recipe: the dough is made fresh the day before trade and transferred to the Market ready to be rolled, cut and cooked fresh to order. In 1950, two friends, Arnold Bridges a confectioner, and Dave Christie, a fitter & turner, purchased a doughnut business from a German confectioner, Mr Kiffer. The pair, along with Dave’s mother Lucy and Arnold’s wife Vera, began selling the hot jam doughnuts in the Queen Victoria Market.  The business continues to be run by Arnold’s daughter Julie Boening, Dave’s son Craig Christie and her daughter Belinda Donaghey. In 2013, Julie’s husband Karl became a director. Other members of the family step in when needed, as they have done throughout their lives.

Books for Cooks – Winner – Favourite General Merchandise
115-121 Victoria Street, Queen Victoria Market

Books for Cooks is Australia’s independent, specialist culinary bookstore run by cooks and lovers of good food, Tim and Amanda White. They sell new, old, vintage and antiquarian books on wine, food and the culinary arts with more than 40,000 cookery books and food and wine titles in stock. After 16 years in Gertrude St, Books for Cooks had outgrown its Fitzroy home and moved to Queen Victoria Market. Amanda has worked as a professional cook, caterer, cake maker and kitchen manager. Her passion is baking but she will give anything a go! Tim, a former lawyer, is passionate about wine, food and books (not necessarily in that order) and has worked in restaurants, pubs and the food industry.

The Soapbox – Runner Up – Favourite General Merchandise
143 Victoria Street, Queen Victoria Market

The Soapbox has been at the Market for 35 years. Owner, Boyce Hocart, specialises in Australian-made, plant oil-based soap, Australian essential oils, herbal toothpastes and bulk bath salts. The Soapbox is a regular stop for many Market customers who, not only love a chat with the delightful Boyce, but who bring their own containers to refill with shampoos, conditioners and household cleaning – all with the aim of reducing the use plastic packaging.

The Hat Project – Winner – Favourite Fashion & Accessories
99 Victoria Street, Queen Victoria Market

Owned by market legend, Jenny Pyke, The Hat Project aims to match the perfect person with the perfect hat. With more than 30 years in Melbourne’s hat game, she’s the go-to woman at the Market when it comes to choosing an item to round out a look. Jenny stocks a diverse range of hats including fedoras, panamas, flat caps, trilbies and more, as well as scarves and gloves for men, women and kids. Jenny is a strong supporter of a women’s disability group in Kathmandu and, over the years, she has helped provide sewing machines and other materials to help these women create a business in order to support themselves and their families.

Awards were presented to the winners at the Trader Ball on Monday 5 November by City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who said that these awards celebrate the passion and dedication of traders from Melbourne’s largest and most iconic fresh food market.

Separate to the publicly voted awards, Queen Vic Market Management presented an additional eight awards:

  • Garden Organics – Sustainability Award
  • Geloso Gelateria – Best New Business Award
  • See the Sound by Zo Damage – Services to the Community Award
  • Food For Your Skin – Home Grown Award
  • JT’s Fruit & Vegetable Supplies – Lifetime Achievement Award – Fruit & Vegetables
  • Sardes Quality Meats – Lifetime Achievement Award – Meat & Fish Hall
  • Hellenic Deli- Lifetime Achievement Award – Dairy Produce Hall
  • Danny’s Knitwear – Lifetime Achievement Award – General Merchandise

Congratulations to all our wonderful traders and here’s some of the fun from the night!

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