Love of our Domain Drives Us

by Darren Haunold.

At last night’s 2018 The West Australian Good Food Guide Awards, I was thrilled to lead our team to win Restaurant of the Year. To be honoured with this award is testament that our team, vision and hospitality are appreciated. It is a deeply proud moment for us. As anyone who has been in a hospitality business would understand, there are many facets that drive the success of this kind of business. Getting the elements of the service environment right is a nuanced discipline.

Therefore there would be no award without certain team members and I dedicate this award to them: Our Executive Chef, Seth James. An outstanding chef: Creative and incredibly dedicated. His food is cerebral and truly unique. To Seth’s hard working chef team of Ned Thompson, Nicholas Delrome, Leo Hu and Albee Lee. You guys are talented beyond words. We feel we got it right when we made better connection between our kitchen and Front of House Managers who work so well together. To Ruth Boardmann and Tom Wittkopp. Thank you.

There is something special about Wills Domain. We see it in the Instagram pictures people take – the environment really draws people in, they connect with it. It is what inspires me too. It is what brought my family to this location almost 20 years ago, where I loved to share time with my dad making wine. It still brings me joy everyday. I believe what helps set Wills Domain apart is understanding our local environment and local produce – it is key to creating dishes and a menu that stands out. One of the first things Seth did when arriving in WA was go out and explore the local coast. He spent a few hours walking from Smiths Beach to Injidup trying to work out what the local region had to offer. Now he regularly heads out into the wilderness of the South West on foraging missions — both in the forests and ocean — to search for unique ingredients that will move his dishes from the distinguished to the sublime. Ingredients that regularly pepper the Wills Domain menu to create a uniquely local flavour. The combined elements of our beloved domain are what we celebrate today: our environment, therefore local suppliers. We source fresh, local and sustainable produce, always falling back on the elements of environment, ocean, freshness, uniquely local, ecology, sustainability and artistry.

Thank you to my family who have always in some way, been part of this journey. We didn’t know we had a long family history in making wine, it was just something we loved to do. We also love hosting family and friends in our beautiful domain, which is named after my father, William. To win Restaurant of the Year, in such excellent company, is hugely rewarding and will drive us to continually up the ante in brining an exceptional dining experience to our customers.

Thank you for sharing in our vision.