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Awarded for services to business, industry or tourism
Born: 14 December 1955 - Rosebery, Tasmania
Died: 10 July 2015 - Launceston, Tasmania
Entered on roll: 2017
Imelda Cameron, known as Mel, was born in Rosebery and became known as a ‘game changer’ in Tasmania’s hospitality industry.
Running an Ulverstone boutique gave Mel an appreciation of customer service, which she applied more broadly to the hospitality industry.
Mel and husband Don were visionary restaurateurs who arrived in St Helens with a trailer containing pots, utensils and enough funds to buy ingredients for the first Saturday lunch service.
Good customer service and a belief that good restaurants with high standards should also be found in regional communities, were the winning ingredients for their restaurant, Tidal Waters. The restaurant soon came to the attention of the Australian Gourmet Traveller and received exceptional reviews both nationally and internationally. Tidal Waters topped Tasmania in the dining category in Mietta’s Eating and Drinking in Australia in 2000. The restaurant became a destination in itself.
Mel was front of house at Tidal Waters and she believed running a good restaurant was simple: serve good food with a smile. Mel had a talent for remembering her guests’ names time after time and making first time diners feel like regular customers. Mel could also describe to guests what Don was creating in the kitchen: Asian-influenced fusion, which was ahead of its time.
From 1999-2010, Mel and Don ran a high profile Launceston restaurant, Stillwater. Mel and Don also operated Blackcow and Mudbar at Seaport.
Training staff to the highest level of customer service is how Mel continues to make her influence. This ensured her staff would always be confident of finding work.
Whenever children with special needs from the Mersey Heights School, Devonport, came to Launceston with the Glee Club, Mel would ensure they had special treats for lunch.
Mel was also an animal lover and supporter of Animals Australia.
Imelda ‘Mel’ Cameron died in Launceston on 10 July 2015 after a 15 month battle with cancer.
Photo courtesy of the Examiner