The 2019 Good Food Guide Awards were announced on October 8, 2018, at a glittering ceremony at Melbourne’s Crown Palladium.
I’m a long-time reviewer for the Good Food Guide, which recognises restaurants, chefs and front-of-house professionals for excellence. This is the second year the Guide has been national and it was a pleasure to welcome hospitality leaders to Melbourne for the awards.
Ahead of the gala presentation, I reported on key food trends for 2019, as predicted by some of Australia’s leading chefs. Read my article.
One of my projects here at DANIVALENT.COM, and with my cookbooks and journalism, is to give home cooks access to the recipes and kitchen wisdom of great chefs. You can cook some of the Good Food Guide winners right here! See the full list of hats and awards. Buy the guide.
Jock Zonfillo’s Orana in Adelaide was awarded Restaurant of the Year and three hats, the highest honour. Zonfrillo spoke about how hard it has been – “we opened with an impossibly large bank loan and 23 credit cards” – and how much it means to him to be recognised alongside chefs and restaurateurs that he admires so greatly. Orana’s core project is to shine a light on indigenous culture and recover and develop the culinary use of Australian ingredients. Eating here is a powerful experience. Jock’s easy recipe is very different to the food he cooks professionally but it offers an insight into his approach – and it’s delicious!
Ben Shewry’s Attica was one of a handful of Australian restaurants awarded the top rating of ‘three hats’. I have followed Attica’s 10-year history closely and it’s been wonderful to watch the restaurant grow into one of the world’s best. I share two of Ben’s recipes on the site, this fascinating spin on a Chinese takeaway classic, and his grandmother’s chocolate cake. Read my profile on Ben Shewry.
Chef Phil Wood thanked his mentor Neil Perry when accepting his award for New Restaurant of the Year, Laura at beautiful Point Leo Estate. I love Phil’s bay leaf oil, a simple herb oil that is beautiful with grilled fish and keeps for ages. If you get a chance to visit Point Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, you can enjoy Phil’s food in the casual dining room or more formal Laura, and you can also wander around the spectacular sculpture park on the property.
Neil Perry designed the roasted rack of lamb that was main course at the Good Food Guide Awards and his restaurants also featured prominently. His top scorer was the beautiful Rosetta at Crown in Melbourne, a fantasy dining room serving upscale Italian food. This chilli sauce features at Spice Temple, which also received a hat. It’s easy and delicious. I also reported on a panel Neil Perry took part in on the same day as the Awards. Read my report.
Shane Delia’s Maha Restaurant is one of Melbourne’s best. They’ve got one hat in the Good Food Guide but I think another hat wouldn’t go astray! Definitely go to Maha, but in the meantime, get an insight into the way Shane adapts classic Middle Eastern flavours for freewheeling contemporary meals with this fun video.
Shaun Quade’s Lûmé is a two-hat star and a meal here is truly a trip into the weird and wonderful universe of its chef. Go to the restaurant, of course, but watch this video to gain an insight into the way Shaun approaches ingredients, flavours and his trusty Thermomix. Even if you don’t make the ‘taco’, watching him put it together is a tasty peep backstage.
I’m a big fan of the way chef Victor Liong thinks about food. Trained in fine dining with Mark Best, he’s now reaching back into his Chinese heritage to create a new-style Asian cuisine that is energised and poised. Go to his restaurant, Lee Ho Fook and learn more about Victor through his recipes. This corn custard is one of the cleverest and simplest dishes on the site.
Ah, Joseph Vargetto, I just love his soulful Italian food and it’s an honour to share his recipes on the site. This braised beef dish is such a winner, perfectly expressing Joseph’s generous spirit, reverence for Italian culture and flair for sparking diner enjoyment. If you are in Melbourne, visit his one-hat restaurants Massi and Mister Bianco for more insight into the Vargetto approach to hospitality. We even went truffle hunting together!
Miznon is the restaurant that I look forward to visiting perhaps above any other, and that is saying something because I love going to restaurants! It’s not your typical ‘hatted’ restaurant because it’s so casual and freeflowing but if you judge a restaurant on its own terms (and I do) then it is 100 per cent successful. Enjoy Eyal Shani’s hummus in this video which embodies the crazy Miznon spirit!
I was delighted to hang out in the kitchen with Michael Ryan from two-hat Provenance while I was filming in Victoria’s High Country. Michael’s food is influenced by his love of Japanese cuisine, often expressed in his dining room in highly refined dishes. But he’s not all highbrow! These mochi are a great snack and really easy to make.