GoodLife: Peninsula Style, Issue 42, Page 086 (transcription)

Crystal Clear The Story of Stillwater at Crittenden Stillwater has evolved to become one of the best dining destinations in the region, spearheaded by husband and wife team Zac and Jacqui Poulier.
Their philosophy today is the same as it was when they first opened their doors 7 years ago- to provide a quality and memorable food and wine experience for all.
OUR PHILOSOPHY Fresh, seasonal produce is treated with simple reverence to create dishes that allow their individual components to stand out for themselves, but also combine beautifully with others to bring the flavours of the season to you with every mouthful.
Where possible we source our ingredients from local, sustainable, organic producers or grow it in our kitchen garden.
SUMMER TRADINGWere are always open 7 days per week for lunch and dinner each year round but over summer, from the 27th December right thru to the 14th January we are open every day for lunch and dinner.
Bookings essential BUSINESS AWARDS Zac and Jacqui were thrilled to receive the award for hospitality in the recent Frankston and Mornington peninsula business awards held at the Mornington racecourse.
The judge s comments say it all ' Extremely impressed with this business' ' Showed the highest class of strategic planning' 'A true hospitality experience adding a touch of class to the region' LAKESIDE VILLAS Perched right over the lake a stones thro from Stillwater are our 3 boutique luxury lakeside villas.
Featuring facilities such as full kitchen, laundry and a family sized bathroom complete with double spa and shower, the villas really are a home away from home.
Only 4 years old, the villas have a modern feel and all the little extras such as a complimentary bottle of Crittenden Sparkling wine and a gourmet breakfast hamper included in the tariff.
Wake up overlooking the lake, take in breakfast on your own private deck and sink into the double spa after a day of wine tasting.
Priced from just 280 per night the lakeside villas are an affordable luxury and second to none in the region.
You can even book and pay online at www.stillwateratcrittenden.com.au ZAC JAC S KITCHEN PRODUCE Our kitchen team has been busily sourcing locally grown pears, beetroots, lemons, strawberries and rhubarb and turning them into preserves, jams and relishes in the lead up to Christmas and the new year for the Zac and Jac s kitchen produce range.
Ideal for Christmas gifts, hampers, or as a must have for your own pantry.
For more information, be sure to log onto www.stillwateratcrittenden.com.au.Download our current menu, browse our extensive wine list, check out our beautiful events packages, book a villa, see our full range of wines for tasting at the cellar door more Sitting in Stillwater s recently renovated, light filled dining room, gazing across the shimmering lake while enjoying a menu sourced almost exclusively from local suppliers you could be almost anywhere in the world and yet, at the same time, know you are somewhere that is uniquely Peninsula in style.
Well known for its excellent fine dining and wining options, Stillwater at Crittenden, owned by husband and wife team Jacqui and Zac Poulier, is a prime example of the best the Peninsula has to offer.
What you may not realise, however, is the years of work and vision required to create this marvellous space, all starting with a chance meeting in London.
Husband and wife team Jacqui and Zac Poulier had known each other for a few years before that fateful rendezvous in the UK capital both started out in the hospitality industry in Melbourne, Zac as a chef under Trevor Bilney at Rockman s Regency and Jacqui working front of house for several fine establishments.
A friendship developed, but it wasn t until four years later, upon meeting in London, that sparks flew for the couple.
Zac had already worked for Russell Crowe during the filming of Gladiator and was now based in the UK, while Jacqui had spent time on the Greek Island of Santorini before heading to London.
Together, they then went on to work with Crowe again on the set of Master and Commander and also managed a stint in the Caribbean, working in the Cayman Islands, before returning to Australia with a dream of starting their own restaurant together.
At first, says Jacqui, the couple settled in Melbourne, thinking to start their business in the city where they first met.
But opportunity presented itself in the form of a caf in Noosa Jacqui and Zac headed up north and were in the process of negotiating to take over when they read about the Crittenden Caf vacancy in The Age.
As Zac is from Frankston originally and they both loved the area, they jumped at the opportunity to move back to the Peninsula and, luckily for the rest of us here, they beat out the other contenders to win the lease for the cafe and, as Jacqui puts it Stillwater was born .
We always had a clear idea of what we were going to do and where we were going to take it say Jacqui, recalling their decision to take over the caf lease.
This focus has led them to not only take on the restaurant, but also run the cellar door, manage the lakeside villa accommodation and create a line of preserves and condiments made from locally sourced organic ingredients, which are now stocked in stores across Victoria and NSW.
Not content to rest on their laurels, Jacqui and Zac also recently undertook a renovation to the restaurant space, in order to, as Jacqui puts it bring it into the 21st century .
The results are spectacular light, bright airy, the new dining area perfectly captures the look of an elegant beach house, while subtle improvements throughout have enhanced the experience for everyone.
Customer response to the changes has been very positive and, as Jacqui says people really appreciate a business which puts money back into itself .
While the changes were immediately apparent to the staff improved amenities and a renovated bar area makes service quicker and easier , according to Jacqui the change that returning customers first noticed was to the light fixtures - to her this meant the renovation was a success, as I don t want the customer to feel they are somewhere different they still need to feel like they re at Stillwater .
As part of the renewal process, Jacqui and Zac also updated their webpage, creating a comprehensive site where you can view the menu wine list, browse photographs, download the wedding package and reserve accommodation at the villas it even takes restaurant bookings, making the reality of a visit to Stillwater only a mouse click away.
So you would think a renovation and running a successful business would be enough to keep the Poulier s busy for a while, but that doesn t seem to be the case, with plans to expand the Zac Jac s Kitchen Produce range next year by moving them offsite into their own kitchen office distribution space.
Having help in the form of Jacqui s parents does make a difference though living on site, they assist with caretaking and also look after the couple s two small children on occasion, making Stillwater a real family affair.
It s important to Jacqui to stay busy citing her need to stay ahead of the game , she also describes the restaurant as our first baby we nurture it, try to grow it and share it with others.
We ve grown with the business and the business has grown with us .
A trip to Italy next year with the family and to celebrate Zac s 40th will include a visit to some of the regional areas to get new ideas and see what they can do differently, but, says Jacqui, they ve no plans to leave the Peninsula and resume their globetrotting lifestyle.
Their focus now is enjoying their family and the Peninsula while doing what they do best.
We want people to feel as though they are guests in our home and give them a wonderful food and wine experience.
If that doesn t happen then we re not doing our job.
As many satisfied customers will attest, Jacqui and Zac Poulier are doing their job very well indeed.
- Helen Jones 86 GoodLife, dec - jan - feb 2012

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