Victoria steals the show at national food awards

Published on 22 August 2019

Photo: Attica chef and owner Ben Shewry

Australia’s top-ranked restaurant, best producer, best regional restaurant and best-looking dining room can all be found in Victoria, according to two top national food magazines.

Victoria has won big at this year’s Gourmet Traveller national restaurant awards, taking home half of the 12 awards including Restaurant of the Year, which went to Ripponlea fine diner Attica. The annual awards, announced in a ceremony at Sydney restaurant Bennelong overnight, are among Australia’s most prestigious for the hospitality trade.

Dan Hunter’s Otways fine-diner Brae won Regional Restaurant of the Year, while Ronnie Di Stasio’s new Spring Street venue Di Stasio Città picked up both New Restaurant of the Year and the award for Best Design.

Sommelier Leanne Altmann, who works across Andrew McConnell’s restaurants, and front-of-house star Joanna Smith of Igni in Geelong, were also recognised, taking home Sommelier of the Year and Maître d’ of the Year respectively.

Di Stasio Citta

Victoria also cleaned up at the Delicious Produce Awards this week. Bruce Collis took out the big gong, being named Producer of the Year for his Corner Inlet fishery (though Collis maintains “the fish won the award, not me”). His catch is a staple of menus at top Melbourne restaurants such as those operated by Andrew McConnell and Neil Perry.

Leo Gelsomino, of Flinders Lane pasta bar Lello, was named Outstanding Artisan, Monbulk florist and sustainability campaigner and food-waste activist Joost Bakker won the award for the Outstanding Contribution to Australian Food, and Best New Product went to the premium stoneground flour milled at Tuerong Farm on the Mornington Peninsula.

Spurrell Foraging Native & Seasonal Edible Plants won the trophy in the From the Earth category, and gold medals were won by Mushroom Forestry Shiitake Mushrooms and Tuerong Farm.

In other categories, gold medals also went to L’Artisan’s Marcel soft cheese and Prom Country Cheese’s Venus Blue in dairy, Brooklands Free Range Farms’ 100% Grass Fed British White beef and Sher Wagyu’s F1 Black Label ribeye in From the Paddock, and another to Bruce Collis’s fish in From the Sea.

We’d like to offer our congratulations to all the awardees in Victoria and beyond; read the full list of Delicious Produce winners here, and all of Gourmet Traveller’s winners here.

By Emma Breheny and Pat Nourse