Duré Dara OAM

Duré's focus on gender balance, harmony, ethics, efficiency and partnerships has placed her differently as a woman in a man's world of restaurateurs.

Honour Roll

Duré Dara was born on 18 September 1945 in Ipoh, Malaysia where she attended Methodist Girls' School. As a second generation Malaysian Indian, she came to Australia in 1962 to complete her secondary education at Heidelberg High School, and then Presbyterian Ladies College (PLC) in Burwood. Duré finished her education studying Social Work at the University Melbourne; where she was a resident in St Hilda's College. Her first professional position after graduation was as a social worker with the Youth Welfare Division of the Social Welfare Department.

Her first major restaurant job, then partnership, was with Stephanie Alexander at Stephanie's restaurant, an award winning and leading Melbourne restaurant. Duré is one of few women of non-English speaking background who has made it in business and industry.

Duré's dedication to philanthropy and in particular her leadership of the Victorian Women's Trust (VWT) , has enabled minority women's groups such as the Victorian Immigrant and Refugee Women's Coalition to receive grants to assist their capacity to represent immigrant and refugee women's voice in this state.

Professionally Duré is a waiter, restaurateur, business woman, food consultant and musician. The two restaurants in which she has had partnerships are the Nudel Bar and Donovan's. She founded and brought together these partnerships and is grateful that both these businesses are vibrant and successful. They demonstrate her commitment to harmonious, efficient and ethical business, and work, customer and product orientated organisations.

Duré regards her Convenorship of the Victorian Women's Trust and her Presidency of the Restaurant and Catering Association of Victoria (RCAV) as serious business, people and policy management tasks. The VWT has an investment portfolio of over $1 million, a membership and fundraising strategy, and many business and career enhancing initiatives for women in business. In addition the VWT has an office infrastructure of paid personnel - an executive officer, public relations officer and four other administrative staff as well as numerous groups of voluntary and government and academically assigned project officers. The organisation is robust, healthy and effective.

The RCAV which Duré inherited as President some three years ago is no longer in deep debt, and made a first time profit in 1997. The gender balance on the board is now equal and is a result of a renewed investment by women and younger restaurateurs and caterers in the industry. The association's determination to work for accountability, credibility and careful management is increasing its membership, and affording it the relationship it now has with Government, state education bodies, the business community and the corporate sector. Duré's broad involvement reflects her commitment to all areas of community life.

Her consulting business is an avenue of work which she carefully selects and manages, in order to sustain a balance in work, play and leisure. Duré was awarded the Order of Australia in 1997 for services to the community, and to promotion and fundraising activities for women's groups. She was also made a Legend of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in 2001 and received the 2001 Vida Goldstein award from the Women's Electoral Lobby.