Last night, the IT guy dined at T-QUAL accredited Henry’s Restaurant at the Henry Jones Art Hotel on the Hobart waterfront. And if that doesn’t make you jealous enough, his dinner companion was local Tassie boy Ben Milbourne, 2012 MasterChef contestant and all-round nice bloke.

T-QUAL - Henry's Restaurant

Pork belly entree: Henry’s Restaurant

T-QUAL Tick Race

So, why was he out on the town with his new mate Ben Milbourne? Good question that. Ben is the inaugural Accreditation Ambassador for Tasmanian tourism; and the T-QUAL team from Tourism Australia invited Gavin (on behalf of Think Tasmania) to come along and dine with Ben at Henry’s Restaurant. Also at the dinner were four high-profile social media champions on a T-QUAL Tick race around the country.

Bloggers Natalie, Caroline and Sarah together with photographer Lauren have been in Hobart since Wednesday for the final leg of their race. You may remember Matt Moran came to Tasmania in April last year to promote the T-QUAL Tick Tour. This time, instead of travelling the country himself, the world-renowned chef launched a race for the specially selected bloggers at ARIA on March 25.

Matt Moran - Hobart Tasmania

Matt Moran: Hobart Tasmania

Along the way, contestants have been supplied with fun and visual challenges and tasked with solving clues to secure points during a race around the entire country. For ten days, the ladies have been travelling Australia, experiencing T-QUAL endorsed accommodation, restaurants and attractions.

T-QUAL Tick Race: Run Ladies, Run!

Bet you wish you were in their shoes! Before deciding, you should know they’ve had a manic schedule to follow. In Tasmania alone they’ve cruised with Pennicott Wilderness Journeys, toured the historic convict settlement at Port Arthur and taken a scenic flight with Tasmanian Air Adventures to Wineglass Bay. All that and much more in just two days… hectic! Please don’t try this at home.

T-QUAL - Victoria Dock Hobart

Victoria Dock Hobart (photo by Anelda Lotter)

But really, there’s no surprise they’ve had to cover a lot of territory. The T-QUAL Tick is the national symbol of quality assessed by Tourism Australia. Only the top shelf get the stamp of approval; and we all know Tasmania has many, many fabulous tourism operators to choose from.

The winner of the T-QUAL Tick race was announced today at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery in Hobart. For details of the challenges faced, and the blogger’s thoughts about their Tasmanian tourism industry visits, follow their Facebook pages…

Ben Milbourne: Exciting Times in Tasmania

During dinner, a chat with Ben Milbourne revealed more about his culinary ventures in Tasmania since the conclusion of his MasterChef journey. Just like the team from Think Tasmania, he’s very passionate about promoting the state. Ben has a particular fondness for the north west coast region.

Ben has launched a private dining room at a winery; takes foodie tours in the north west and conducts cooking classes as well. With a little luck (and a lot of planning and research) we’ll bring you more about all these exciting projects soon.

Think Tasmania dined at Henry’s Restaurant (part of The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart) as a guest of Tourism Australia and the organisers of the T-QUAL Tick Race.