Melbourne Food & Wine Festival – The World’s Best 50 Restaurant Awards

WARNING…this blog, is me raving on!!!

 

I have a nice little story to share with you, well not all that short…let me paint a picture, the city is coming to the end of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, which I didn’t have a chance to go along to any of the special events happening all over town, with pop up restaurants happening all over town (people have told me some were really good and some really bad) as part of the festival this year was the World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards (it’s in a different city of the world each year),

 

Worlds 50 Best Restaurants 2017I had seen the flags stating that around Melbourne, but wasn’t quite sure what it was all about, then I saw a story in one of the daily papers, that a couple of Victorian restaurants were in the running, I still wasn’t sure, then…

 

A dear friend who wife is a partner in an international company Jo and Scott), they were part of a private dinner {pop-up restaurant} held in the boardroom of her company for partners and very special clients, with the chef – Dan Hunter from Brae, which is in the small town of Birregurra (just out of Castlemaine), they said the food was spectacular and when the chef came out to chat to the pop-up- restaurant patrons, he told them about his establishment in country Victoria, why in the country, why not!

 

He had worked at some of the leading restaurants around the world, then he and his wife thought let’s bring our kids up in the country and they can produce a lot of their own ingredients on the premises and the rest they can buy local…within a short time they had to build accommodation as the town and nearby towns couldn’t accommodate the patrons coming from Melbourne and OS, there has been people who fly in to Australia just to eat at Brae. Chef Hunter then went on to say, it was looking good that Brae was going to be voted in the top 50 restaurants in the world.

 

The concept still really hadn’t sunk in…then another friend (Gail) said a friend of hers was coming over from Perth to catch up with a cousin who lives in Cape Town, South Africa who was someone important as part of the 50 Top restaurants awards and would I like to conduct one of my art walking tours of Melbourne for them…

 

The Art of Melbourne Walking Tour:

 

Famous Chefs Graffiti ArtMeeting at the NGV we headed off on the tour, after pointing out some of the building that are part of the arts precinct, crossing St Kilda Road we had a great view of the Shrine of Remembrance, then we headed into Queen Victoria Gardens passing the floral clock, we viewed John Olsen’s sculpture of a frog leaping out of the children’s pound part of Wonderment Walk Victoria (I will be blogging about them in the coming weeks)…so much to look at, over the Yarra River, where I pointed out the rowing boat sheds, then looking up the river to see the amazing very colourful “Angle” mosaic sculpture, sitting on the edge of the river.

 

We are now in Federation Square (the heartbeat of the city), a large crowd are sitting on deck chairs watching a movie on the huge screen, Weather wise, It was a beautiful Melbourne day, which it has been ever since (great for all the internationals in town), so we thought it was time for a cocktail – of course! Heading to the rooftop bar at Taxi Kitchen, with wonderful views with the river in the foreground, the arts precinct to our right, Botanical gardens Government House tower in the middle and the spots precinct to our left, including the MCG, Tennis Centre and soccer/rugby stadium, how perfect was the view for my international guest.

 

Meet Tamsin Snyman:

 

Tamsin Snynan and David HuntAfter ordering Espresso Martini’s I got chatting with Tamsin Snyman…I asked her – “what are the awards all about and what’s your involvement” she was so lovely and humble, not really bragging I had to use my best investigational skills to get Tamsin to explain while we had our cocktail and the rest of the walk then over the next few days…she is a member of the judging panel. It all started when Tamsin travelled to the awards with her mother, who was a major identity as a restaurant owner in South Africa and was one of the original judges back when the awards began in 2002 in London.

Tamsin became a power player in her own right… Get this – author (many cook books) publisher and Academy Chair for the region Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards. So when her mother passed away Tamsin was the natural choice to take her place… she travels the world, judging restaurants and of course traveling to the awards. She told me that companies come to her now to write cook books around their products…I have met a very special person, I really hope we stay in touch and one day meet up again!

 

The 50 Top Restaurant Awards:

 

fifty Top Restaurants 2017Tourism Australia and Visit Victoria, are the bodies instrumental in bringing these prestigious awards to Melbourne, billed as the Oscars of Food. The awards are determined by the academes 1040 chefs, restaurateurs, food media and global gourmets. Each member can cast 10 votes and must include four restaurants outside their home region, they can vote only for restaurants they have visited in the past 18 months.

There has been more than 200 of the most influential foodies from around the world in town including 100 chefs and restaurant representatives, more than 60 international media and the awards 26 regional academy chairs, which Tamsin is one of. What a great chance to showcase our city and the weather was perfect!

 

I can’t believe that Tamsin spent so much time with us, but I guess it’s nice to “hang” with the locals and we took her to places she wouldn’t go to…but boy, she was really looked after by the awards committee, BBQ dinner on St Kilda beach (which she loved) lunch at Vue de Monde (the view would be wonderful for the OS guests) cocktail parties and of course the awards night dinner/awards at the Royal Exhibition Building for a 1,000 people. This year’s winner was Eleven Madison Park, New York (yep they were in town for the announcement) and Victoria had two restaurants in the top 50, Attica,

Ripponlea at number 32 ( I was lucky enough to dine there a few years ago, AMAZING, it’s theatre, stunning food, not a big restaurant and it’s not cheap) you need to book a few months in advance…good luck! And Brau at 44, which I spoke about earlier.

 

Melbourne really turned it on for these awards, as I said there were the flags flying all around town, plus there was a street art portrait in one of the laneways of 5 international chefs who were honoured at the awards.

Melbourne you have done it again and I was so pleased to be able to be part of this major event in a very small. And I have a new international friend.

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