IT MIGHT be one of the most coveted awards in the food industry, but Zev's Bistro owner and chef Kyle Zevenbergen was sitting on it for a week without even realising.
After only six months in business, Zev's Bistro is the proud owner of an Australian Good Food Guide Chef's Hat award.
The only problem was he sent the email informing him of the amazing win straight to the trash bin without looking at it, thinking it was just one of the many updates sent out by the organisation on a weekly basis.
Luckily his mum, Kym-Maree Zevenberger, had her finger on the pulse and noticed their restaurant in a list of award winners.
"It's a pretty funny story actually," Mr Zevenberger said.
"Mum had got an email from the AGFG with a list of 2017's top award-winning restaurants.
"She saw us on the list and gave me a call and asked me 'Did you see the list? It says you have a hat'.
"I said, 'I don't think so mum, but I'll have a look as well'.
"Trying to confirm it I found I had deleted it.
"I didn't know when the awards were announced or what the go was."
He said it was a pretty amazing feeling to pick up one of the coveted hats in the first six months of business and didn't expect to earn one until at least next year, though the goal was always in his sights.
His only disappointment was the award came in on January 1, the day before his birthday, but he didn't know he'd received such an incredible early birthday present until a week later.
Mr Zevenbergen said he'd always had a passion for cooking and felt they had created a fresh venue with an exciting, ever-changing menu, a recipe for success in a highly competitive industry in Toowoomba.
He said he felt lucky they opened ahead of some of the other new food offerings across the city, but the competition was noticeable as it unfolded.
The chef's hat made a strong marketing point for the business in a very tight market.
But chef's hats don't come without the promise of more hard work, because in order to maintain the rating, restaurants must be consistently high quality, ever-changing in food and wine offerings and show continuous innovation.
Mr Zevenbergen said they would continue to grow and innovate as they became better established and felt confident they could keep it up.
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