An elite band of international chefs is heading to Australia for the announcement of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, which is often known as the “Olympics” for these elite food wizards.
The 2017 event will be in Melbourne – recognized as the food capital of Australia – next month (April 5th) where the world’s top restaurateurs will celebrate the very best in global gastronomy.
Staged in the city’s domed Royal Exhibition Building, the event is seen as a golden opportunity to showcase Australia’s food and wine culture to an international audience.
Australian chef Ben Shewry is one of the elite chefs whose restaurant Attica ranked 33 in the 2016 listing, while Australian chef Dan Hunter’s Brae was outside the ranking at 65th, and is one to watch this year.
Chef Ben flew halfway around the world to attend the official announcement in New York in 2016, but will be on home ground this year, with his freshly refurbished Attica – in Ripponlea, several kilometres south of Melbourne’s CBD – always booked out months ahead.
Chef Ben feels no pressure being in the world’s top 50 listing, which was first created by the British magazine Restaurant in 2002.
“The only pressure comes from me; I am my biggest critic,” says Ben. “It is an honour, and I am grateful to be named on the list, but there is no pressure. It is just a list, a kind of a fashionable list, but I am not looking for adulation or fame. What I love is the creation of the food, the great sensation of creating something new.”
He is happy that chefs’ standing in the community has changed. “Historically chefs used to be oppressed and were not respected. They stayed in the kitchen in a hot claustrophobic place and were frequently yelled at… I never wanted to be part of that scene. Chefs deserve respect. They know everything about the food they create, right down to where it comes from, and the ethics of where it is grown.”
The World’s 50 Best Restaurants coincides with the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, now in its 25th year, which is invariably a sell-out event over 10 days.
The opening celebration is in Melbourne’s Little Italy where the World’s Longest Lunch will have the godfather of Italian cooking, Antonio Carluccio, at its helm.
A festival highlight are the master classes, hosted by Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea (15th in World 2016); Mexico City’s Jorge Vallejo of Quintonil (12th); Australian-born David Thompson of Nahm, Bangkok (37th); and Peru’s Gaston Acurio of Aston y Gaston in Lima (30th).
Also Britain’s Ashley Palmer-Watts, of Dinner by Heston (45th); Italy’s Carlo Cracco of Ristorante Cracco; New York’s Wylie Dufresne; and Tokyo’s Zaiyu Hasegawa of Den (outside World’s Best at 77 in 2016, but one to watch in 2017).
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