From The Age on Australia Day :
"MELBOURNE'S Shanaka Fernando was named Australia's Local Hero for his work founding not-for-profit restaurant chain Lentil as Anything.
The group of four restaurants, which employs about 80 young people and provides space for artists and writers, does not set prices for dishes.
Instead, diners are encouraged to pay what they can afford or what they think the meal was worth.
Mr Fernando sunk his personal capital into the first restaurant and turned it into a co-operative and youth training enterprise. Lentil as Anything has shown that it is possible for a business to be run on a socially responsible, idealistic basis and still be financially successful and popular.
The 38-year-old restaurateur, who was born in Sri Lanka and arrived in Australia in 1989, said the award meant a great deal to him.
"Hopefully it means the nature of what is happening through our organisation is important and will spill out to the greater society.
"I hope this award will inspire other migrants and anyone in the community who may have ideas that might not seem normal and which have no prior format to go ahead and try these ideas and follow your heart."
And on the eve of Australia Day, Mr Fernando said he thought to be Australian was to be "welcoming of others … to be encouraging of each other"."
The 'Australian of the Year'award went to Tim Flannery.