Australia’s restaurant of the year for 2016 is led by Barbados-born chef Paul Carmichael who won lavish praise from the judges in the country’s only awards based on independent reviews.
“Finding fine-dining Barbadian food this good in the Caribbean itself would be a revelation,” says Gourmet Traveller‘s chief restaurant critic and deputy editor Pat Nourse. “Finding it in Australia is astonishing in the best of ways.”
With the culture of Barbados for inspiration, Momofuku Seiobo produces a cuisine that’s fresh, flavoursome and completely unexpected.
“This is real for me but it’s not about me – this kind of food needs a voice,” says Paul, below, after learning the restaurant had won the top prize for the second time since 2014. “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 Pat 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.
Australia’s Regional Restaurant of the Year is Aaron Turner’s new Geelong restaurant, Igni, and the nation’s Bar of the Year is Adelaide’s charming and new Pink Moon Saloon.
Back in Melbourne, Andrew Joy from Marion in Fitzroy scored Maître d’ of the Year with his witty and informed hospitality, while chef Thi Le of Melbourne Vietnamese restaurant Anchovy is the country’s Best New Talent.
In Sydney, Restaurant Hubert scored a double-header, picking up New Restaurant of the Year and Wine List of the Year, while Dan Sharp of Sixpenny was named Sommelier of the Year.
Indigenous author and educator Bruce Pascoe was recognised for his Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality, the guide’s editors citing his eloquent, persuasive revelations which have inspired his audience to accept, appreciate and adopt indigenous ingredients and food culture.
More details of the winners are in the September issue of Gourmet Traveller, on newsstands now with the new edition of the Gourmet Traveller Australian Restaurant Guide
GOURMET TRAVELLER RESTAURANT AWARDS WINNERS 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