The nation’s best place to eat were revealed last night at the Oscars of the Australian food world, the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards. Sydney’s Momofuku Seiobo took out the top spot, named Australia’s Restaurant of the Year in the country’s only national restaurant awards based on independent reviews.
Momofuku Seiobo, led by Barbados-born chef Paul Carmichael, taps the culture of Barbados for inspiration, producing a cuisine that’s fresh, flavoursome and completely unexpected.
“Finding fine-dining Barbadian food this good in the Caribbean itself would be a revelation,” said GT chief restaurant critic and deputy editor Pat Nourse. “Finding it in Australia is astonishing in the best of ways.”
“This is real for me but it’s not about me – this kind of food needs a voice,” says Carmichael. “And we’re just getting started.”
Australia’s leading chefs and restaurateurs gathered in Sydney to attend the awards and the launch of the country’s only national restaurant guide at a gala dinner hosted by Gourmet Traveller’s editor Anthea Loucas Bosha and Nourse.
The event was held at Long Chim, the long-awaited return to Sydney’s dining scene for local boy David Thompson, a chef who, in the 17 years since he left Australia, has become recognised worldwide as the foremost interpreter of the cuisine of Thailand.
Ben Shewry of Attica in Melbourne took out the peer-voted Chef of the Year, shoring up his reputation as a chefs’ chef and his renown as the nice guy of Australian cooking, and an unofficial ambassador for treating staff well.
“I think the diversity of the backgrounds of the winners of these awards says really positive things about the new direction of restaurants and hospitality in Australia,” said Loucas Bosha.
“The real winners here are Australian diners,” added Nourse. “Australia punches well above its weight internationally with the quality of its food and wine. Best of all, we keep it fun, and that’s what Gourmet Traveller is all about – bringing people together to share the good times.”
Details of the winners are in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller, on newsstands with the new edition of the Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide on Thursday 18 August. The full list of winners follows:
RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Momofuku Seiobo, Sydney
CHEF OF THE YEAR
Ben Shewry – Attica, Melbourne
NEW RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
Restaurant Hubert, Sydney
BEST NEW TALENT
Thi Le – Anchovy, Melbourne
REGIONAL RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR
BAR OF THE YEAR
Pink Moon Saloon, Adelaide
MAITRE D’ OF THE YEAR
Andrew Joy – Marion, Melbourne
WINE LIST OF THE YEAR
Restaurant Hubert, Sydney
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO HOSPITALITY
Bruce Pascoe, Indigenous author and educator
SOMMELIER OF THE YEAR
Dan Sharp – Sixpenny, Sydney