In 2004 twelve Italian-Australian restaurateurs met to form The Council of Italian Restaurants in Australia (CIRA) a not-for-profit organisation to promote the values of Italian food and perpetuate authentic Italian cuisine in Australia. This is inclusive of cultural and educational objectives. CIRA has been formed and is now consulting with others in the industry including restaurants, industry associates and friends to broaden membership, operating a cooking school and encouraging young apprentices to participate in the CIRA-ALMA Young Talent Award.

"Innovation within Tradition"

CIRA has these core aims:

  • Safeguard Italian culinary cultures
  • Increase public knowledge of both traditional and evolving values in Italian food
  • Encourage informed experimentation in the industry
  • Encourage members to strive for excellence in their respective market niches
  • Provide support and advice to members in relevant aspects of restaurant operation
  • Establish CIRA in the major markets in Australia

Our core values are Inclusiveness (a wish to involve anyone passionate about Italian foodways in our activities); and Rispetto, (a word that means more than respect, and conveys our commitment to honour the best of what Italians have developed for over 2000 years).

We will promote partnerships with educational and training institutions, create synergies with cultural organisations, encourage research and publications on regional Italian cuisine, and organise programs of Italian food scholarship.

CIRA's original founding members include the following:

Marilyn Annecchini 
Elio Cordaro 
Lucio Galletto 
Vanessa Martin 
John O'Riordan 
Armando Percuoco 
Giovanni Pilu 
Beppi Polese 
Mark Polese 
Norma Polese 
George Pompei 
Danny Russo 
Peter Zuzza
Alfredo Schiavo 



Tradi'tion ^n. Belief or custom handed down from ancient ancestors to posterity, either orally or by practice

Evolu'tion ^n. Development, origination of species by adaptation to local circumstances

For most Australians, "la cucina italiana" is their introduction to Italian culture. The image of Italy, after Italian art, is most strongly linked to the themes of 'cucina' and gastronomy with their being served pasta as children.

Alongside tradition, there is a developing Italian-Australian style, enriched with local flavours and values. Australia has sometimes been described as Italy's 21st region. There are boundaries however beyond which food is no longer Italian but Italian styled. CIRA and no doubt other people in the industry are interested in exploring such boundaries in order to sharpen Australian senses for authentic Italian food and wine; their regional history and meaning; and exchange know-how with other members of the industry and the public, particularly with new generations of chefs and restaurateurs.


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