Stefano’s Restaurant is set to be renamed Jim McDougall in Stefano’s Cellar.
Mildura’s top fine-‐dining restaurant has undergone a significant transformation since Jim McDougall returned to Mildura and took over as owner and head chef three years ago.
The new name reflects the change of direction from Stefano de Pieri’s traditional Italian food, to McDougall’s contemporary menu.
Mr de Pieri and his wife Donata Carrazza remain joint owners of the venue, but have shifted their focus to running the Mildura Brewery, which they acquired more than a year ago.
“This is the end of an era and the beginning of a new one,” the couple said.
“After 20 years of service, numerous awards and national recognition, we have moved on. “But this is not the end of our journey. We will be in the brewery and pub every day, facing the challenges of growing the craft beer market and working on our wines.
“We are as committed to Mildura as ever.”
Mr de Pieri said under McDougall’s direction, Mildura had a finer restaurant that can better meet the requirements of today’s clientele.
“Looking at the restaurant panorama in country Victoria, there is now a degree of sophistication that did not exist to the same extent when we started our business some 20 years ago,” he said.
“We are proud of our achievements and even more proud that we have been able to ensure the continuity of a Mildura icon through Jim, a local person with an unswerving commitment to regionalism.
“While Jim employs new techniques and pushes the envelope of innovation, he is among a few to properly and fully commit to local ingredients in a thorough and convincing manner, creating a true gastronomy of place.
The restaurant will be known as Jim McDougall in Stefano’s Cellar as of July 1.
Some minor renovations will take place in the next month to modernise the space, while keeping the soul of the restaurant intact. They will include a new-‐look entrance on Langtree Avenue, new lighting, a paint job and other small changes to the interior.
Mr McDougall said it had been a steady evolution from Stefano’s style into his, but it was now time to take the final step and change the name.
“Although Stefano has moved on, he will always be part of the identity of the restaurant,” he said.
“Our food and cooking styles are very different, but our ideals about local produce and the region are the same.
“By sourcing ingredients from areas nurtured by the Murray and Darling rivers, we can give each guest an experience that can’t be reproduced anywhere else in the world.”